Gamenight preview: Sabres at Coyotes

Posted on January 18, 2010 by Patrick Moran

The Buffalo Sabres have headed west for their third stop on a season long seven-game road trip.  After picking up three of a possible four points in their first two contests, Buffalo takes the ice in Phoenix tonight for a clash with the Coyotes.

It’s the second and final meeting between the clubs this year.  Buffalo won the first meeting 2-1 back on October 9 at the HSBC Arena.

As has been the case most of the season the Sabres remain hot. They’ve picked up at least a point in 10 consecutive games and have opened up a double-digit lead over Boston in the Northeast division.

Ryan Miller continues to not only run away with the Vezina but is headed towards heavy consideration for the Hart Trophy.  The Sabres netminder is leading the league with a 2.01 goals against average— impressive enough, but has been even better on the road.  He’s 12-4-1 with a 1.86 goals against average on opposing ice and is showing no sign of wear and tear.

Tim Connolly continues to ride a hot streak of his own.  He has a point in 11 straight games and 16 during the streak, the longest streak this season in the league.

Phoenix is playing at home for the fifth of their six-game home stand.  They lost their first two before impressive wins against New Jersey and Minnesota.  At 61 points they stand tied for fourth in the Western conference with Nashville.

Much like the Sabres, Phoenix boasts a lineup of balanced scoring.   Shane Doan leads the club but has just 30 points.  Radim Vrata paces the Coyotes with 15 goals.

Former Sabre Taylor Pratt is on the Phoenix roster and has 12 points in 42 games.  His plus-nine rating is tied for fourth-best on the team.

Connolly continues to lead the Sabres with 39 points while Derek Roy has 34.  Thomas Vanek and Drew Stafford share the team lead with 12 goals.

Don’t expect the lamp to be lit often in this affair.  Buffalo is third in the NHL, allowing just 2.22 goals per game while Phoenix ranks seventh at 2.41.

After tonight’s game the Sabres take a three game swing through the state of California with stops in Anaheim Tuesday night, Los Angeles on Thursday and San Jose Saturday.

They wrap up the trip with a game in Vancouver next Monday before finally returning home to face the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday January 27.

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