A preview of the Sabres.
(Yeah, we'll use any excuse to use a Winter Classic photo. So what?)
Leading Scorer: Thomas Vanek (above), 20 points (15 goals, 5 assists).
Last Game: 3-2 home win against the Bruins Wednesday.
Last Game against the Penguins: 5-2 road loss Nov. 15. Evgeni Malkin had a goal and three assists while Jordan Staal had two goals.
Sabres Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Derek Roy. He has three goals in his last two games.
Ex-Penguins: Patrick Lalime.
Ex-Sabres on the Penguins: Philippe Boucher, D; Miroslav Satan, RW; Andre Savard, assistant coach.
Useless Sabres Trivia: Sabres coach Lindy Ruff is one of give current NHL coaches to have played for the team he is coaching. The others are Montreal's Guy Carbonneau, Edmonton's Craig MacTavish, Philadelphia's John Stevens and Toronto's Ron Wilson.
Best Sabres YouTube Video We Could Find: During the 1980 playoffs, Ruff, then a defenseman for the Sabres, attacked Islanders goaltender Billy Smith for jabbing him in the face with the butt end of his stick:
-Vanek is expected to be in the lineup despite dealing with a "lower-body" injury. Forward Ales Kotalik is expected to miss the game due to a hamstring injury.
-No live blog tonight. We're stuck in the office. We'll have a recap up for the morning.
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-Matt Cooke, Tyler Kennedy and Jordan Staal have managed avoid Michel Therrien's meddling ways.
-What are the long-term plans for Kennedy and Maxime Talbot?
-Rob Scuderi is eighth in blocked shots among defensemen.
-The Pensblog spotted the video of John Curry getting creamed after Wednesday's game:
-Maxime Talbot watching his handiwork:
-The AHL Penguins are hoping to rebound after a poor game Wednesday.
-Devils forward Barry Tallackson is thankful for his health.
-New Jersey is starting to believe it can win without Martin Brodeur.
-After blowing a 3-0 lead to the Penguins Wednesday, things don't get easier for the Islanders with a trip to Boston today.
-Islanders management throught so much of goon Mitch Fritz's fight with the Penguins' Eric Godard, they sent him to Bridgeport of the AHL. Actually forward Nate Thompson was activated from injured reserve and Fritz was demoted to make room on the roster.
-Rangers forward and former Penguin Markus Naslund is beginning to mesh with forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Nikolai Zherdev.
-Shootout goals from Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza gave the Senators a 2-1 win against the rival Maple Leafs.
-Check out this hit Toronto rookie defenseman Luke Schenn stuck on Ottawa forward Antoine Vermette:
-Ottawa put defenseman Luke Richardson on waivers.
-Senators forward Dean McAmmond might've single-handedly dispelled the myth of hockey players being tough.
-The Canadiens recalled forward Matt D'Agostini from Hamilton of the AHL.
-Montreal forward Alex Tanguay (neck) and defenseman Josh Gorges (knee) are dealing with injuries.
-Tanguay was rattled Wednesday on this check from Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart:
(Kudos to Kukla's Korner for the find.)
-The Oshawa Generals retired the jersey of Bruins great Bobby Orr.
-The Lightning made a few moves. Forward Steve Downie and defenseman Matt Smaby were recalled from Norfolk of the AHL. Forward Jason Ward was put on recall waivers while defenseman Andrew Hutchinson was put on regular waivers. Additionally, defenseman and former Penguins prospect David Koci (hand), forward Matt Pettinger (knee) and defenseman Marek Malik ("lower-body") are dealing with injuries.
-Former Penguin Mark Recchi is the second-oldest player to play in the NHL this season, but he's been one of the best members of the Lightning's roster.
-Lightning goaltender Mike Smith doesn't know why he stinks at the shootout.
-Panthers forward Nathan Horton (right) is dealing with a cut leg.
-Remember the slow start of Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin? Anyone?
-Washington rookie defenseman Karl Alzner kept things simple in his NHL debut.
-Capitals defenseman Tom Poti is dealing what is thought to be a groin injury.
-It's been quite a year for Washington coach Bruce Boudreau.
-The Predators acquired goon Wade Belak from the Panthers in exchange for forward Nick Tarnasky.
-The Blues assigned defenseman Steve Wagner to Peoria of the AHL.
-Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios is down with Claude Lemieux attempting a comeback.
-Detroit is playing a guessing game with its salary cap.
-Joel Quenneville has righted the Blackhawk's ship.
-Mike Cammalleri's first career hat trick helped the Flames claim a 4-3 win at Vancouver.
-The Canucks will honor retired captain Trevor Linden with a 16-day tribute. (He used to wear No. 16. We're guessing the Penguins are still working on that 95-day tribute to forward Aleksey Morozov.)
-The Stastnys are brothers.
-Colorado goaltender Peter Budaj is getting his swagger back.
-The Wild will pay tribute to Lightning assistant coach and former captain Wes Walz today.
-Coyotes forward Olli Jokinen (right) will be out 2-to-4 weeks due to a shoulder injury.
-Phoenix forward and former Penguins prospect Daniel Carcillo isn't all that timid.
-The Ducks recalled goaltender David LeNeveu from Iowa of the AHL.
-Sharks foward Mike Grier won't be suspended for hitting Chicago defenseman Aaron Johnson from behind Wednesday.
(Photos: Vanek-Dave Sandford/Getty Images; Horton-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; Jokinen-Aaron J. Latham/Associated Press)