The Kings and Sabres are among the four NHL teams that are starting their NHL seasons with two games in Europe and both clubs picked up wins in their season openers on Friday. Buffalo dealt Anaheim a 4-1 setback in Helsinki, Finland while the Kings defeated the New York Rangers in overtime in Stockholm, Sweden. The Rangers and Ducks will also square off in Stockholm today to complete the NHL's European stint.
Thomas Vanek had a big day for the Sabres in the season opener, scoring two goals and adding an assist in Buffalo's convincing win over the Ducks. Finland native Ville Leino chipped in with a goal in his homecoming and newly- appointed captain Jason Pominville scored and had two assists for the Sabres.
Buffalo's Ryan Miller stopped 29 of the 30 shots he faced in what was his 400th NHL game. Miller could get the start again today and is 3-1-1 with a 2.44 goals-against average in his career against LA.
Sabres forward Jochen Hecht could miss out on a chance to play in his native Germany today after sitting out Friday's game in Helsinki with concussion symptoms. He is questionable for this afternoon's game in Berlin.
The Kings, meanwhile, had to like what they saw from centerman Mike Richards in his debut with the club. The former Philadelphia captain scored the tying goal in the latter stages of regulation and set up Jack Johnson's game-winner in overtime, as Los Angeles downed the Rangers, 3-2.
Acquired from the Flyers on June 23, Richards accepted Anze Kopitar's pass and from the right side of the net, chipped the puck to the slot for Johnson, sneaking in from his point position. The defenseman wasted little time and fired the puck past Rangers goaltender and Sweden native Henrik Lundqvist with 52 seconds remaining in OT.
Jonathan Quick made half of his 24 saves in the third period for the Kings, who are a trendy pick to win the Stanley Cup this year after suffering first- round playoff losses in each of the last two seasons.
Quick has won his only two career starts against Buffalo, going 2-0 with a 2.54 GAA in three appearances versus the Sabres.
The Kings played Friday without forward Dustin Penner, who is battling a lower body injury. Penner has a lot to prove this season after disappointing with just two goals and four assists over 19 games with LA last season following a trade from Edmonton. He is questionable for today's contest.
Buffalo has taken two of three and five of the last seven meetings with the Kings, but the clubs have split the last 10 encounters overall.
Next up for the Sabres is their home opener against Carolina on Friday, while the Kings will play their third game of the season Thursday in New Jersey.