Beyond the Boards is written by the Buffalo Sabres Website Manager, Brian Wheeler. Joining the Sabres prior to the 2003-04 season, Wheeler is the main contact and content editor for Sabres.com. He has worked in the NHL, NFL, AHL and NLL over the past 11 years. Click here
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Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff has never been a huge fan of dressing seven defensemen. He will at times move a blueliner to the team's fourth line - see Nathan Paetsch last game - but that's even become more of a rarity since Paetsch took a more full-time role.
|Andrew Peters (photo: Getty Images) |
So with Tim Connolly and Maxim Afinogenov out of action with a pair of groin injuries, Andrew Peters will get the nod tonight and dress in his 34th game of the season. Peters' presence adds an interesting twist to tonight's tilt.
If there's a tussle, who's involved?
Dallas is tied for eighth in the league with 28 major penalties and Steve Ott is always a willing participant. (Note: Buffalo has the second fewest with just 16.)
Ott's one of those guys that will go if he needs to. He'll stand-up for teammates or he'll tap a guy just because he doesn't like the way he's skating around the rink.
You also can't overlook Krystofer Barch, who leads the Stars with nine majors this season.
But who on the Sabres would be their dance partner: Adam Mair, Paul Gaustad, Patrick Kaleta or Peters?
I think the answer depends on who's fighting for Dallas. If it's Barch steps on the ice, look for Peters to counter.
Ott doesn't normally take on heavyweights of Peters' size or strength. He's better matched against a tough middleweight like a Sean Avery or Darcy Tucker.
If Ott is looking for a fight, he'll probably look in the direction of Gaustad or Mair. That's presuming that Kaleta doesn't annoy him first.
With the way Kaleta flies around the rink, he may have to face the Stars gritty center tonight.
Ott dismantled six-foot-one, 201-pound center Ryan Johnson from St. Louis for taking a run at Mike Modano (see video before). He won't hesitate to try to do the same with Kaleta.
This may be the night that Kaleta has to drops the gloves. That's just my gut feeling. We'll see if anything develops....
Steve Ott gets a little payback on Ryan Johnson
George Laraque abuses Krystofer Barch
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