The Sabres seem to be slipping farther and farther into a coma on home ice. They managed to squander a 3-0 lead on Wednesday after taking every bit of momentum from the Flyers over the first 19:58.
Many point to the general lack of mental toughness on the Sabres roster. Although that is a difficult weakness to pinpoint, per say, many recent events point to anything but mental toughness as a major flaw with the roster. How that can be addressed is also a difficult task. A coaching change may yield some positive results, but eventually the same players will fall back to the same practices. While completely blowing up the team is out of the question, some transactions may prove effective.
Without turning a pregame story into a Steigerwaldian rumor-fest, some change is necessary on this roster. They proved that to be true on Wednesday and another loss tonight would push the needle further into the red.
Florida comes in tonight on the second half of a back-to-back set, they are not the same Panthers form years past. The two teams have split the season series thus far, but the Panthers are within striking distance of the top spot in the East. In fact, a win tonight would vault them to first place.
The Sabres, still clawing away in the sixth through ninth party, desperately need a good showing for themselves, the fans and their position in the standings. Buffalo has been lucky not to sink too far despite their inability to string together victories, they need to start a run of their own and it needs to start soon.
Special teams. Florida has gotten major contributions from Stephen Weiss and Brian Campbell this season. Both were somewhat afterthoughts in recent years, but have come on with increased minutes this season. Kevin Dineen has the Panthers power play clicking and the Sabres will need ot win the special teams battle in order to take two points.
BUF: Ryan Miller 13GP 6-6-1, 2.96 GAA, .907 SV%
FLA: Scott Clemmensen 3GP 3-0-0, 2.33 GAA, .916 SV%