The Chicago Blackhawks are 1-2 in the season, winning 6-4 against the Washington Capitals and losing two 2-3 games against the Tampa Bay Lightning and St. Louis Blues. They are up against a 2-0 New York Islanders team on Friday, and then will meet the still-winless Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
The Buffalo Sabres have not been the luckiest team in the NHL so far in 2013-14. They are 0-5 to start their season, losing against the Detroit Red Wings (1-2), Ottawa Senators (0-1), Pittsburgh Penguins (1-4), Tamppa Bay Lightning (2-3) and the Columbus Blue Jackets (1-4). They take a much-needed breather before taking on the similarly struggling Chicago Blackhawks.
Both teams are in dire need of wins to save their seasons.
The Blackhawks are also looking to salvage their pride. The 2012-13 Stanley Cup winners are not yet ready to give up the trophy and want to prove that their championship was not just a lucky, lockout-enabled one. They are also out to win back-to-back Stanley Cups, something that hasn't been done since Detroit won in 1997 and 1998. They are currently in the middle of the Central Division and are 9th in a 14-team Western Conference. To Chicagoans, there is no sweeter sound than that of The Fratelli's Chelsea Dagger being played over the PA system after a win.
In contrast, the Buffalo Sabres have not qualified for the playoffs for the past two seasons. They placed 12th in the Eastern Conference in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, allowing 143 goals. There is no clear leader, as the captaincy of the team rotates between Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott. It looks like newly-named head coach Ron Rolston's job is in jeopardy should they fail to advance again.
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