The Buffalo Sabres season has quickly gone from bad to worse to tire fire, and just when you'd hope for a reprieve in the schedule, November has the blue and gold traveling West to face three of the top teams in the West.
Tonight's game is against the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks. San Jose comes in to tonight's tilt with a 10-1-3 record, far above the Sabres 2-13-1 showing, which happens to be a franchise worst record to start a season.
Ron Rolston tried to help turn things around with a high-energy practice yesterday that featured battle drills and some hitting as the Sabres traveled out West a day early to help deal with the time change. Will any of it make a difference, or will we see more of the same old Sabres despite the new surroundings? We'll find out tonight as the Sabres take on the Sharks. Remember, game time tonight is 10:30pm ET, Game Thread will go up at 10:00pm.
1.) Can the Sabres overcome the west coast time change and come out of the gate with any kind of pep in their step?
Slow starts have been a big problem for the Sabres this year, and a 10:30 ET start tonight gives this writer little confidence that we'll see that problem fixed tonight. Still, the uptempo practice the team had yesterday and the clocks falling back an hour can hopefully help to mitigate the time change a bit and give the team some jumo coming out of the gate.
2.) How will the special teams match up tonight?
San Jose enters the game tonight with top ten units on the power play and penalty kill, while the Sabres rank 24th with the man advantage and 12th on the PK. Buffalo needs to be better in the penalty department than they were against Anaheim last game, and needs to take advantage of the opportunities given in order to win against any of these three dominant Western teams they'll play this week.
3.) Which player will grow the best moustache?
Movember is underway, and the Sabres are participating in the charity month that sees sponsored moustaches grown to benefit prostate cancer research. Ryan Miller seems like the early leader, going for the Rollie Fingers look, and had this to share with Sabres.com:
In how to maintain it, he said he’s looking for some advice.
"I’d appreciate it if people could maybe give me some pointers on what’s some good kind of gel or wax or something," he said.
Projected BUF lines
Matt Moulson – Cody Hodgson – Tyler Ennis
Steve Ott – Mikhail Grigorenko – Corey Tropp / Marcus Foligno
Zemgus Girgensons – Johan Larsson – Brian Flynn
Ville Leino – Cody McCormick – Drew Stafford
Christian Ehrhoff – Mark Pysyk
Henrik Tallinder – Tyler Myers
Jamie McBain – Rasmus Ristolainen
Nikita Zadorov – John Scott
Goal: Ryan Miller