On Tuesday, most of you got your Flyers fix after two weeks off due to the Olympic break. Sadly I missed that one, but on a more positive note, I missed the next one too. ("Nationally televised" on Versus doesn't usually apply to hotels nor many bars, and I've been out of town for a week, so tonight's action will be the first I've seen in a while.)
Two games into the post-Olympic season, "1-1-0 and head-scratchingly weak on team defense and goaltending" isn't the start we were hoping for. It won't be any easier tonight against Captain America, Ryan Miller, to whom we owe some respect and acknowledgment...
Ryan Miller~Buffalo Sabres Dec 30 '06 game Atlanta, originally uploaded by Shelley K.
...before giving way to the desire to see him either not get the start or otherwise get scored upon repeatedly.
Fortunately, the Sabres haven't come out of the Olympic gates on fire either, losing their first two games since the break. Unfortunately, they didn't lose them to teams from Florida, instead dropping back-to-back contests to the defending champion Penguins (ugh) and the NHL-leading Capitals on Tuesday and Wednesday, 3-2 and 3-1, respectively. Those are the kinds of losses that motivate good teams, and the Sabres are definitely that.
It's not too early to start counting point-swings in the standings (full disclosure: we've been leaning on that little crutch all season, while saying it's too early to do so), and the Sabres are directly ahead of the Flyers in the East. Six points separate the teams, and the Flyers need to start closing that gap rather than the four points that stand between them and the ninth seed.
As far as the roster is concerned, Frank Seravelli of the Daily News reports that Michael Leighton will return to the crease after Brian Boucher out-awful'd him to steal the loss on Wednesday. Darroll Power Wheels will be out again, replaced by Ville Leino, who is on pace for 21 goals as a Flyer if he stays in the lineup. Leino will skate with Carter and Briere.