Chicago Blackhawks Vs. Buffalo Sabres
NBCS & CSNC
The Blackhawks return to Chicago to play the Buffalo Sabres after a long and painful road trip. After going 1-4-1 in their last six games, the Blackhawks hope to turn this slump around and give new life in the new year. Key member and Co-leading scorer, Marian Hossa, will be activated tonight after being out with an upper-body injury. Corey Crawford will be in the net for the Blackhawks after letting up 3 goals on 35 shots against the Blues in the Winter Classic.
The Sabres look for their second win in a row after humiliating the Rangers 4-1 on Tuesday night. The Sabres have always had trouble against the Hawks, though, going without a win at the UC in almost 10 years. 10 YEARS? The last time the Sabres beat the Hawks at home the iPhone wasn’t even released! Star player Jack Eichel was only 11 years old! A lot has happened in 10 years but, Similar to Cub fans (pre-world series champions) the Sabres will be saying, “There’s always next year.” Sabres will most likely give Anders Nilsson his second start in 2 games, and Ryan O’Reilly, team captain, will hopefully return if cleared by team medical staff. The player that the Blackhawks need to look out for Kyle Okposo. Okposo is leading in points for the Sabres with 25, and currently, has 11 goals.
Blackhawks Keys To the Game
- Play the entire game – The Blackhawks offense, as of recently, have only played the first 5 minutes of the each game. Scoring a goal within minutes of the opening faceoff, they for some reason shut down immediately after. If the Hawks want to win this game, the Offense needs to show up until the final buzzer sounds.
- Get Hossa Going – Leading scorer Marian Hossa looks to return to tonight’s game and the Hawks are in dire need of some offense. Hossa shares the current lead in Blackhawk goals at 16, and the Blackhawks need big hoss’s hustle mentality if they want to win this game.
- Lay the body & Turn up the heat – The Blackhawks need to be more aggressive without the puck. Younger guys like Hartman and Hinostroza are example players of the aggression play style. Not only does putting their shoulder in the opposing team’s chest take the player out of the play, but it also forces them to make a high-pressure decision which could lead to a turnover.
- Shots – Part of the reason the Blackhawks haven’t been scoring is because they aren’t taking enough shots. After the Winter Classic, they only had 23 shots on goal. That’s nothing. The Blackhawks are forcing passes, looking for the perfect opportunity without testing a goalie. The big goal tonight for the Hawks is to outshoot the Sabres.
Game Lines: Chicago -210 & Spread -1.5 +155
The Blackhawks are favored tonight and being back at the mad house will give the Blackhawks the extra edge. If you are looking to make a guaranteed win, bet on the Hawks. I would say go as far as to bet the spread. I personally think the Hawks will win by more than two tonight with a home crowd.
Probable Lineup (Found on Dailyfaceoff.com)
Panarin – Anisimov – Kane
Abbot – Toews – Hossa
Hartman – Kero – Panik
Desjardins – Rasmussen – Hinostroza
Keith – Van Riemsdyk
Kempny – Seabrook
Forsling – Hjalmarsson