Sabres' Bogosian makes his return

December 1, 2017
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - For the first time in his NHL head coaching career, Phil Housley will have his top six defensemen dressed for a game. Zach Bogosian will play his first game this season after suffering a groin injury in the last preseason game. Phil Housley was almost giddy to be getting Bogosian back, “That’s intriguing to be finally at our group of six.

“I’m really excited because I thought Nate and him as partners in the preseason really formed a good chemistry.”

Bogosian may be the best skater the Sabres have on defense and Housley wants speed from the blue line. “Anytime you lose one of your top four defensemen, it’s going to be tough, especially over a long haul where it’s hard to replace those guys,” Housley said. “He’s a powerful skater, he brings a lot of good energy in our locker-room, he’s upbeat and has a great attitude, so we missed that.”

There have been nights where Rasmus Ristolainen was the only right handed shooting defenseman dressed. Bogosian shoots right and Housley said, “It’s always nice to have lefty-righty, especially in transition. It’s easier to accept passes, it’s easier to get the puck up ice.”

Bogosian will play with Beaulieu. Marco Scandella stays with Ristolainen and Jake McCabe plays with Victor Antipin.

The last time the Sabres played in Pittsburgh, they got one point after blowing a 3-1 lead. Housley said they know they need to do more to close out teams like the Penguins, “We go into the third period with a one goal lead and we’ve got to lock those situations down.

“We know they’re going to give us a push, but at the time we’ve really got to settle down and face the adversity and just do your job, expect the unexpected because they’re going to throw everything to the net.”

The Sabres have only won one of their last 10 games going 1-7-2. In that time they have scored four goals twice and three goals once. They haven’t scored a power play goal in seven games and have given up power play goals in three of the last four games.

Pittsburgh has won its last two after losing three straight. They have 10 goals in the two wins and that’s been without Evgeni Malkin. He’s missed four games with an upper body injury, but has a good chance to return tonight.

Goaltender Matt Murray is out for a while with a lower body injury. That puts Tristan Jarry in net. This season he’s 4-2-0 with a 2.83 goals against and .907 save percentage. The Penguins took Jarry in the second round of the 2013 draft.  He has 83 games of AHL experience.

Sidney Crosby has points in four straight games. He has four goals and five assist for nine points in those four games.

Phil Kessel is also on a four game point streak with three goals and five assists for eight points.

Jake Guentzel has gotten hot with five goals in four games while Conor Sheary has gone ice cold. He has scored in just one game out of his last 12. That was a two goal effort against the Sabres.

Join Schopp and the Bulldog for the pregame at 6:00 from 716 when they’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Jordan Nolan and Kyle Okposo.