The Sabres kick-off a 4-game road trip this afternoon down in Florida. They meet the Panthers and newly acquired forward Jaromir Jagr today at 3pm. This is the 5th and final meeting between clubs this season in which Florida has won three of the four previous match-up’s.
The Panthers made a trade for the veteran forward Thursday with New Jersey. Florida is sitting just four points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Realistically the wild card is the only shot they have of reaching the post season. With that in mind, Roberto Luongo should be the starter who has blanked Buffalo twice this season, his only 2 shut-out’s. Nick Bjugstad (21-15-36) leads the team in points and rookie defenseman and 1st overall pick at last year’s draft Aaron Ekblad is third in scoring (9-23-32) and he is a plus +/-6.
The Sabres top two scorers will not be available tonight. Zemgus Girgensons and Tyler Ennis left Tuesday night’s game against Columbus. Girgensons is presumably lost for the season while Ennis could return somewhere along this road swing. The big question remains, when and where will Ted Nolan play Anders Lindback? The goaltender was acquired two weeks ago for Jhonas Enroth and has yet to see any playing time. Michal Neuvirth has been playing as well as possible considering. Look for Nolan to play Neuvirth today for quite possibly the last time as a Sabre. GM Tim Murray has said he’d like to move all of his UFA’s by the deadline. That list includes Neuvirth, Chris Stewart, Andrej Meszaros, Pat Kaleta (IR) and Torrey Mitchell. The NHL deadline is Monday.
Nikita Zadorov will be back on the blue-line for Buffalo today after sitting the past three games for violation of team rules. Mark Pysyk was sent to Rochester on Friday.