BUFFALO, NY - APRIL 05: Thomas Vanek #26 of the Buffalo Sabres moves the puck just prior to scoring his second goal on Dwayne Roloson #35 of the Tampa Bay Lightning at HSBC Arena on April 5, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
The Buffalo Sabres are looking to finish off their four game road trip on Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In the process, they are also looking to extend their current three game winning streak as well. The Sabres are coming off what most would consider their best game of the season thus far, a 3-0 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
Two of the hottest players for the Buffalo Sabres have to be Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek. Vanek is third in the league with six goals and Pominville is tied with five others for the league lead in assists with seven. The top line of Vanek/Adam/Pominville have produced 11 goals and 14 assists in the six games the Sabres have played thus far. Why is this all important though? Thomas Vanek in his career has scored 22 goals in 24 career games against the Lightning, the second most against any team he has faced. Last season alone, Vanek had six goals in four games and added another assist as well.
Vanek and Pominville just seem to be working together really well at the start of this season and Pominville acknowledged as much to the Buffalo News' John Vogl:
"We seem like we know where we're at before we even get the puck," Pominville said. "Having the puck and being able to know where your teammate is definitely helps. He can put the puck away, too, when he has the opportunity."
For the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team has struggled out of the gate, starting the season 2-3-2 and losing five games in a row, but they found their stride against the New York Islanders with a 4-1 victory on Thursday night. Goaltender Dwayne Roloson has been anything but good against the Buffalo Sabres, as he has never won a game against the Sabres in nine career games. This season Roloson has a 1-2-1 record with a 5.11 goals against average and .858 save percentage.
The Lightning have allowed 3.57 goals/game in their first seven games this season, which is second worst in the league this season. The Sabres have only allowed 10 goals in their first six games, good for a 1.67 goals/game average. Much of the Lightning's goals allowed came in a four game stretch where they allowed 21 goals, including seven to the Florida Panthers.
Game time is 7:00 pm Eastern.