I figured I would be like everybody else and talk about the schedule. So, for all of the Sabres fans, here is a quick look at the upcoming year.
The Buffalo Sabres will open the regular season on Saturday, October 3rd against Montreal. Buffalo will quickly get to see Jaroslav Spacek back at HSBC arena. The first road game of the season will be the following Saturday when the Sabres take on the Nashville Predators.
As was the case last year, the Sabres will welcome nine western conference opponents to HSBC this season: Phoenix, Detroit, Edmonton, Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, San Jose, Dallas and Minnesota. Buffalo will visit nine western teams as well: Nashville, St.Louis, Phoenix, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Vancouver, Columbus and Detroit.
The longest road trip of the year for the Sabres will be seven games, starting January 14th and lasting through January 25th. It will be their longest continual trip since the 2005-06 season.
The longest home stand of the year is five games from December 3rd to the 11th.
Buffalo's opener against Montreal may spark some memories for the more serious Sabres fans. In the '06-'07 season the Sabres trailed the Canadiens 4-2 with five minutes left in the home opener. After trailing almost the entire game, Buffalo rallied and scored two goals, with Maxim Afinogenov tying the game with 15 seconds left. Thomas Vanek had the game winning goal in the shootout to defeat Montreal 5-4. Buffalo then went on to have a 10 game winning streak; can we hope for the same this year?
The Sabres will host the Sharks this year on February 13th, the exact same day the two teams met last season. In that game, Buffalo blew a three goal lead, but Captain Craig Rivet (a former San Jose Shark) took a shot that Pominville tipped in and tied it with just seconds to go. Buffalo would end up winning the game in a shootout. That date also holds emotional importance in the Buffalo region; In the early morning hours of Feb 13th, the tragic crash of flight 3407 occurred. Look for a moment of silence to be observed at this year's Feb 13th game.
After finishing the past two seasons in 10th place, hopefully the team will improve and give the fans a great season to watch.
Kevin "Cookie Monster" Freiheit