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NHL on NBCSN: Embarrassed Sabres seek redemption vs Lightning

Oct 8, 2013, 8:37 AM EDT

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 5: Chuck Kobasew #12 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his goal in front of Jhonas Enroth #1 of the Buffalo Sabres and Rasmus Ristolainen #55 on October 5, 2013 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Buffalo Sabres host the Tampa Bay Lightning at the First Niagara Center at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

No one expected big things out of the Buffalo Sabres this season, but they can’t be this bad. The fact that they started the season 0-3-0 isn’t shocking, but scoring just two goals in three games?

While forward Cody Hodgson is questionable for Tuesday’s contest, they still have Thomas Vanek and Tyler Ennis, and a very promising 19-year-old prospect in Mikhail Grigorenko. On paper their lineup isn’t the stuff that keeps opposing goaltenders up at night, but they can’t be taken lightly either, especially after three rough outings to start the season.

This is a team that will be eager to prove those that have already written them off wrong. A team like the Tampa Bay Lightning needs to be especially careful.

Related: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $4,000 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Tuesday). It’s $25 to join and first prize is $1,000. Starts at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the link.

Tampa Bay entered this season with a questionable defense and a pair of goaltenders that are promising, but still largely inexperienced. Although the Lightning have only given up five goals in their first two games, this might be a good team for Buffalo to face in the midst of an early offensive slump.

If so, this could turn into a high scoring affair as there’s a chance the Sabres will be without goaltender Ryan Miller tonight. Jhonas Enroth isn’t a bad alternative, but the 25-year-old would have his hands full with Martin St Louis and Steven Stamkos.

The Lightning are off to a decent 1-1-0 start, especially when you consider that they started the season on the road and against the two teams that faced off in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Going into the campaign expectations were more mixed than bad for the Lightning despite the fact that they were even worse than the Sabres in the shortened campaign.

There certainly is enough talent in Tampa Bay to make them interesting, provided that the netminding duo of Anders Lindback and Ben Bishop works out. More to the point, this might be a critical season for Lightning GM Steve Yzerman. He was offered a vote of confidence last month, but feelings towards him might sour if the Lightning don’t make significant progress in 2013-14.

Making the playoffs will be a very difficult task and while it’s just October, these are the types of games the Lightning need to win to make their path to the postseason more feasible come April.

  1. pxland - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    How are we lucky enough to get two nationally televised sabres games in the first week of the season?

    • mehetmet - Oct 8, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      owner has deep pockets

    • ctcork - Oct 8, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      As a Lightning fan I’m happy to see us on national televison (though I DO love our local, biased announcers) but I have to wonder why this is the game where we’re featured. We just played the Bruins and Hawks, both Pittsburgh and LA are coming to the forum next week, and we play Boston and Chicago again the week after. But hey, the country is more interested in watching us play the Sabres and then the Devils at the end of the month, right?

  2. dropthepuckeh - Oct 8, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    I wish we could see the Canucks/Devils game here in the states but I appreciate we have any out-of-mkt games on tv at all. No, I am not paying for NHL Gamecenter. I tried it last year and besides being horribly over priced, it never worked and the games I wanted were always blacked out…..

  3. bullwinkle88 - Oct 8, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    I will be beating this drum the entire season: The Sabres should have taken Nichushkin in the draft. They have no scorers, and 434,643 defensemen! BIG BLUNDER!

  4. rkdjr - Oct 8, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    Hey it’s better than what we saw this time last year….we have the sox in the playoffs and I’d still rather watch the Bruins

  5. hosewater2 - Oct 8, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    NBCSN continues to save me money I would have spent on upgrading my TV package with their atrocious game selection.

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