Saturday, November 8, 2008

Game Day, Sabres @ B's 11/08/08

Bring on the BuffaSlug! It's a battle for first place in the division, which nobody probably predicted. Sure, Montreal could slip into first with a win and a Buffalo loss, but what the hell. B's are in position to put themselves at the top, and I'm looking forward to it. I'll say it again. After Montreal, Buffalo is easily my most despised team. From the history of dirt bags they've employed (I'm looking at you Rob Ray, Larry Playfair, Lindy Ruff and Mike Foligono!),to their recent history of diving flopping and otherwise womanly play, to their over confident fans, who act like they invented the game, I just can't stand watching them play. Nothing more enjoyable than watching them get off to a good start, only to implode, thus crushing the souls of all their worshippers in Loserville. I can't imagine a more depressing life. As if living in Buffalo isn't bad enough, they don't even have a Championship team to lift their spirits. Just an endless string of "almost but not quite" soul crushing defeats. I love it. Ok OK....enough with the Buffalo bashing. I'm sure they must have some nice folks there. I've just never met them. Anyway, back to the game. Buffalo is coming off a 5-4 OT loss to Atlanta last night, while Boston had the night off. Expect Ryan Miller to be back between the pipes for the Sabres and Thomas (hopefully) again for Boston. Boston needs to contain Thomas Vanek, he of the 12 goals, if they're going to shut down Buffalo. Beyond that, again I feel like Boston matches up very well from a talent perspective. This is another game that will come down to being disciplined and executing their systems. The B's should be able to handle everything Buffalo can throw at them, but they'll all have to be on their game to walk out with a win.
Rough Stuff Preview
As far as the rough stuff goes, I'd look for Andrew Peters to be in the lineup tonight. He didn't dress last night, but I'd suspect a division game against a team like Boston would be a good spot for him. You know, for him to enjoy his whopping five minutes of ice time. Is Peters a big, strong tough kid? Absolutely. Would I be thrilled with him in a Bruins uniform? Not at all. He's a good fighter. Period, end of story. I suppose his closest comparable on Boston would be Shawn Thornton. But to compare the two, in my opinion, is an insult to Thornton. Thorny can play the game. Peters, can't. Let's compare stats of these two 4th liners, shall we? Peters averages 5 minutes TOI per game. Thornton is over 8:30 TOI. Peters is a -2. Thornton is even. Peters has 33 PIMS in 10 games (he has been a scratch for three of Buff's games). Thornton has 23PIMS, having dressed for all 13 of Boston's games. And to me, the most shocking number is this. Shots on goal. Thornton has 20. Peters? He has a total of 3! Yes, he's managed to squeeze off THREE shots in ten games. Are you kidding me? OK fine, so you say the value of a fourth liner comes in how physical they can be, and hits should be considered. Fine. Thornton has been credited with 13 hits. Peters has been credited with a paltry, embarrassing FIVE. What exactly does this hammer head DO with his ice time? He sure doesn't seem to be helping his team at all. He doesn't hit, he doesn't land any shots on net and he spends over three minutes per game in the box. Complete waste of a roster spot. So yeah, I really do hope they dress him tonight. Nothing better than playing a short handed team. All that in mind, as much as a Thornton-Peters bout would be entertaining, I *almost* hope it doesn't happen. At this point, it's getting harder and harder to find a "fair" trade for Thornton. The Sabres do have a couple other guys that fancy themselves "tough guys". Adam Mair and Patrick Kaleta (and to some extent, Craig Rivet). All three of these guys are more cheap shot artists than they are legit tough guys. All three will leave their feet to make hits, board you and hack at you with sticks and elbows up. They're also just as likely to turtle and not drop the gloves as they are to dive in on an unsuspecting opponent. So, it's best to know where these guys are at all times. If it does come to blows, Boston doesn't have anyone that should be worried (of the likely fighters on the team).

Predictions- I say Boston keeps the good Mojo going with a 3-2 win. Kaleta is my choice for a bout, and I say.....Ference goes with him. Hey, it's a reach, but I like it. Go B's-Kynch

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