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YOUNG SABRES READY TO START SEASON

Wednesday, 10.02.2013 / 2:39 PM
By Chris Ryndak - Sabres.com (@chrisryndak) / THE MORNING SKATE
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THE MORNING SKATE
YOUNG SABRES READY TO START SEASON

DETROIT – Opening night is finally here.

The Buffalo Sabres will start their season against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday in the first game of the year for both teams. Faceoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. and the game can be seen nationally on NBCSN.

The match-up will mark the NHL debuts of 19-year-old forward Zemgus Girgensons and 18-year-old defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who is also about to embark on his first professional season in North America. Girgensons was drafted by the Sabres 14th overall in 2012. Ristolainen was Buffalo’s first selection (eighth overall) in this year’s draft.

WATCH: ZEMGUS GIRGENSONS INTERVIEW

They aren’t the only young faces in the lineup against Detroit.

Defenseman Mark Pysyk, the 2010 first-round pick (23rd overall) who played 19 games with the Sabres last season, center Mikhail Grigorenko, a veteran of 25 NHL games at 19 years old, and Brian Flynn, who played 26 games for Buffalo in his first pro season last year, will also suit up.

“We have three teenagers in our lineup tonight, so I think what really stands out for those guys is just how prepared they are in terms of every day, getting to the rink, the maturity that they have about their game and what they bring to the rink,” Sabres coach Ron Rolston said after the morning skate at Joe Louis Arena. “I’m sure there’s going to be growing pains with all those young players, but the one thing that we do know is they’re going to be prepared and they’re going to continue to prepare and they’re going to continue to get better.”

Only six players on the current roster have celebrated their 30th birthdays. Three players – Girgensons, Ristolainen and Grigorenko – have yet to turn 20. Rolston said that he will look to the veterans to show the less experienced players the way.

“They have to set the tone for our team and that starts with the work and the effort that they’re putting and just being able to help our younger players continue to develop,” Rolston said. “In situations like this, be examples for our younger guys so they know how to follow and make sure they’re getting prepared too. With a younger team, there’s a lot of onus on obviously the coaching staff, but also those veterans to really help those guys come along.”

WATCH: RASMUS RISTOLAINEN INTERVIEW

Co-captain Thomas Vanek, who will serve as an alternate Wednesday night, said that having the season opener against a team like the Red Wings will serve as a good measuring stick for his club.

“For us, it’s a good challenge right off the bat to see where we’re at and where we need to improve,” he said.

Ryan Miller will start in goal for Buffalo. Johan Larsson, John Scott and Jamie McBain will be healthy scratches.


26 Thomas Vanek – 19 Cody Hodgson – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 63 Tyler Ennis – 23 Ville Leino
28 Zemgus Girgensons – 25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 65 Brian Flynn
12 Kevin Porter – 8 Cody McCormick – 36 Patrick Kaleta

20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
10 Christian Ehrhoff – 3 Mark Pysyk
6 Mike Weber – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen

30 Ryan Miller 1 Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: 4 Jamie McBain, 22 Johan Larsson, 32 John Scott
Injured: 33 Joel Armia (broken hand), 61 Nikita Zadorov, 78 Corey Tropp (broken jaw), 82 Marcus Foligno (upper-body strain)

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82