Buffalo has made major strides in the past two games and now they get a chance to continue moving forward against a team that trails them in the standings. The Sabres next opponent is a struggling Winnipeg Jets club that only has 5 wins on the season thus far. Buffalo hasn’t fared much better with 6 wins.
The Sabres have relied heavily on the excellent play of NHL points/goals leader Thomas Vanek and star goaltender Ryan Miller. The latter has grown frustrated with his team’s effort as of late, which he expressed in a post-game interview after Buffalo’s most recent loss to Pittsburgh.
Buffalo has begun to get some secondary scoring. Tyler Ennis had a two point game against Pittsburgh and now has 13 points on the season and joins players like Christian Ehrhoff, Cody Hodgson and Nathan Gerbe as players who have produced lately.
Buffalo needs more production from some generally reliable producers. Drew Stafford finally got his first goal of the season, but that hasn’t gone to his legs the way some had hoped. Jason Pominville’s lofty point totals have partially masked the fact that the Sabres captain is currently slumping.
The Jets have been struggling lately, losing their last three games at home. Their most recent game was a heartbreaker against Boston. The Jets need a boost and a big win over Buffalo on the road could help turn this club around.
Winnipeg funnel’s a lot of its offense through young Evander Kane. Kane continues to take heat from the media for his personality off the ice, but he continues to produce on it with 11 points this season. Kane is on a 3 game point streak and has received 20+ minutes of ice time in each contest.
The Jets also have received offense from captain Andrew Ladd who leads the Winnipeg’s forawards with 12 points. Tobias Enstrom is the Jets surprising overall point leader with 13 from the blueline. Blake Wheeler rounds out the top scorers with 11 points of his own.
The Jets have struggled, much like the Sabres, with keeping the puck out of their own net. Unlike the Sabres much of the blame of that issue lies with the goaltending. Both Ondrej Pavlec and Al Montoya sport a .889 save percentage and Pavlec has a 3.14 goals against average.
This is the first meeting between the two teams this year. The second meeting comes in Winnipeg on April 22nd. If this game turns out anything like the first meeting between these two clubs last season it will be entertaining.