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The Last 10 Games: Buffalo is 6-4-0 while NJ is 5-5-0

Know Your Enemy:

What We Think of the Sabres: The Northeast division will be an interesting one to watch this season because I expected Boston and Montreal to top the division and Toronto and Ottawa to round out the division with Buffalo stuck in the middle. It hasn’t turned out that way and the question is, will it?  Quick, name the 3 top Sabres leading the team in points. I couldn’t do it either and guessed Vanek was probably #1, which he is but I didn’t come up with Pominville or Roy as 2 and 3. What I know about the Sabres is Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller and that Lindy Ruff is a genius so I guess that’s what Buffalo is playing so well.

What To Expect Tonight: You will see #17 on the ice tonight. It has been confirmed that Ilya Kovalchuk will skate tonight against the Sabres after missing the last 5 games. Let’s hope the time away from the ice has made him extra hungry because we could sure use a few goals from him.

Here is what I am worried about going into tonight’s game. Playing on back to back nights is always tough but when you play a physical team like the Bruins in the first game, your second game usually suffers. If the Devils fall behind early, will they have enough energy to dig themselves out?

Everyone has read the whole Ryan Miller saga over the last few days so we know he won’t be playing tonight but honestly, I think Enroth has been playing better hockey anyway. Usually I like when we face a team’s backup goalie but not tonight.
Did I mention that the Devils have struggled (and that’s putting it nicely!!) on the power play recently? A quick look at the stats and we see that Bufalo is 3rd in the league on the PK. That doesn’t give me warm fuzzy feelings about tonight.

Players To Watch:

Nick Palmieri: Yes, Palmieri hasn’t been visible much over the last 5 games but he’s coming off a game that should give him some confidence. He averages about 13 of ice time per game so he’s getting enough time out there. Hopefully he can continue to do things tonight that he did last night. For instance, I thought he played the positional game very well. He was in the right spot last night when Andy Greene found him in front of the net and again was in a good position to finish what Adam Henrique had started.

Thomas Vanek: What can’t you say about this guy? It seems like every time I play the Sabres using any of the EA NHL games, Thomas Vanek ALWAYS kills me and that translates to the real world. He’s deadly with the puck and has been off to a pretty good start this season with 11 goals and 11 assists. With Pominville playing on his line who will need attention, that does nothing but create time and space for a guy like Vanek. DEADLY!! I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the scoresheet tonight.