The first installment of The QEW rivalry has come a bit late this season. However, the return of Tim Connolly – a healthy Tim Connolly – and a happy Tweeting Joffery Lupul have stoked the fire a bit.
Lupul peeved many in Buffalo with his Tweet from last night. The obvious grammatical error aside, Lupul’s Tweet was reminiscent of comments made by Emerson Etem around this time last year. A bigger deal was made from the winger’s opinion than what really matters. Frankly, downtown Buffalo leaves quite a bit to be desired compared to most cities. Buffalo isn’t even in the same league as Toronto in terms of entertainment and attractions. Buffalonians have a lot of pride, it is noble that everyone stood up for the town after Lupul’s Tweet. Still, there are far too many improvements to be made downtown before anyone can truly say Lupul was out of line.
The return of Connolly is slightly more interesting regarding this evening’s game. Connolly has missed quite a bit of time already but is close to a point-per-game pace. The trade-off Buffalo followed through with between Connolly and Ville Leino is under the microscope thanks to the production of each forward. While it is unfortunate that Connolly is having a solid run compared to Leino, to think that Connolly’s play in Buffalo would have changed one iota is silly. Connolly’s act – like many other Sabres’ – grew stale at the end of his run here. Connolly will receive a hearty number of boos this evening and it should make things a bit more interesting.
The Sabres need a strong showing. Not one aspect of the game will be more important for Buffalo tonight. They have yet to put in a 60 minute effort at home and desperately need to right the ship. As the injury keeps rolling through the Sabres’ locker room, Buffalo will need to continue to find a way to create offense and win games. Their slide out of playoff position needs to be halted and a win against their biggest rival is the best place to start.
BUF: Ryan Miller 15Gp 7-6-2, 2.81 GAA, .912 SV%
TOR: James Reimer 10GP 5-2-2, 2.75 GAA, .900 SV%