Buffalo Sabres 13-14-4

Let's Try This Again. Previewing Sabres vs. Panthers


Florida Panthers 13-16-0

Today’s music video is Meet Me On The Equinox by Death Cab For Cutie.

Coming off one of the most disturbing losses of the season, but one that ranks up with many others, the Florida Panthers will try and regroup and forget the devastating defeat from Wednesday night at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes.  Losing a three goal lead and giving up four unanswered goals is not easy to forget, but when it has happened as often as it has here in South Florida, the pressure to avoid another collapse is heavy load to lift.

It doesn’t seem apparent that any immediate changes will be made, with either the roster, or the coaching staff.  Scott Clemmensen get more starts at some point but not tonight as Tomas Vokoun will be in net.  Dmitry Kulikov who was a healthy scratch Wednesday is due back in the lineup.  There is one one healthy extra body,  and with a bunch of minor bumps and bruises, the Cats will have to tough it out.  Little Stevie among the bruised, did not practice yesterday due to “upper body” stiffness.  Couldn’t be the result of a check he threw, although in the first period Wednesday night, Stevie did kiss the boards rather awkwardly.  He probably has a runny nose which he picked up from Monday’s charity golf outing,  and is tired of wiping it.

Speaking of practice while many may have felt that a loss like this one would have deserved the punishment of the good old “bag” skate, DeBoer decided to “take it easy” on the troops.  Instead of skating without pucks the Panthers watched a movie film which hopefully wasn’t Terms of Endearment, and then had an on ice workout.  Paying attention to detail was hopefully something that they worked on.  Smart decisions, good decisions.  Knowing what’s happening around you.  Those for starters would be a good place to begin.

The Buffalo Sabres who had a difficult start to the season, seem to be not only getting healthy, but winning their share of games.  The Sabres are 4-1-1 in their last six games and are gaining ground in their division.  Goaltender Ryan Miller has started eight straight after missing a couple with a groin injury, is sporting a 5-2-1 record with a 1.98 GAA since returning. Miller is 8-2-0 in his last 10 starts against Florida, and the Sabres have won the past six of seven contests between the two.

Tomas Vanek, he of the brilliant wrist shot is the Sabres leading goal scorer with 13.   And Derek Roy who plays much bigger than his 5′-9″ size, leads the team in points with 32.  Almost double of the Panther point leader Michael Frolik who has 17.  Old friend defenceman Steve Montador who for some reason wasn’t good enough for us, is playing quite nicely for Buffalo and is their plus minus leader with a + 12.  Steve also has 11 points and is averaging just slightly over 20 minutes of ice time.  Also doing a nice job is ex-Panther defenceman Jordan Leopold who has 17 points with 7 goals to show.  We certainly could use one of not both of those guys’ production here.

The Sabres are always a scrappy team and they’ve been able to spread their scoring around, as they don’t have the superstar.  They just have players that are responsible, buy into the coaching staff’s system, and get treated like men.  Coach Lindy Ruff has no problem laying down the law at various times, and he’s usually getting the right response.

The Panthers need to come out flying and banging tonight.  Take control of this game, and not let up for the entire 60 minutes.  It’s a Friday night, you’re nest game isn’t until Monday.  No excuses tonight.  Plus, I’m bringing some special guests to the game, so a solid performance would be appreciated.

Please visit my good friend and Rink Side Rants partner Tim Redinger over at Sabre Noise.

Here’s the TSN gameday preview.

Speaking of Rink Side Rants, last nights show was excellent, as we were graced with the awesomeness and royalty of Angie Lewis who covers the Washington Capitals for The Hockey Writers and has her own site. Angie is going to The Winter Classic!  If you didn’t listen to the show, click on this link. She knows her stuff.

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Tags: All We Do Is Puck Buffalo Sabres Derek Roy Florida Panthers Little Stevie Rink Side Rants Sabre Noise Tomas Vanek

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