Buffalo Sabres vs. New Jersey Devils Preview: Zenon Konopka debuts as second half of the season begins
The newest Sabre will make his debut tonight on the fourth line as the Sabres begin the second half of their last place season.
After two very poor performances in a row, the Buffalo Sabres return tonight to the First Niagara Center, where they've won four in a row, to try and end their two game losing streak.
Tonight's game marks the debut of newly claimed Zenon Konopka, who, after some travel difficulty arrived in Buffalo this morning and will play on the fourth line with John Scott and Matt Ellis. Brayden McNabb will also return to the lineup in place of the ineffective Alexander Sulzer.
With the Sabres still suffering from a slew of injuries up front, including Cody Hodgson, Drew Stafford, Ville Leino, Kevin Porter, and Cody McCormick, scoring will be harder to come by than ever for the team that's already last in the NHL in goals for. The Sabres will need a big game (as they do every night) from Ryan Miller, who took a break from his god-like streak and was merely above average in his last game against the Wild.
The Devils are coming off of a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks last night, and will go from one of the NHL's best to the league's worst opponent, and will be paying backup goalie Cory Schneider in net. They'll be without Patrick Elias, who is sidelined with an upper-body injury.
Buffalo Sabres (11-26-4) vs. New Jersey Devils (17-17-8)
Puck Drop - 7:00pm EST - First Niagara Center - Buffalo, NY
TV - MSG, MSG+2 | Radio - WGR 550-AM
SBNation Devils Blog - In Lou We Trust
1. Who will win the all-important fourth line battle?
The Devils fourth line put forth a heck of an effort in their last game, despite not scoring, while the Sabres fourth line will feature both Zenon Konopka and John Scott, two of the most prolific fighters in the NHL. With their lack of talent at forward, the Sabres need contributions from as many players as possible, even if that just come in the form of physical play and some blocked shots.
2. Which forwards will provide the offense for Buffalo?
Thanks to the aforementioned injuries, last game the Sabres had a power play forward unit of Scott - Ott - D'Agostini, which is truly laughable. Outside of the top line, which isn't all that great anyway, there's very little offensive punch in the game for Buffalo. Can any of them find the back of the net?
3. Can this game please be more exciting than the first game this year between these two?
This is more of a personal plea, but the last time these teams played, the Devils won 1-0 in overtime, while the Devils outshot the Sabres by a whopping 24-15 margin. It's Saturday night, boys, let's have some fun, huh?
Projected BUF Lines
Matt Moulson - Tyler Ennis - Zemgus Girgensons
Steve Ott - Brian Flynn - Matt D'Agostini
Marcus Foligno - Johan Larsson - Linus Omark
John Scott - Zenon Konopka - Matt Ellis
Christian Ehrhoff – Mark Pysyk
Mike Weber – Tyler Myers
Brayden McNabb - Jamie McBain
Goal: Ryan Miller
Scratches/Injuries: Sulzer, Tallinder, Porter, McCormick, Hodgson