The Carolina Hurricanes, (30-25-9) and the Buffalo Sabres, (30-25-7) will be playing a "game of consequence" in front of what's expected to be a sell out crowd tonight at the RBC. The Hurricanes are presently in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with the Sabres just two points behind, (with two games in hand).
If Buffalo wins, they bump the Canes from their playoff spot, at least for now. If Carolina wins, they could move past the Rangers into seventh place. (The Rangers play the Wild.)
Both teams recognize the importance of this match. Eric Staal called the game "huge".
"Both teams will be up a little more for this one", said Tim Connolly, quoted from this article in the - The Buffalo News.
It's always special when these two teams get together in Raleigh. Ever since the 2006 playoffs, when the Hurricanes prevailed in a tough seven game series for the Eastern Conference Championship, there has been bad blood between, if not the teams, then certainly the fanbases.
In some cases, friends and neighbors are cheering for opposite sides as many transplant Buffalo-nians take off their Carolina jerseys when the Sabres come to town.
A match between these two teams also features a contest between two of the top goalies in the league, Cam Ward and Ryan Miller.
Ward's numbers are better this year, but Miller holds the advantage in face to face meetings.
#30 / Goalie / Carolina Hurricanes
Feb 29, 1984
|2010 - Cam Ward||57||3291||27||21||148||2.70||1841||1693||.920||2|
#30 / Goalie / Buffalo Sabres
Jul 17, 1980
|2010 - Ryan Miller||52||3058||27||18||135||2.65||1576||1441||.914||3|
Lifetime, Ward is 4-6-1 with a 3.36 GAA against Buffalo.
Miller has a career 11-4-3 record with a GAA of 2.68 against Carolina.
The Sabres have been road warriors of late and have won seven of their last eight games on the road. They are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games overall.
The Hurricanes have been up and down in recent games. They have a 4-4-2 record in their last 10.
Both teams were somewhat active before the trade deadline as the Canes added Cory Stillman and Bryan Allen to the mix. The Sabres acquired Brad Boyes, who has made his presence known already.
The Canes lines recently have been as follows:
- Stillman, Staal, Cole
- Ruutu, Skinner, LaRose
- Jokinen, Sutter, Tlusty
- Bodie, Dwyer, Samson
The defensive pairings should at least start out as:
- Gleason, Corvo
- Pitkanen, McBain
- Harrison, Allen
Cam Ward will be making his 24th consecutive start.
Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford, and now Boyes lead the Sabres in scoring:
|2010 - Thomas Vanek||62||23||29||52||-7||16||9||0||4||178|
|2010 - Brad Boyes||63||13||29||42||11||30||5||0||2||133|
|2010 - Drew Stafford||44||24||14||38||3||28||9||0||3||133|
For more info on the Sabres, visit our friends within the SBN Network at Die By The Blade.
Also, check out the following link for Buffalo information, including audio from a recent Ryan Miller interview:
The News has the Sabres lines like this:
Tyler Ennis-Tim Connolly-Brad Boyes
Thomas Vanek-Jochen Hecht-Drew Stafford
Nathan Gerbe-Paul Gaustad-Jason Pominville
Patrick Kaleta-Cody McCormick-Mike Grier
The Canes lost to the Sabres 3-2 in their only contest between the teams so far this season. The Sabres held a 2-1-1 advantage last season.
Hockeymom has her gameday guide ready for print in the following link:
It doesn't get any better than this in March.
The game will be broadcast locally by FS Carolinas starting at 7 p.m. We will have our "Live", Open Game Thread cranked up at 6:30.