Sabres vs. Flames Preview
CALGARY, ALB (AP) - Struggling to find consistency, the Buffalo Sabres now have to overcome the loss of leading scorer Derek Roy for the rest of the season.
A road-heavy stretch of upcoming games won't make that any easier.
The Sabres begin life without their best forward as they try to win for just the second time in eight away games against the Calgary Flames on Monday night.
According to nhl odds and oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGlobal.com have made the Flames -134 money line favorites for Monday's game against the Bruins. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 73% of more than 312 bets for this game have been placed on the Flames -134.
Buffalo (14-17-4) hasn't managed to win more than two straight all season, and has dropped three of four following Thursday's 4-3 loss to Florida. The Sabres appeared to have the momentum, erasing a three-goal, second-period deficit before Ryan Miller gave up the go-ahead goal with 4:07 remaining in the third.
Losing Roy for the remainder of the season figures to be a far greater blow.
The center, Buffalo's leader with 35 points and second with 10 goals, tore his left quadriceps tendon when he was driven into the boards by the Panthers' Dmitry Kulikov.
Roy finished each of the last three seasons as the Sabres' top scorer, and filling that void appears to be a tall task for a team that is averaging 2.54 goals per game.
Thomas Vanek leads the team with 13 goals and his 25 points are second to Roy. However, the left wing has gone five games without a point and without a goal in six straight - one short of his season high.
Vanek has five goals and five assists in 16 road games, scoring once in the last 11.
The Sabres' offensive problems have been most evident on the road, where they've been outscored 23-11 during a 1-4-2 stretch with the lone victory coming via the shootout at Ottawa on Dec. 4. They've dropped three in a row as the visitor since.
Buffalo has lost four of five at Calgary (15-18-3), but won 2-1 in a shootout at home in the lone matchup last season. Roy scored in regulation and again in the tiebreaker.
While the Sabres adjust to life without Roy, Ryan Miller will likely get a 13th consecutive start and a second chance to win game No. 200.
Miller made 25 saves Thursday, and is 1-5-2 with a 3.22 goals-against average in his last eight road games. He was charged with a 5-2 loss despite making 38 saves in his only start at Scotiabank Saddledome on Jan. 20, 2009.
The Flames return home, where they've won five of seven. However, they lost 3-1 to Minnesota in their most recent game as host on Dec. 18 to start a three-game slide, which saw them held to one goal in each contest.
Alex Tanguay did his part to end that skid Thursday, scoring a goal and getting another in the shootout to power a 3-2 win at Dallas.
"Obviously, this is something we can build on," coach Brent Sutter said. "To come into this building and play as well as we did, it's a plus."
Jarome Iginla, who had an assist in each of the last three games, could benefit from a return to the Saddledome. The Calgary captain has scored nine of his team-leading 14 goals there with seven coming in the last seven games.
Iginla, though, hasn't scored in five games against the Sabres, dating back to a win Oct. 31, 2002.