BUFFALO – All seems forgiven. The hockey-deprived Sabres fans look amped for this afternoon’s season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers. Thanks to the NHL 113-day lockout, it’s been 288 days since the Sabres last played a game.
Right now, however, it feels like the NHL never left. The First Niagara Center will be packed and jumping today. Fans spent the week gobbling up discounted merchandise and wondering if 18-year-old Mikhail Grigorenko could crack the lineup (he’ll play today).
The Sabres are the biggest deal in town again.
Don’t forget, Rick Jeanneret’s home sick today and won’t be calling the game on the radio.
Winger Ville Leino (possible leg injury) didn’t take warm-ups and is out today.
Here are your likely Sabres forward lines and defense tandems:
Marcus Foligno, Tyler Ennis, Drew Stafford
Thomas Vanek, Cody Hodgson, Jason Pominville
Steve Ott, Grigorenko, Jochen Hecht
John Scott, Matt Ellis, Patrick Kaleta
Nathan Gerbe, Cody McCormick (injured reserve)
Robyn Regehr, Tyler Myers
Christian Ehrhoff, Alexander Sulzer
Andrej Sekera, Jordan Leopold
T.J. Brennan, Mike Weber (extras)
Ryan Miller will start in goal.
Ex-Sabres co-captain and current Flyers star Daniel Briere suffered a hairline fracture of his left wrist in Germany during the lockout and won’t play.