The Sabres are dealing with another injured defenseman

November 7, 2017
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The Sabres host the Washington Capitals tonight trying to rebound from an embarrassing 5-1 loss in Dallas.

You would think the Caps would be at a disadvantage because they played last night, but in the past three or four years, the Sabres rarely take advantage of a team that could be considered “tired.”

This will also be third game in four nights for Washington.

The Capitals have won three straight games and four out of five. Before that, they had a terrible streak that saw them win just two of eight games. Washington has also earned points in 24 of their last 30 games against Buffalo going 20-6-4.

The Washington power play had gone six games without a goal until Alex Ovechkin broke that streak last night against the Coyotes. The strange thing about Washington’s power play is it’s number four in the NHL on the road going 7-of-24 and 29th at home going 2-for-25.

Ovechkin has goals in two straight games after scoring one in eight games. The Washington captain opened the season with nine goals in his first four games.

Braden Holtby played last night and is 8-3-0 with a 2.62 goals against and .921 save percentage.

His backup Philipp Grubauer is 0-3-1 with a 4.08 goals agianst and .876 save percentage.

Andre Burakovsky has missed the last six games due to injury. Matt Niskanen has been out for 10.

The Sabres will likely be without defenseman Matt Tennyson. He took a shot in the foot during practice on Monday and he left the morning skate early. Phil Housley called both him and Zach Redmond game-time decisions. Redmond said he’s playing.

Both Josh Gorges and Nate Beaulieu returned to practice for the first time on Tuesday. There’s a chance one or both could be ready for Friday against Florida.

Buffalo’s penalty killing is perfect at home going 17-of-17. On the road it’s 30th killing 18-of-26.

As far as the power play goes, Buffalo is 29th in the NHL scoring just six power play goals. They’ve also given up six shorthanded goals.

It doesn’t seem like the entries are very good on the Buffalo power play. Housley said, “I would like them to come with a little more speed. Our outlet guys are getting ahead of the play and it’s coming right into coverage, so our defensemen, when they turn the corner they have to get up ice and they’ve got to lead the charge and then your options will open up as they go.”

The Sabres rarely put together a 60 minute game which is the main reason why they’re 4-8-2. Housley thinks one thing will make the record better, “There’s a lot of good things to look at in the structure of our game, but we have to do it for 60 minutes, so we can’t pick and choose when we want to do it.”

In losing three of four games the shot totals were 35, 33, 31 and 28. In the win they scored five goals, but in the three losses they scored four goals total. They get plenty of chances but they don’t score.

Sam Reinhart has just two goals and three assists for five points in 14 games. He admitted it’s getting to him, “For me personally it’s a tough one to look at. I’ve felt good in a number of games, I’ve felt the skating has been there and I’m not going to lie to you, it’s been frustrating.”

“I think the frustrating part is yes the numbers, but on top of that you look at the games I have produced, it’s led to team success as well. If you look at the times I’ve produced and we have had that depth in scoring, it’s led to overall success and led to our wins. I think the last couple of games coming through the neutral zone I’ve had the puck more and felt comfortable with it and hopefully that leads to more entries with the puck and more zone time.”

The Sabres are 1-0-1 in the two games Reinhart has scored a goal and 3-1-1 in the five games he has a point in.

Nick Baptiste will be playing in his first game of the season. He’ll be on a line with Reinhart and Seth Griffith.

After a rough game in Dallas, Robin Lehner will start in goal. Lehner gave up three goals on seven shots playing just 10:27 against the Stars.

 

Tuesday’s lines:

 

Kane  Eichel  Pomkinville

Pouliot  O’Reilly  Okposo

Baptiste  Reinhart  Griffith

Girgensons  Larsson  Nolan (Moulson)

 

Scandella   Falk

McCabe   Fedun

Antipin  Tennyson

Gorges  Beaulieu (Redmond)

 

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