Buffalo Sabres vs Phoenix Coyotes preview: revenge for the butt goal!

Jen Fuller

The Coyotes are looking to get two points against a Sabres team that has struggled for the entire season and redeem themselves after an embarrassing trip to Buffalo earlier this season.

The last time these two teams met in Buffalo, the Sabres managed to walk away with the second point thanks to a late goal in the 3rd period and a fluke goal in overtime which got them the game winner. The Coyotes are looking for revenge for what may have been the most embarrassing moment in Coyotes history, the infamous butt-goal.

Matchup at a Glance


Buffalo Sabres

Phoenix Coyotes

Points

36 (30th in the NHL)

60 (9th in the Western Conference)

Goals Per Game

30th (1.83)

10th (2.83)

Goals Against Per Game

19th (2.85)

24th (2.94)

Power Play Percentage

26th (14.1%)

9th (20.2%)

Penalty Kill Percentage

14th (82.1%)

21st (79.8%)

Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres are in the beginning of a rebuild this season, and as such they have a lot of players who they need to develop, a lot of players who are just terrible, and a few good players like Ryan Miller and Matt Moulson. They are a team that can somehow take the Capitals to overtime in the second game of a back-to-back, but lose 4-3 to the Florida Panthers in regulation. Even though they are terrible they will make a team earn their two points.

Tonight will be the 13th game in January for the Buffalo Sabres, and during that stretch the Sabres have a 3-5-4 record. Although they haven't been good, there are some silver linings, especially lately. They have scored at least three goals in six of their past eight games, which could be a sign that they are getting their offense going.

Phoenix Coyotes

The Coyotes are still deep in the hunt for a Western Conference playoff spot and a win against the LA Kings on Tuesday helps them stay in the hunt. In order to keep in the race they need to get points, especially against teams in the lower half of the standings -- the teams they are supposed to beat.

Against the Kings, the Coyotes won because they played a complete game. They scored first, they kept up the pressure and didn't fall too far back into a defensive shell, they kept the Kings from getting good scoring chances, they scored on the power play and they were perfect on the penalty kill. That may sound like a lot of things, but it takes a lot to play a complete "Coyotes' hockey" game.

Keys to the Game

Score first. The Coyotes played well in their past game and part of that was starting the game on the right foot and scoring first. It is so much easier for a team to play if they aren't chasing the game, and the Coyotes need to find a way to do that consistently.

Control the play, don't let up. During the last game the Yotes managed to do this, they pretty much controlled the play for the entirety of the game, at no point did the Sabres have more shot attempts then the Coyotes and they really only managed to win because of dumb luck. If the Coyotes play like that again, they should be fine.

Win. At this point the Coyotes need points to move up in the standings, and the best way to do that is to walk out of this with two points. Buffalo isn't in the same conference so it doesn't matter if those points come in regulation, overtime, or shootout, they just need two points.

Players to Watch


Cody Hodgson

#19 / Center / Buffalo Sabres

6-0

194

Feb 18, 1990



G A P +/- PIM
2013 - Cody Hodgson 14 15 29 -14 12

Cody Hodgson leads the Sabres in points and goals, he has points in three of the past four games including a two-goal night against the Capitals.


Oliver Ekman-Larsson

#23 / Defenseman / Phoenix Coyotes

6-2

190

Jul 17, 1991



G A P +/- PIM
2013 - Oliver Ekman-Larsson 8 20 28 3 34

Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a great game on Tuesday, scoring two goals the first of which ultimately ended up being the game winning goal. While he has been great on defense, he may hopefully be heating up on offense which could be dangerous for the other teams.

Likely Starting Goaltenders


Ryan Miller

#30 / Goalie / Buffalo Sabres

6-2

175

Jul 17, 1980



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013 - Ryan Miller 36 2164 13 20 94 2.61 1272 1178 .926 0

Ryan Miller is one of the best goaltenders in the NHL right now and he is one of the reasons that the Sabres have as many points as they do. The Coyotes are going to need a way to beat the US Olympic goaltender.


Thomas Greiss

#1 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes

6-1

215

Jan 29, 1986



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013 - Thomas Greiss 13 631 7 3 21 2.00 324 303 .935 2

Thomas Greiss earned a shutout against the Kings and earned a start against the last place Sabres. While LA is a good team that has been playing badly, Buffalo is a bad team that has been playing better. The Coyotes hope his play can continue.

Injury Report

For Buffalo, Drew Stafford, Cody McCormick and Matt D'Agostini are all listed as injured.

As of right now , the Coyotes players are healthy and ready to play.

Puck Drop

The game starts at 7 p.m. at Jobing.com Arena and it will be another Student Rush/Military Appreciation night, so if you have a military or student ID you can get some great seats at the door. The game will be shown on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and can be heard on KMVP 860 AM.

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