LBC GameDay Caterwaul: Sabres at Panthers
Game 16: With desperate but imperfect win Tuesday, Cats settle into Eastern Conference mode as long in-state stretch continues.
Buffalo Sabres (7-8 14P) vs Florida Panthers (6-6-3 15P)
- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. ET - LBC GameThread right here at 7ish
- WHERE: BB&T Center - Miami Ft. Lauderdale Sunrise, FL
- Tickets: Single-game via the club/
- ON THE TUBE: FOX Sports Florida, MSG-B, BELL-TV
- ON THE DIAL: 560 WQAM, 640 WMEN, 107.9 WAXE, 97.7 The Wave, Panthers Official App (iOS, Android)
- SOCIALLY SPEAKING: #FlaPanthers, #Sabres, #BUFvsFLA & if you're feeling generous give us a follow @LitterBoxCats and toss us a "Like" at the LBC FaceBook page
- ENEMY INTEL: Die By The Blade /
- FLA IN SEASON SERIES: Game 2 of 4 (1-0)
- ALL-TIME vs BUF: 35W-38L-4T 5OTL 2SOL 203GF 237GA
- ALL-TIME vs BUF at FLA: 20W-17L-1T 1OTL 2SOL 111GF 115GA
- LAST FIVE vs BUF: 4-0-1 14GF 9GA/
- PROJECTED STARTERS: Luongo (4-5-2 .928/2.36 0SO), Johnson (4-6 .896/2.75 0SO)
- JAGR WATCH: All-time vs BUF (reg season): 84GP 44G-57A 101P 4GWG
- PLAYER STATS: Florida / Buffalo /
- NOTES: Some cool stuff here from forward Nick Bjugstad. Not to be outdone, fellow forward Derek MacKenzie wins the internet with a long-awaited Tragically Hip up-vote. Rookie sensation Jack Eichel (6G-3A 9P) gets the attention, but Ryan O'Reilly leads the surprising Sabres with 4G-9A 13P; both have 15 appearances on the season. Buffalo is 1-1 against the Lightning in recent days, sporting matching - or reversed? - 4-1 scores over the past week; Florida plays TB (with a somewhat underwhelming 7-8-2 record as of this morning) on Saturday night. C Aleksander Barkov (hand) remains out of the lineup but recently resumed skating in an official capacity and appears on-track for a return to action within a few weeks, as initially projected.
"We have some tough tests ahead, and we need to play better if we want to win. We didn’t play our best hockey (against Calgary Tuesday, resulting in a long postgame closed-door meeting following the victory), and fortunately, we didn’t pay for it. Different circumstances, and we probably don’t win. We’re happy with the win, no doubt, but we need to be better."
- Florida netminder Roberto Luongo via the Miami Herald on Wednesday.
Last game for the Cats: 4-3 (reg) victory over Calgary Tuesday from Sunrise. Past five: 1-2-2 10GF 17GA (streak: 1W)
Last game for the Sabres: 4-1 win over the Bolts in Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Past five: 4-1 13GF 9GA (streak: 2W)
A win Thursday will put Buffalo at .500 for the first time since the final game of the 2013 season (21-21-6). The Sabres have won four of five for the first time since Dec. 2014. "There's pretty big significance in it," coach Dan Bylsma told the Sabres website. "I don't want to talk about big games in November, but it is a big opportunity for us to get a win on the road and get back to .500." (More on both clubs)
Thursday in the Atlantic Division (Standings / Panthers Playoff Chances):
- Colorado (5-9-1 11P) at BOSTON (7-6-1 15P), 7:00
- Vancouver (7-4-5 19P) at OTTAWA (7-5-3 17P), 7:30
- Calgary (5-10-1 11P) at TAMPA BAY (7-8-2 16P), 7:30
- TORONTO (3-8-4 10P) at Nashville (9-3-2 20P), 8:00
- Idle: MON (13-2-2 28P), DET (8-6-1 17P)/
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