The Buffalo Sabres have quietly put together a small winning streak that dates back to their matchup against the Edmonton Oilers on December 28th. Including that game, the Sabres have gone 3-0-1 and haven't really gained any ground in the playoff hunt, eight points back from eighth place Montreal.
The team finishes off their West Coast trip against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night. The Sabres have had good luck against Pacific Division opponents with a 4-1-0 record including Thursday night's win against the Sharks. The Sabres have found good luck against the Coyotes in their last ten matchups as well, going 6-3-1 overall and 5-5 in the Jobing.com Arena and Buffalo hasn't lost in Phoenix since January 21, 2008.
There has been some players that have stepped up and started to find their scoring touch in the last few games. Thomas Vanek has scored a goal in the last three games and Jochen Hecht has quietly put together a six game point streak (3 goals and 4 assists). For the Phoenix Coyotes, the player to watch has been Shane Doan. Doan is one of the Coyotes leading scorers and has been the face of the Coyotes franchise since the Coyotes have been in Phoenix.
It will be Ryan Miller in net for the Buffalo Sabres, Miller has a 3-0 career record against the Coyotes with a 1.00 GAA and a .962 SV%. This will be Miller's 32nd game of the season out of the Sabres 41. While there is no confidence in Patrick Lalime, Ryan Miller will need a rest sooner rather than later if he is going to be an effective goaltender as the season stretches on. In net for the Coyotes will be Ilya Bryzgalov. Bryzgalov is 1-3 career against the Buffalo Sabres with a 3.57 GAA and .860 SV%.
Game time will be 8:00 pm Eastern on MSG.