The Buffalo Sabres had a tough time getting out of the snow in Buffalo yesterday, but they made it to Raleigh and they are ready to take on the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC tonight, starting at 7. This is a huge game for the Sabres as they currently sit in the number 9 position in the Eastern Conference, 3 points behind the 8th place Philadelphia Flyers.
The Hurricanes have a tremendous 9-1-1 record in their past 11 home games. They have accomplished this using a patchwork lineup of sorts, including new players acquired via recent trades and some players recalled from their AHL affiliate in Albany. Buffalo, on the otherhand has a 4-5-1 record in their past 10 games and they are coming off of a disappointing loss at home to the Washington Capitals. The Caps remain 5 points behind the Canes in the Southeast Division race, but have 2 games in hand.
Look for the Sabres to play a desperate game as they try to inch closer to playoff qualification. Jochen Hecht will be returning to the lineup after missing 7 games due to a groin injury, and he could be an inspiring factor. Thomas Vanek has been hot for the Sabres of late, while Ryan Miller is always tough between the pipes.
The Canes look like they will still be missing Ray Whitney who is recovering from some sort of foot/leg injury. There is a chance that he could play, if the swelling subsides enough so that he can wear a special boot for his skate. LSB is reporting that Glen Wesley will be resting a sore foot tonight as well. Bret Hedican has returned from personal leave, so Dennis Seidenberg can slide over to take over for Wesley. Wade Brookbank is also questionable.
The Carolina lineup should look like this if Whitney doesn't play.....
Cam Ward will be in goal. There are only single seats left for this one, so get there early and look for your favorite scalper if you need tickets. It should be an emotional game because Buffalo will have more than a few fans there, for sure.
Will the Hurricanes be able to match the Sabres intensity in yet another game with a playoff atmosphere?
Goo Goo Dolls