Renewing playoff hate is something the Flyers and Sabres don’t mind doing and they’ll get it on againt tonight in Buffalo (7:30 p.m. ET on Versus).
When they met the last time back in early November, Ryan Miller lasted less than seven minutes giving up three goals and taking the loss, recreating an eerie replica of the Sabres’ Game 7 loss to Philly in last year’s playoffs.
This time around, Miller hopes he got the cobwebs out against Nashville on Monday in the Sabres 3-2 win to hold off the high-scoring Flyers. Claude Giroux has been Mr. Everything for Philly and is starting to draw comparisons to Sidney Crosby. Seriously, he is. Giroux is near the top of the league leaderboard for scoring and his line, when healthy, of Scott Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr is dynamic.
The Sabres are still dealing with a handful of injury problems but things are slowly returning to normal. What the Sabres do need are a string of wins. Being losers more often than not lately, getting Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville to pour in the goals will be key against the always entertaining goaltending of Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky.
Two young stars to watch: Philly’s Matt Read and Buffalo’s Luke Adam. In a year dominated by Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Read and Adam have been beyond outstanding and could wind up being Calder finalists with the Nuge.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.