The Buffalo Sabres continue their Western Conference road trip Tuesday night versus the Vegas Golden Knights. Buffalo, having come off a 3-0 win versus the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night, will be looking to sweep the season series with Vegas, having already beat them 4-2 in Buffalo on October 8th. The Golden Knights, however, will be out seeking revenge. All things considered, it will make for a great early season matchup. Let’s take a more in depth look:
The Sabres should have the previous meeting with Vegas fresh in their minds, and will be looking to emulate it, as many feel it was Buffalo’s most complete game in terms of team play. The 4-2 victory that occurred just over a week ago saw two goals from captain Jack Eichel, one goal each from Marco Scandella and Jason Pominville, and a complete performance from goaltender Carter Hutton. Coach Phil Housley should stick to the same tactics and have his team prepared come Tuesday evening.
The Golden Knights, however, will not be a pushover. Vegas is not too far removed from a Stanley Cup Final run in it’s inaugural season. They did lose a couple of big name players this off-season, but weren’t shy adding new talent to fill those holes. Their 2-3 record shouldn’t be indicative of the remainder of the year, due to the strength of the teams they’ve faced already. Once the new faces begin to gel with the existing core, they should be an interesting team to watch. It could very well be a good thing the Sabres got their matchups out of the way early on.
Important Keys for a Sabres Victory:
- Scoring at 5v5 – The Sabres have struggled early on this season at even strength scoring. They were able to get their first 5v5 tally vs. Vegas, thanks to Jack Eichel. To beat them again, they have to produce more at even strength.
- Special Teams – Buffalo is ranked 16th in the league on the Powerplay, and 19th in the league in Penalty Kill. Those numbers certainly aren’t what Housley and his team expected to produce, especially with such a skilled roster. Those numbers should improve with confidence, and that comes with capitalizing on their chances.
- Solid Goaltending – Carter Hutton has been exactly what the Sabres have lacked since Ryan Miller left; a capable starting goaltender. While his numbers might not be the greatest early on (2-2, .912, 3.07), he has looked impressive. Couple his strong play with a stellar performance from Linus Ullmark Saturday night in Arizona, and Buffalo looks surprisingly good between the pipes. They’ll need another great outing Tuesday night to succeed.
- The Sabres record on the season sits at 3-2. They are currently 4th in the Atlantic Division.
- Rookie defenceman Rasmus Dahlin scored his first career NHL goal Saturday at Arizona. It was assisted by Jeff Skinner and Evan Rodrigues.
- Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark made his season debut, and shined, earning his first career NHL shutout in the 3-0 victory.
- The Sabres enter their 4th contest all time versus the Vegas Golden Knights. They are 1-0-2, including an overtime and shootout loss, each occurring last season.
- Jeff Skinner scored his first goal as a member of the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night versus the Coyotes. It was his 205th career goal in the NHL.