The Buffalo Sabres are back at it again at home playing host to the Colorado Avalanche. The Sabres will attempt to get back into the win column after being shutout at home by the Vancouver Canucks.
Any hope of gained momentum from their first win of the season against the Islanders was dashed Thursday as the as the Sabres were totally dominated by the visiting Canucks. While the game stayed close on the scoreboard there wasn’t a moment when Buffalo controlled play.
Vancouver outshot the home team 34-25 and the possession time was also heavily in favor of the Canucks. However most notable was the fact that many of the Sabres bad traits and habits returned in full force Thursday night. Passing was horribly inaccurate, especially on the outlet breakout passes were not tape to tape.
A key to victory for the Sabres against the Avalanche tonight is to step up the physical play on defense. This season Buffalo’s opposition has been able to set up in the zone without much resistance especially below the goal line. Too often the Sabres defensemen sit back and allow the puck to be cycled down low and this leads to a lot of time spent in their own zone and ultimately goals against. Against Colorado’s big physical offense Buffalo’s defensemen need to be tougher to play against.
Across the ice from the Sabres are the Colorado Avalanche who are off to a promising start. At 6-1-0, the Avs sit atop the Central Division with 12 points as opposed to the Sabres three points. They had been undefeated until their Thursday night game when they lost 4-2 to the Detroit Red Wings.
The Avalanche are a young, skilled, and physical group who are proving to be a challenge to play against and will prove to be another stiff challenge for the home team.
Despite undergoing a clear rebuild year the general consensus in Buffalo is dissatisfied. Coaching and management have come under fire from the fans and the atmosphere at home games has been negative and quiet.
While it may be a rebuilding year this is still a team full of young players with a lot of talent and potential that should be creating a buzz. However the product this year has been slow, sloppy and emotionless. Coach Ron Rolston has experimented slightly with shifting lines and benching players to create a spark but so far it has proved futile.
Look for the Sabres to clean up their own zone and passing game in order for them to hang in there with the Avs.
Puck drop will be at 7 p.m. and the game will be aired on MSG.