One day after Terry Pegula’s emotional introductory press conference as the new owner of the Buffalo Sabres, the team is set to return to the ice for a meeting with the Atlanta Thrashers tonight at HSBC Arena, where the excitement from Tuesday’s events is expected to carry over.
“I think it’s going to be at just an all-time high for tonight,” Head Coach Lindy Ruff said of the intensity level he anticipates in the Arena tonight as the Sabres look to end a three-game losing streak. “That’s just my read on it, so I’m excited. I can’t wait to get in the building tonight.”
“I think everybody’s excited,” said Jason Pominville
, who scored Buffalo’s lone goal in Sunday’s loss to Washington. “Yesterday was a big day for the Pegula family, for the organization, for the fans, the city, I mean everybody’s excited about it. The players are. We’re playing against a team that is right there with us, it’s one of those four-point games, so the excitement definitely should be there.”
The Sabres (27-25-6) and Thrashers (25-25-10) are tied in the standings with 60 points apiece, although Buffalo has two games in hand.
“This game has a lot like a playoff feel to it,” said Ruff. “They’re desperate for a win, we’re desperate for a win. We know we need to play well. We need to play a lot better. We had a great day yesterday and hopefully all that focus goes into tonight’s game.”2/23 - Lindy Ruff Pregame
Ruff said the group of six defensemen will remain the same as they were for Sunday’s game against Washington, meaning Chris Butler will be in for Andrej Sekera
on the blue line again. Ruff also touched on a few changes among the forward lines, including flipping Thomas Vanek
to right wing and matching Pominville with Tim Connolly and Drew Stafford