Big game tonight at the RBC, too bad it's on Monday night and up against Monday Night Football and the Panthers! Yep, the Carolina Panthers take on division rival Tampa Bay in Charlotte tonight, and I do know some Caniacs who will be at that game. Before all the attendance pundits come flying out of the woodwork to criticize the Cane fanbase when they see empty seats on TV tonight, let me warn everyone right now ahead of time that this game will not sell out even though it's probably between the two best teams in hockey. The loyal diehards will be here though, (including me), and I'm sure we can make enough noise to drown out the Buffalo transplants who are sure to make themselves known. Again the schedule makers are less than kind pitting us against our instate NFL rivals for attention on the same night, but what can you do? This is the one and only Monday night home game for the Canes this year. I would have preferred it be in February or March though! I can proudly say that attendance is up substantially for the Canes this year as we are averaging over 17,500 per game, up from 15,500 last year. Go Caniacs!
Tonight's game against the slugs is a pivotal game for our confidence. Not only have we yet to beat Buffalo this season, (few teams have), but we have yet to beat any of our playoff foes from last year. It's time to reverse that little trivia factoid! Both teams are suffering from some injuries. Ryan Miller, Maxim Afinogenov, Henrik Tallinder, Toni Lydman, and of course Tim Connolly are all out for Buffalo. Cory Stillman, Frank Kaberle, Tim Gleason, and Nic Wallin are out for the Canes. The Sabres have been the best team in the Eastern Conference this year and are undefeated on the road, 9-0. They have also won their last three games in OT. The Canes have won 2 in a row and are 6-2-2 in the past 10 games. Daniel Briere and Thomas Vanek lead the Sabres in scoring with 23 and 20 points respectively. The Canes leading scorers are Rod Brind'Amour with 23, Ray Whitney with 22, and Eric Staal with 20. Erik Cole has been on a bit of a tear lately so I look for him to shine tonight. Cam Ward will be in net again for the Canes while Martin Biron will play in Ryan Miller's place. This should be another tight and exciting game with plenty of the usual drama between these playoff rivals. I can't wait!
Let's go Canes!