Main storyline: 11 months and two days ago, Ryan Miller was traded from the Buffalo Sabres organization to the St. Louis Blues. Now with the Vancouver Canucks, Miller will face his former organization on Friday night at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
Season series: Friday night is the first of two meetings between the two hockey clubs. The next matchup will be on February 26 when Miller makes his return to Buffalo for the first time. The last time these two teams met was March 23 when the Sabres fell to the Canucks 4-2 in Vancouver. The Sabres have not beaten Vancouver since March 3, 2012 when Buffalo beat the Canucks 5-3 at Rogers Arena.
Where they stand: The Sabres have set a franchise record for consecutive winless games in 13 after the team’s 13th straight regulation loss. Buffalo sits in dead last in the National Hockey League, and sit four points behind 29th place Edmonton Oilers. For the Canucks, they sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 55 points. Vancouver sits three points behind second place San Jose, and fifteen points behind first place Anaheim in the division.
Recent performance: It was a battle of the two worst teams in the NHL on Thursday night between the Sabres and Oilers. Buffalo jumped ahead for the fourth straight game, as Tyler Myers scored the game’s opening goal 2:22 into the period. The Sabres squandered the lead in the first period, and fell behind 2-1 at the end of one. After a scoreless second period, Anton Lander gave Edmonton a comfortable 3-1 lead at the 7:52 mark of the third. Rasmus Ristolainen scored with 2:02 left in the third, but Ben Scrivens shut the door on the Sabres to preserve the win. For Vancouver, the Anaheim Ducks came into Vancouver on Tuesday and shut out the Canucks 4-0.
Buffalo notes: The Sabres have lost 13-consecutive regulation games, and are beginning to run out of excuses for the team’s losing ways. Tyler Myers was injured after blocking a shot in the third period of Thursday’s game against the Oilers. However, Nikita Zadorov is expected to return to the lineup on Friday after missing the last two games as punishment for not arriving back to the Sabres in time following the All-Star break. In the 13-game losing streak, the Sabres have been outshot 428-273, outscored 56-19, and are a minus-328 Corsi. The Sabres have not won in the 2015 calendar year yet, with its last win coming on December 27th against the New York Islanders.
Opponent notes: Vancouver has had a nice rebound season compared to last season where they ended up 25th in the league standings. This year, the Canucks have had scoring from players like Radim Vrbata and company. The Canucks have also been getting some solid defense and goaltending from Ryan Miller. The month of January has been a roller coaster for the Canucks, as they have lost two straight games after winning three straight prior. The Sedin twins lead the Canucks in scoring (Daniel-39 points and Henrik-38 points), while Radim Vrbata leads the team in goals with 18.
Conclusion: Jhonas Enroth will get the start for the Sabres in goal, while Ryan Miller will be the guy in between the pipes for Vancouver. Puck drop is scheduled for 10 p.m. and the game can be seen on MSG Network and on NHL Network.