Given our amount of injuries we need to take advantage of any slim chance we get, and there is no better way to do that than make home ice at the Joe a fortress for the shortened season; just like we did with our winning streak last year.
This is a game we should be winning on paper. Granted Jagr is there but other than that nothing jumps out.
In the off-season they acquired:
C Cody Earkin, RW Jaromir Jagr, Backup G Cristopher Nihlstorp, D Aaron Rome, C Derek Roy, RW Reilly Smith, and LW Ray Whitney.
Earkin had his breakout season in the NHL last year where he played 30 games for the Capitals with 8 points. Nihlstorp came from Sweden and is an NHL rookie at 28. Given Lethonen is there I doubt he will get much time. Aaron Rome comes from the Canucks where he played 43 games and had 10 points with only 1 game played in the playoffs. Derek Roy is an established NHL winger playing more than 70 games per season (barring 2010) for 7 seasons with the Sabres. This is his second NHL team. His career year was in 2007-08 when he had 81 points. His productivity has steadily decreased since then with 44 points last year.
Reilly Smith is a brand new rookie having been drafted 2 years ago. He has only played in 3 NHL games. Lastly Ray Whitney is a veteran and a former Red Wing (03-04 season). He is coming off a 2nd best career year at Phoneix with 77 points. He also had 7 points in the playoffs. At 40 he is looking to finish his career on a high note.
All in all it seems Jagr, Whitney, and Roy are the players they have bet on this season. 2 are NHL veterans in Jagr and Whitney and Roy is a solid scorer who will lead the first line at center.
I like this match up a lot. We swept them in all 4 games last season and it's time to continue the tradition.