Anaheim Ducks @ Buffalo Sabres Game Preview

Buffalo, NY

The Buffalo Sabres will look for their first win on the season this afternoon (3pm puck drop) as they take on the Anaheim Ducks in a Columbus Day matinee special.  Michael Neuvirth is set to make his first start for Buffalo this season.  The Czech netminder impressed in short time last season upon his arrival to Buffalo at the trade deadline.  The former second round pick was peppered with shots but held a .949 SV% in his two starts last season before a hip injury prematurely ended his year.   Although he struggled this preseason while in competition to start over Jonas Enroth, Neuvirth has an opportunity to prove his critics wrong and again capture consistent NHL minutes.

Neuvirth was selected twelve spots ahead of current teammate Jonas Enroth in the 2006 NHL Draft

Neuvirth was selected twelve spots ahead of current teammate Jonas Enroth in the 2006 NHL Draft

The beginning to the 2014 campaign appears to be a different verse of the same 2013 song.  Although the compete level has appeared steady and flashes of great talent have been shown, the Sabres have been outshot a staggering 87-45 through the first two contests.  Fans can expect the Anaheim Ducks to produce similar offensive firepower to what Chicago put on display Saturday night.  Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf have already combined for 8 points after their first two games.  The Ducks (1-1) are coming off a thrilling win in Detroit Saturday night after dropping their first game to the Penguins 6-4.  The Ducks will continue their travels around the league before they play their first home game October 17th. 

Corey Perry tallied 43 goals in the 2013-14 campaign.  

Corey Perry tallied 43 goals in the 2013-14 campaign.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I’m Watching For

Sam Reinharts continued development.  The young centerman was moved from the second to the third line to play between Marcus Foligno and Chris Stewart Saturday night.  The rookie looked more comfortable and I see no reason for Nolan to move Reinhardt for the next few games. 

Cody Hodgson.  The winger struggled mightily Saturday night in Chicago and he was credited for being on the ice for four of Buffalo’s shots versus twenty of Chicago’s shots.  Expect Hodgson to come out fired up today and clean up his defensive play. 

Zemgus Girgensons has scored in each of Buffalo’s first two games this year and has been a terror thus far on both sides of the ice.  It took Girgensons twenty-nine games to score his second goal last season.  I’ll be watching for Girgensons to play alongside Gionta and the aforementioned Hodgson. 

Top Minutes from the Top D Pair.  Expect Tyler Myers and Josh Gorges to have their hands full as they will be often matched up with Anaheim’s top line that consists of Patrick Marooon, Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry. 

I’ll be excited to see the atmosphere in the arena this afternoon.  It’s rare that top West Coast teams visit the Queen City so it is a nice opportunity for hockey purists to come out and see some great action.