Early afternoon news out of Buffalo could greatly help the Blackhawks as they try to continue a hot streak against Eastern Conference teams to being December. The Sabres will start former Blackhawks’ goaltender Patrick Lalime tonight instead of Ryan Miller.
Miller leads the NHL in goals against average (1.82) and save percentage (.938). But the Sabres had a hard-fought 3-0 win over Washington on Wednesday, and it appears Buffalo will sit Miller out of tonight’s game. The difference between Miller and Lalime will be enormous tonight. Lalime is 0-2-0 with a 4.54 goals against average and a lousy .836 save percentage.
For the Hawks, this will be an interesting return home for Patrick Kane after this summer’s cab scandal. I’m pretty sure the team will be taking care of his transportation to and from this evening’s game, and hopefully Kaner can get back on the board back in Buffalo. The Blackhawks’ leading scorer hasn’t put the puck in the net in eight games, and has watched teammate Dustin Byfuglien catch him with nine goals atop the team leader board.
Also returning to Buffalo is defenseman Brian Campbell, who spent a little time wearing the Sabre sweater. Much like the reception Marian Hossa received in Pittsburgh, Campbell will likely hear it from the northern New Yorkers whenever he touches the puck.
Buffalo comes into Friday night’s game in second place, just one point behind Boston in the Northeast Division. The Sabres are scoring only 2.64 goals per game (20th in the NHL) while allowing 2.21 goals per night (3rd in the NHL). Meanwhile, the Blackhawks are tied with New Jersey for the best goals against averagin the NHL at 2.14, while scoring 2.90 goals per game (11th in the NHL).