Share this article

print logo

Sabres vs. Blackhawks: Five Things to Know

CHICAGO -- The Columbus Blue Jackets are trying to tie the NHL record tonight by earning their 17th straight win. The Buffalo Sabres? They'd like to simply win two in a row, something they've only done once over their last 15 games.

But it's going to be no small task to beat the Chicago Blackhawks in the United Center, something Buffalo hasn't done since 2007. Here are five things to know about tonight's game:

1. On the air: It's once again an NBC Sports Network game, with Kenny Albert and Brian Boucher on the call for faceoff shortly after 8:30. Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray will do a radio-only call on WGR. Albert and Boucher were at the mic for Tuesday's win in New York as well.

2. In the nets: After stopping 24 of 25 shots Tuesday in New York, including a couple in the first period when he was still protecting a one-goal lead, coach Dan Bylsma announced Anders Nilsson (6-3-3/2.35/.928) is getting his second straight start in goal tonight and will face Blackhawks No. 1 man Corey Crawford (13-8-3/2.31/.927).

Bylsma also said that Robin Lehner is a little banged up, so the decision is not solely about Nilsson winning his last start and having a much better record than Lehner's 8-12-5 mark.

"Same with a number of players. It's not something that would keep him out of the lineup," Bylsma said of Lehner. "He's had some bumps and bruises the last few games he's played. Both things go into the decision but Anders getting the win in New York and playing well, he's going to get the opportunity again tonight."

3. Other lineup notes: Bylsma said William Carrier (flu) will sit tonight to allow Ryan O'Reilly to return from his appendectomy. After an optional skate this morning the rest of the lineup, notably the defense pairs, will be a game-time decision. The Hawks will get Marian Hossa back after missing five games.

Former Sabre Brian Campbell, now 37, is a healthy scratch for the second time in four games for the Hawks after he had played 423 consecutive NHL games. He has three goals and seven assists in 39 games this year.

"It's obviously a little different," said Campbell, who was minus-2 Monday in the Winter Classic loss at St. Louis. "But I'm still enjoying it, still having fun. That's the main thing. Go out there, work hard and be ready. I still feel like I've got a lot left with me."

4. The Kane Chronicles: South Buffalo native Patrick Kane has 11 goals and 26 assists this season but just one goal in his last six games.

"Obviously playing the Sabres tonight, you're going to be excited about playing the hometown team," Kane said today. "We've been running a little dry as of late (1-4-1 in the last six). It's an important game for us and we know they're coming off a big win in New York so they have a little bit of confidence and want to make this a great trip too. "

5. Other numbers: The Sabres are 0-8-1 in their last nine games against the Hawks and have dropped six straight at United Center, all in regulation, since a 2-1 win here on Jan. 10, 2007. The Sabres are 6-3-1 this year against the West, and have won three straight games. They are just 8-12-7 against the East. Chicago is 8-4-2 against the East and 15-8-3 against the West.

There are no comments - be the first to comment