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Buffalo Sabres At Atlanta Thrashers: Thrashers Riding High, Sabres Struggling

The last time the Sabres visited the Atlanta Thrashers, it was after the US Men's Olympic team's incredible run. Ryan Miller promptly got a large ovation from the crowd at Philips in appreciation of what that team accomplished... and then the Thrashers chased him by scoring three goals on five shots in just under six minutes.  The Sabres have not had the best of luck against the Thrashers in recent times. Since the game on January 18 of 2008 that the Thrashers lost 10-1, Atlanta has not lost in regulation to the Buffalo Sabres. They've taken a total of eighteen of a possible twenty four points from Buffalo over the past three seasons. Frankly, this match-up has the potential to be a major rivalry year in and year out, but few notice outside of the HSBC Center and Philips Arena. The games are consistently hard fought, and the fans have the potential to get fairly cut-throat with the in-game heckling.

It makes for some exciting hockey, albiet something that Thrashers fans are happy to get out of the way early this year (Buffalo returns to Philips next  Friday, October 29th, for their last appearance this season).

Thrashers defenseman Zach Bogosian isn't being rushed back to play anytime soon, so defensive pairings and line combinations will be similar to what was iced Saturday in San Jose and Friday in Anaheim. Ondrej Pavelec has been cleared to practice but not cleared to play, and there's no time-table for his return.

The Thrashers need to keep their eyes peeled for forward Derek Roy, who was responsible for the game winning goals in the Sabres two overtime wins last season. Also, Drew Stafford has two goals and five points in five games for the Sabres. Scoring threat Jason Pominville is also out after suffering a concussion during Buffalo's 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on October 11th.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.