Buffalo Sabres Game Day: Which Team Shows Up Tonight Agaisnt The Sharks?

The Buffalo Sabres return home to try and salvage the second game of a back-and-back, but which team will come out to play?

The Buffalo Sabres have been quite the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story this 2016-17 season.

One night, they are putting up 4 goals en route to a 4-0 beatdown of the Ottawa Senators; the next, they manage only one goal on 23 shots to lose 2-1 to the New Jersey Devils.

That sort of inconsistency on offense, coupled with the fact that the Sabres have allowed 30 or more shots on goal now in 11 straight games, is why this team starts today tied with Tampa Bay for the least amount of points in the Eastern Conference.

And if that doesn’t make you a bit sick to your stomach, this ought to: the Buffalo Sabres return home tonight to take on the San Jose Sharks, who just happen to . . .

  • Have the second-most points in the Western Conference (69), and fifth-most overall in the NHL;
  • Be riding a 8-1-1 streak;
  • Own a 15-10-1 record on the road; and
  • Allow only 2.26 goals per game, the second-stingiest defense in the league

Depending on which version of the Sabres’ offense shows up tonight, this could either be an entertaining game or the sort of game in which the Sabres get booed off the ice at the end of each period.

There are some things working in Buffalo’s favor tonight.

  1. The Sabres have been a better team at home (12-8-4) this season than on the road (9-13-6), which is a reversal of fortune compared to last season.
  2. The Sabres will be starting Anders Nilsson in net tonight, who has gone 6-1-1 with a 1.84 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage in eight games at KeyBank Center this season.  (Don’t allow this fact to justify your anti-Robin Lehner arguments, people!  Goal tending is NOT a problem for the Sabres this season.)
  3. Check out this juicy bit of knowledge that Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News dispensed today:

There is no logical explanation for the way the Sabres have dominated the Sharks over the years. None. Zero. Let’s just put the numbers here and you try to figure it out. Buffalo is 23-6-6 against San Jose all time − including 16-2 here. The Sabres are 9-0-1 against the Sharks in the last 10 meetings. The Sabres, by the way, are 9-4-2 against the West this year but just 12-17-8 against the East.

So which Buffalo Sabres team shows up tonight – the one that has dominated the West?  The one that cannot score to save its life against mediocre Eastern Conference teams?  Tune into the Tops pregame show at 6:30 on MSG to find out!

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