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A BIG TWO POINTS AT STAKE IN TAMPA

Monday, 03.19.2012 / 1:08 PM
By Kevin Snow - Sabres.com (@kwsnow) / THE MORNING SKATE
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THE MORNING SKATE
A BIG TWO POINTS AT STAKE IN TAMPA

LINEUP NEWS
- No lineup changes for tonight’s game.
- Ryan Miller is expected to get the start in goal; 17-7 all-time vs. TB, 2.74 GAA & .906 save%
- Tyler Myers will serve the final game of his three-game suspension.
- Nathan Gerbe remains day-to-day with an upper body muscle strain.

WHAT THE COACH SAID TODAY
Lindy Ruff (listen to the full audio)
It must feel good to know you got some help in the standings last night?
At this time of year there are nights you get disappointed, and nights when you get pretty excited. Last night was a night where Carolina scores a late goal, and you can relate to the pain. But you can go to bed with a smile on your face knowing those are two big points we can go after tonight, and try to get up the standings.

What’s the biggest challenge you face with the Lightning?
Obviously you point to Stamkos as number one. And I think St. Louis is a big part of what goes on on the ice. But Stamkos has had a heck of a year again, and he’s a guy that can win a game himself. We’ve gotta make sure we don’t let him in behind us. Their power play is still dangerous, and Stamkos can get himself in a position to shoot two or three times each power play.



SCHEDULE BREAKDOWN
Washington – 8th place (78 pts., 36-30-6)
Games Remaining: 10
Next Game: Tonight @ Detroit
Home Games: 5 (WPG, MINN, BUF, MTL, FLA)
Away Games: 5 (DET, PHIL, BOS, TB, NYR)
Back-to-Back Games: 1 (3/22 @ PHIL, 3/23 vs. WPG)
Last Game: April 7 @ NY Rangers

Winnipeg – 9th place (76 pts., 34-30-8)
Games Remaining: 10
Next Game: Tuesday @ Pittsburgh
Home Games: 3 (OTT, NYR, TB)
Away Games: 7 (PHIL, WASH, NASH, CAR, TB, FLA, NYI)
Back-to-Back Games: 2 (3/23 @ WSH, 3/24 @ NSH; 3/30 @ CAR, 3/31 @ TB)
Last Game: April 7 vs. Tampa Bay

Buffalo – 10th place (76 pts., 33-29-10)
Games Remaining: 10
Next Game: Tonight @ Tampa Bay
Home Games: 4 (MTL, MINN, PITT, TOR)
Away Games: 6 (TB, NYR, WASH, TOR, PHIL, BOS)
Back-to-Back Games: 2 (3/23 @ NYR, 3/24 vs. MINN; 3/30 vs. PITT, 3/31 @ TOR)
Last Game: April 7 @ Boston



TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at LIGHTNING
-Fourth and final meeting between the Sabres and Lightning this season.
-Last meeting: Tampa Bay defeated Buffalo, 2-1, in Buffalo on Feb. 11.
-The Sabres are 5-5-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Lightning; 7-3-0 on the road.
-This is the 74th game all-time between Buffalo and Tampa Bay; Buffalo leads the series with a 46-22-5 record. They are 24-9-3 on the road against the Lightning.

STORYLINES
-Buffalo enters the day two points out of a playoff spot after beginning the day on Feb. 17 in 14th place in the Eastern Conference and 10 points out of eighth in the Eastern Conference.
-The Sabres have gotten a point in five of their last six games (3-1-2) and 12 of their last 14 (9-2-4).
-Tampa Bay has beaten Buffalo three times for the second time in franchise history (last: 3-0-1 in 2003-04). The Lightning have never swept the season series against the Sabres.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Andrej Sekera led all Sabres in ice time (24:21) in his first game back after missing five games with pneumonia on Saturday at FLA… Drew Stafford has six points (1+5) in his last three games… Buffalo is 27-3-2 when allowing two or fewer goals and 24-4-4 when scoring three or more… The Sabres have played an NHL-high 21 overtime games, including their last four and five of their last six… Buffalo is 7-9-2 against the Southeast Division this season; Tampa Bay is 7-9-0 against the Northeast.

LEADING THE WAY AGAINST TAMPA BAY
Four Sabres (Boyes, Pominville, Roy, Vanek) average more than a point per game against the Lightning in their careers… Ryan Miller is 17-7-0 all-time against TBL with a 2.74 GAA… Jason Pominville leads all Sabres with 33 career points (14+19) in 26 games against TBL … Thomas Vanek leads the team with 23 goals in only 27 games against TBL, two shy of his career-best 25 against Boston (42 GP).

ENNIS IS ON FIRE
Tyler Ennis has points in each of his last four games (4+3), one game short of his career-best five (Feb. 4 to March 3, 2012). Ennis now has 15 points (7+8) in his last 16 games. The Sabres are 11-1-5 when Ennis records a point this season and 38-9-9 when he tallies a point in his career.


SCHEDULE

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