Sabres' Lehner wants all the praise to go to his teammates

January 30, 2018
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - After a wildly successful Western Canada road trip, the Buffalo Sabres return home trying to make up for a 7-1 loss to Dallas. Buffalo won all three games on the trip and are now 8-14-7 away from home. That’s a .397 points percentage in 29 games.

The Sabres have only played 20 games in Buffalo and are 6-12-2 which is a .350 points percentage.

The Sabres have been away from downtown Buffalo for 11 of the last 14 games. They lost two of those three home contests to the Jets and Stars giving up seven goals in both games.

Contrast that to the wins in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver where they gave up one goal total and it was on the power play.

Robin Lehner was the third star of the week in the NHL thanks to two straight shutouts. His shutout streak is up to 119:26 while the team shutout streak is 173:30. That’s the Sabres longest streak since January of 2003.

Lehner is now 11-18-6 with a 2.87 goals against and .912 save percentage. Lehner wasn’t at all happy for himself and his success because he doesn’t feel he had to do much, “It’s always nice, but the team made it really easy for me. I think every part of our game was great. I think I saw one odd man rush in the two games and I didn’t have to make that many big ones. Those two shutouts were probably two of the least hard games for me I had this season and that comes from the guys in front of me.

“I think when we play like that as a team, that’s when individuals are going to get success too, not the other way around.”

Lehner couldn’t have been happier with his teammates. He thinks now they see how they need to play, “We defended, we started to play defense and understood it started in the other end of the ice. The amount of work our forwards did over the last three games was incredible. Just them coming back so hard and making it easy for our D and making it easy for me, I mean we were defending with three, four, five guys and it makes a big difference.”

Kyle Okposo has found an immediate chemistry playing with Jack Eichel. In his last seven games Okposo has 10 points. In his last 21 games, the winger has 18 points.

Okposo always had good success with the Islanders playing with John Tavares. Okposo said playing with Eichel has opened things up, “He’s turning into the player that he is and I know how bad he wants to be a dynamic player and to be a superstar in this league and he’s worked extremely hard at the defensive aspects of his game, but he demands a lot and I think at a young age, that’s a pretty special trait.”

In the last two games, the Sabres are 4-for-7 on the power play. They have a power play goal in six out of the last seven games in which they’ve been on the PP.

Sitting out tonight will be Jordan Nolan, Jacob Josefson, Josh Gorges and Nate Beaulieu.


Tuesday’s Lines:

Girgensons - Eichel - Okposo

Wilson - O’Reilly - Reinhart

Kane - Larsson - Pominville

Pouliot - Rodrigues - Baptiste

 

Scandella - Ristolainen

McCabe - Antipin

Falk - Nelson


New Jersey went into the All-Star break with four straight losses. Taylor Hall missed three of those games, but is back tonight. The Devils have also been without Brian Gibbons, Mirco Mueller and Marcus Johansson. Hall and Mueller will return tonight.

Both their goalies missed the last game. Cory Schneider was day-to-day with a groin injury. Keith Kinkaid had the same thing, but he is ready to play.

The goaltending injuries put 2015 free agent signee Ken Appleby into the crease. The 22-year-old has played in three games and is 0-1-0 with a 1.45 goals against and .945 save percentage. In his only start, Appleby gave up three goals on 27 shots in a loss to Nashville.

Even with the losing streak, the Devils hold down the first Wild Card in the East with 56 points. Philadelphia is tied with New Jersey while Pittsburgh and Columbus are only one point ahead. As a matter of fact, two points separate second and sixth place in the Metropolitan Division.

Join Schopp and the Bulldog for the pregame at 6:00 from (716) Food and Sport when they’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo.