Sabres vs. Penguins preview: Ryan Miller's last home game?

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

While trade rumors continue to swirl with two days to go before the Olympic freeze, the Penguins come to Buffalo to take on the last-place Sabres.

For a last place team, the Buffalo Sabres sure have a lot of rivals. Tonight, on NBCSN's Rivalry Wednesday, the last place team in the Eastern Conference, the Sabres, will take on the best the East has to offer, the Pittsburgh Penguins in what has become a heated non-divisional rivalry, I guess.

Despite the discrepancy in talent level and team record between these two opponents, Sabres fans do have a few things to look forward to tonight. With trade rumors heating up, including solid rumors today about the Capitals and Wild being interested in upgrading their goaltending, tonight could theoretically be Ryan Miller's last home game at the First Niagara Center. The Olympic trade freeze goes in to effect on Friday at 3pm, and lasts until 11:59pm on Feb 23, and while the Sabre will play a home game on the 25th, Tim Murray has said he wouldn't be shy about listening to and taking offers for any of his players, Miller included, as they come in.

The Sabres will also be holding a ceremony tonight to send off their Olympians, of which the team technically has five - Ryan Miller, Jhonas Enroth, Henrik Tallinder, Zemgus Girgensons, and interim head coach Ted Nolan. More good news comes in the return of defensemen Chad Ruhwedel to the lineup, who has played infinitely better than Mike Weber or Jamie McBain since being called up from Rochester. Ruhwedel is in for the injured Tyler Myers, who will join Ville Leino and Zenon Konopka as the healthy scratches, because John Scott.

For their part, the Penguins come in to town boasting seven Olympic players, and their head coach, Dan Bylsma, is also the head coach of Team USA, and will have another opportunity to check out Ryan Miller first-hand. The Penguins have won the first two games of this three-game season series, and are 7-3-0 in their last ten games to Buffalo's 2-5-3.

Ed Note: Our Penguins blog, Pensburgh, is running a charity drive for the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh where creativity in donations is highly encouraged. Check out the crazy things people have already donated for right here, and consider making your own donation. You'll feel good about yourself, we promise!

Game #56

Buffalo Sabres (15-32-8) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (18-33-6)

Puck Drop - 7:30pm EST - First Niagara Center - Buffalo, NY
TV
- NBCSN, TSN-2, RDS-2 | Radio - WGR 550-AM
SBNation Penguins Blog
- Pensburgh

Three Questions

1. How will the Sabres fare against the league's best power play?
Pittsburgh is deadly with the extra attacker, thanks to the All-Star team they can roll out at any time. The Sabres will have to keep penalties to a minimum and shut this unit down to have a chance tonight.

2. Can the Sabres get out of the first period either tied or with the lead?
When the Penguins are leading after one, they win 95% of the time, best in the NHL by a good margin.

3. How will Ryan Miller play in front of his Olympic coach?
The starting goaltender for team USA is still up in the air, but Ryan Miller can make some last-minute impressions tonight with a strong performance against a heavily favored team.

Projected BUF Lines

Omark - Ennis - Stafford
Ott - Hodgson - D'Agostini
Varone - Girgensons - Flynn
Scott - Ellis - Foligno

Ehrhoff Sulzer
Tallinder - Ruhwedel
Weber - McBain

Goal: Ryan Miller

Scratches/Injuries: Myers, McCormick, Moulson, Leino, Konopka

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