It’s almost over. The Carolina Hurricanes are in town to face the Sabres playing in their 80th game of the season. Should the ‘Canes score a regulation win tonight Buffalo will finish the season in 30th place for the second straight season. Anders Lindback (5-14-2) will make the start in goal for the Sabres after resting Saturday night on Long Island.
Lindback was in net last Friday night and allowed four goals in the loss to Chicago. Matt Moulson (illness) and Mike Weber (soreness) did not play in either games this weekend. Coach Nolan expects Moulson to return tonight vs. Carolina but indicated Weber could be out for the remainder of the season.
Buffalo and Carolina will meet for the third and final time after splitting the prior two contests.
Eric Stall continues to lead the ‘Canes in the goal scoring department (22-29-51) while former Sabres forward Nathan Gerbe has just 9 goals. Cam Ward (21-22-5) will be starting in goal for Carolina. Ward has won 3 of his last 4 starts. He’s allowed two (2) or fewer goals in 29 appearances this season.
Carolina for much of the season have been neck in neck with Buffalo for last place in the NHL standings. They played really well in January and February going 14-7-3 in that stretch, separating themselves from the other basement dwellers like Edmonton and Phoenix. They currently sit in 26th place overall.
Buffalo on the other hand has been as bad as any team in recent history. Of course this is what they were built for and the gains they could make with the potential first or second draft position could carry themselves to hockey glory.
Carolina has been really hampered with injuries this season. Alexander Semin has appeared in just 53 games this season while Jordan Staal has appeared in only 42. Despite the injury plagued season and the record don’t let the ‘Canes fool you. This is a pretty good team with some of the best special teams units in the league.
We know Buffalo will be coming out hard tonight and they’ll battle for every inch, that’s just the make-up of the team and a testament to the players. In order to win they will need to have exceptional goaltending tonight and find the offense that’s been futile as of late, well, for two seasons.
I wouldn’t count on either tonight.
4-1, Carolina is my prediction. Rejoice, the tank is complete.