Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- Welcome back for another season inside of the Ted Darling Memorial Press Box. As long as it has been, it does just seem like yesterday when we dropped the curtain on the lockout-shortened 2013 NHL season. But here we are again as the Buffalo Sabres make their home preseason debut tonight. The team has gone 2-0 thus far, and welcome the Carolina Hurricanes into the First Niagara Center.
Ryan Miller is still between the pipes for the blue and gold, and head coach Ron Rolston told our Paul Hamilton that Miller will go the full sixty minutes tonight. Matt Hackett will be the backup on the bench. As is the case with the inflated preseason rosters, many of the young prospects will see the ice in front of the home town fans. Nakita Zadorov and Johan Larsson are two, and they will join former first round Joel Armia in the lineup. For more from the morning skate, click here for Paul Hamilton's pregame primer.
Just like in the regular season, you can comment throughout the game in the thread below, and I will add my two cents in between the scoring plays. And be sure to give me a follow on Twitter: @PatWGR and do the same for intermission and postgame host Brian Koziol: @BrianWGR.
15:58 - Zadorov gets the fans out of their seats momentarily for standing a 'Canes forward up around the goal line. Rasmus Ristolainen may have a better chance of making the opening night roster, but Zadorov will get valuable experience by skating in these preseason games and can take it back to Juniors with him. It is a big if, but if the Sabres' draft picks pan out, it could be a very tough blue line to get through for many years to come. That includes the players already here, also.
13:59 - Does not matter who wears the number 44, 2-on-1's are always an adventure. Andrej Sekera used to wear that uniform number for Buffalo, but this preseason Brayden McNabb is wearing it with Sekera now in Carolina.
11:00 - Not the prettiest of penalty kills by Buffalo, but Brian Flynn served all of his two-minute minor and the score is still 0-0 here in the first. A couple fluky bounces went the blue and gold's way that helped out Miller as well.
6:02 - Johan Larsson with a nice play in the offensive zone while on the penalty kill. Anton Khudobin had a heck of a time playing the puck in his own zone and Larsson nearly stuffed the puck home. Good PK for Buffalo this time around.
4:15 - HURRICANES GOAL. Zach Boychuk takes advantage of some soft defensive zone play and wires a wrist shot past Ryan Miller for the game's first goal. A nice pass out of the far-side corner by Patrick Dwyer. 1-0 CAR.
End of Period
CAR: 15:45 - Zach Boychuk (1) (Patrick Dwyer, Radek Dvorak)
BUF: 6:21 - Brian Flynn (2 min., hooking). 13:25 - Colton Gillies (2min., interference)
Shots on Goal
CAR - 19, BUF - 8
16:38 - The Hurricanes are one of a couple of teams that has changed, and simplified their uniforms starting the 2013-14 season. Gone are the hurricane flag waist border, and it is replaced by alternating black and red lines around the waist. Same for the shoulders where it is a simple red coloring. The logo has not changed, and is still on the front of the uniform. It looks a bit like a Team Canada jersey from where we sit in the press box.
11:13 - Buffalo has just four shots on goal this period, and 12 overall in the game. By contrast, the 'Canes had 19 in the first and 5 so far this stanza. Some things never change.
9:21 - SABRES GOAL. Joel Armia welcomes himself to the hometown fans by stripping Anton Khubobin of the puck and sliding it across the goal line. That is the second time that the netminder has been stripped of the puck this game. 1-1 tie.
7:19 - HURRICANES GOAL. Another piece of shoddy defense by Buffalo in front of Miller has cost them a goal. This time Radek Dvorak passed the puck to the front of the net, and Chris Terry one-timed the chance home. That HAS to be cleaned up, or it will be another achilles heel of this team. 2-1 CAR.
1:07 - SABRES GOAL. Brayden McNabb took a very good low-lying wrist shot from the point with two Sabres in front of the net and Johan Larsson appeared to tip the puck home to tie the game. That line deserved the score. 2-2 tie.
End of Period
BUF: 10:39 - Joel Armia (1) (unassisted). 18:36 - Johan Larsson (1) (Brayden McNabb, Ville Leino).
CAR: 12:41 - Chris Terry (1) (Radek Dvorak).
BUF: 6:03 - Luke Adam (2min., tripping). 13:40 - Cody Hodgson (2 min., slashing).
CAR: Brett Bellmore (2 min., roughing).
Shots on Goal
CAR - 8 (27), BUF - 12 (20)
11:41 - Sorry, we have had some "technical difficulties" with the wifi this period. Just a ho-hum stanza to this point with nothing really going on. Shots are 5-1 Carolina and neither team has had a good chance on goal.
9:57 - Tyler Myers has been very active with the puck tonight, and it has nearly paid off for the team. Just moments ago the big rear guard drove the puck into the offensive zone and created a chance while circling the net. That is what he is going to have to do, with confidence, in the regular season to get back to his rookie form.
5:26 - SABRES GOAL. Cody Hodgson is able to tip home a one-time pass from one side of the ice to the other. Great vision and hands by Thomas Vanek to find the center cutting on the other side. 3-2 BUF.
4:52 - SABRES GOAL. A good faceoff win by the Sabres in the offensive zone leads to a one-time goal by Brayden McNabb. We can get into a faceoff discussion during the regular season, but that should seal the deal. 4-2 BUF.
2:09 - SABRES GOAL. WOW. Simply wow on the one-time bomb from Brayden McNabb at the point to make this game a Buffalo win. 5-2 BUF.
End of Game
BUF: 14:12 - Cody Hodgson (1) (Thomas Vanek, Joel Armia). 15:08 - Johan Larsson (1) (Brayden McNabb). 17:51 - Brayden McNabb (1) (unassisted).
BUF: 10:15 - Nakita Zadorov (2 min., roughing)
Shots on Goal
CAR - 9 (36), BUF - 9 (29)