The Buffalo Sabres will try to halt a three-game slide when they visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
Buffalo has dropped three straight after an 8-2-0 run in their previous 10 games, most recently coming off a 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.
After starting off the week being shut out for the first time this season, the Sabres have started to find their game in each of their past two outings.
“We actually talked about that (Thursday morning), being more aggressive and having a bit of our swagger back,” forward Casey Mittelstadt said. “I thought especially throughout the game (against the Jets) it started to come back and we started making the plays we’ve been making all year.
“We’re going to hit a couple stretches like this. What makes me excited is we have such a tight group and we’re going to stick together through anything.”
Mittelstadt’s line with center Tyson Jost and winger Victor Olofsson has been contributing offensively of late after struggling for a stretch. The trio accounted for both goals against Winnipeg and combined for 10 shots on goal.
Mittelstadt has five assists in his past five games, while Olofsson has three goals in his past four contests.
“We like where our chemistry’s at and we keep saying to each other we just want to get better and better, and we still think there’s a higher ceiling we can get to,” Jost said.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is expected to get the nod in goal as the Sabres continue to share the duties among a trio of netminders. Rookie forwards JJ Peterka and Jack Quinn will return to the lineup after not playing the past two games.
“Everything we do is geared toward winning,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “Development we feel is hugely impactful to winning more consistently.”
Forward Zemgus Girgensons did not travel with the team and will miss the game with a non-COVID illness.
The Predators return home after a five-game road trip through the Eastern Conference, which wrapped up with a pair of defeats to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens.
“When you look at these last two games on the road trip you’d like to have at least a point or two, so that’s disappointing, but we battled until the end and there’s some good and bad with it obviously,” defenseman Mattias Ekholm said.
Filip Forsberg continues to lead the way offensively, with 18 goals and 38 points on the season. He’s notched all but four of those points (16 goals, 18 assists) in his past 34 games.
Defenseman Roman Josi is second on the team with 33 points and has enjoyed a Swiss connection with countryman Nino Niederreiter. The duo has combined to create seven goals this season: Niederreiter has assisted on two of Josi’s 10 goals while the defenseman has factored in on five of the forward’s 13 tallies.
“I know him so well from Switzerland, and I kind of know his tendencies quite well to know exactly what he does,” Niederreiter said. “And I feel like he knows what I do and luckily we’ve found a way to get some goals together.”
–Field Level Media