Sabres vs. Blackhawks preview: Will the ragtag Sabres win again?
The Sabres winning streak may end tonight now that they are no longer playing the 29th or 28th ranked team.
Buffalo Sabres (22-47-8) vs.
Chicago Blackhawks (47-24-6)
1. Can the Sabres ragtag team of underdogs continue to produce?
The Sabres roster may look more like a Rochester Americans roster, but some of the players have really started to produce lately. That starts with Johan Larsson, who has four points in the last five games. Andrej Meszaros has four goals and an assist in his last three games. Even Cody Hodgson has created chances, and he finally got on the board last game. Will another surprising name appear on the scorers card?
2. Will the Blackhawks, who are fighting for playoff position, look motivated?
Buffalo has had to deal with a lot of teams that appear to look past the Sabres, and that's helped the team earn some wins they probably shouldn't have. Chicago has clinched a playoff spot, but the Blackhawks have lost a bit of ground since the Patrick Kane injury. At one point the Wild even passed Chicago, pushing the Blackhawks to the Wild Card position. Chicago is back in a divisional spot, but its the third of three. They are one point behind the Blues and three behind Nashville, so they have a lot to fight for still.
3. Will cheers for the Blackhawks be audible in the building?
Sabres fans caused quite a stir when they rooted for Arizona last week, but that was against a team that the team was directly battling for draft position. Their last home game was against the Maple Leafs, a team that always brings a large travelling crowd to Buffalo. Now the team is playing the Blackhawks, who aren't competing for a top pick and aren't close to Buffalo geographically. Will the fans still be rooting for the tank today?
Projected BUF lineup
Gionta - Larsson -Ennis
Foligno - Grigorenko - Deslauriers
Dalpe - Varone - Kaleta
Ellis - Schaller - Hodgson
Stachan - Bogosian
Meszaros - Ristolainen
Benoit - Zadorov
Goal: Anders Lindback