Zach Bogosian Set to Make Debut Tonight as a Buffalo Sabre

After four consecutive nights with no games, the Philidelphia Flyers (23-22-10) visit the Buffalo Sabres (16-36-3) tonight for a 7:30 puck drop at the First Niagara Center. This is the second of three meetings between these two teams and in the first meeting Philidelphia was able to hang on for a 4-3 road victory after Buffalo’s comeback attempt late in the third.

Tonight will be a night of many firsts, both definite and potential. Defenseman Zach Bogosian makes his first start as a Sabre since the trade that sent him to Buffalo. With defenseman Josh Gorges out of the lineup indefinitely, Bogosian will be logging the big minutes on the Sabres first defensive pairing alongside Andre Benoit. The two were paired together this morning during practice and Bogosian played some time on the point in the power play drills. Sabres head coach Ted Nolan shows no reserve in putting Bogosian right in the spotlight for his debut.

“He’s going to get thrown right into the fire. He’s going to play a lot of minutes,” Nolan said. “Plus he is a big boy and I’m quite sure he’s used to those minutes. Maybe he’s going to look at it a whole different way. Maybe he wasn’t getting as much minutes as he thought before so it won’t be no question about minutes here.”

The ball to perform is Bogosian’s court tonight. In their first two games on the Winnipeg Jets, Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford have already made their presence known. Between the two players, they already have a combined three points with Stafford netting a huge shootout goal in the Jets 5-4 victory over Detroit last night. It seems as if the change of scenery may be a fit for the now former Sabres. It will be interesting to see if Bogosian will answer the call on his new Buffalo team.

Zach Bogosian (pictured above) will be making his debut as a Buffalo Sabre tonight. Nolan says that he will "thrown right into the fire" as the team's #1 defender at the point. Photo courtesy of Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon SMI

Zach Bogosian (pictured above) will be making his debut as a Buffalo Sabre tonight. Nolan says that he will "thrown right into the fire" as the team's #1 defender at the point.

Photo courtesy of Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon SMI

Tonight also gives the Flyers’ first line a chance to potentially score their first goal since the all-star break. The first line of Claude Giroux centering Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek has not scored in the seven games succeeding the all-star break. This is a line that the Flyers rely heavily on each night to produce and score goals. A quickly developing story of the second half of the season is this line’s performance, especially after the strong first half of the season. Voracek, who is currently second in the league for scoring (60 points), blames the line’s recent struggles on just not thinking plays through and their building frustration.

“We just want to get things done so much that we’re not right positions or not making the smartest play,” Voracek said. “It’s not about work ethic. I think we’re working really hard, but we’ve just got to be smarter.”

Jakub Voracek (pictured above) is hoping that his line can break out of a slump against the Sabres tonight. Since the all-star break, his line has not scored one goal and the team has lost major ground in their playoff hopes. Photo courtesy of Yong Kim/philly.com

Jakub Voracek (pictured above) is hoping that his line can break out of a slump against the Sabres tonight. Since the all-star break, his line has not scored one goal and the team has lost major ground in their playoff hopes.

Photo courtesy of Yong Kim/philly.com

Along with Josh Gorges being scratched from the lineup, also expect forward Patrick Kaleta to miss tonight’s game as well. Nolan said that Kaleta has been playing through a lower body injury and met with doctors that said he could sidelined for a while. The Sabres have recalled Johan Larsson from Rochester in lieu of Kaleta’s injury and he will play left wing on the fourth line centered by Matt Ellis and Cody Hodgson on the right wing.

Michal Neuvirth will get the start in net tonight, as he is now the #1 goalie for the Sabres following the Jhonas Enroth trade to Dallas. In 19 games started for the Sabres this year, Neuvirth has a .907 save percentage.

The puck drops at 7:30 tonight and the game will be covered on the NBC Sports Network and on the Sabres flagship radio station WGR 550.

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