Sabres begin 50th anniversary home season against New Jersey

October 05, 2019 - 11:54 am

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - John Tortorella pretty much never has his team on the ice for a morning skate and Ralph Krueger is doing the same.

As the Sabres prepare for the home opener, Krueger had his team come to the arena for off-ice work and meetings, but no skate. The head coach said, "Don't expect us to pregame skate, we're outstanding in our activation off-ice. I love how the guys have come in strong to every practice since the beginning of training camp, so we activate immediately on the ice." Krueger added, "I don't find that hitting the ice on game days is the norm anymore and for us it definitely will not be."

When Krueger was hired he talked about being with the sports science staff to figure out how to reduce injuries. Krueger said this is all part of it, "What they're doing off the ice is getting their bodies ready, our soft tissue injuries have been extremely low because of the work that the guys are able to do and how they understand how to get themselves ready."

The Sabres had a very good game in their opener winning in Pittsburgh 3-1. It was a complete game by the blue and goal with Conor Sheary netting two goals.

I think you would've been hard pressed to say that any of the six defensemen dressed in that game had a bad game. Krueger said, "It was their involvement, not only in our defense and giving us good structure and being quick, but also the way they jumped up into the play. I think all six defensemen showed up in multiple clips and we really like that contribution in the offense."

The Sabres will use the same lineup as they did in Pittsburgh which means Evan Rodrigues and John Gilmour will not play.

After a fine game against the Penguins, Carter Hutton will again be in goal.

Saturday will be the Sabres 49th home opener. They are 21-20-7 and haven't won a home opener since 2013.

New Jersey had a horrible shootout loss in their home opener on Friday. The Devils blew a 4-0 lead and lost to Winnipeg 5-4. Blake Coleman scored two goals in the loss.

The Devils have a whole new team with the additions of Jack Hughes, P.K. Subban, Nikita Gusev and Wayne Simmonds.

Taylor Hall is also back after playing only 33 games last season due to injury. That was after a 39 goal, 93 point season the year before which won him the Hart Trophy as league MVP.

The Devils announced that Corey Schneider, who left Friday's game in the third period with cramping, made the trip here and will be available for the game. Schneider gave up two goals in almost 43 minutes of work while Mackenzie Blackwell allowed two goals in 22 minutes.

Many former captains will be in attendance for the game including Gerry Meehan, Gil Perreault, Danny Gare, Stu Barnes, Brian Gionta, Michael Peca, Mike Foligno, Floyd Smith, Jason Pominville and Craig Rivet.

Join us for the pregame to the home opener Saturday at 6:00 when Brian Koziol will be joined by Ralph Krueger, Conor Sheary and Casey Mittelstadt.

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