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Jets host Sabres in search of third straight win

Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 11:45 AM

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

SABRES (11-24-4) at JETS (18-18-5)

TV: TSN, MSG-B

Last 10: Buffalo 5-3-2; Winnipeg 4-5-1

Season series: The Buffalo Sabres and Winnipeg Jets will play for the final time this season. Buffalo won the first game 4-2 on Dec. 17 at First Niagara Center.

Big story: The Sabres have been on a roll on home ice, winning their past four games, including a 2-1 shootout win against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, and are 5-2-2 overall in their past nine. Interim coach Ted Nolan believes the two-game road trip, which takes them to Winnipeg and St. Paul for a game against the Minnesota Wild, will say a lot about their recent development.

"We've got a long ways to go. We adjusted [to] the feel-good period part. Now we just have to pay a little bit more attention to details," Nolan said. "If you look at the goaltending we have, we have pretty good goaltending. So if we play honestly in front of them, we'll have good chances [to win]."

The Jets play host to the Sabres looking to generate momentum of their own. They have won two straight for the first time since Nov. 25-27; they beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Sunday and the Wild 6-4 on Friday.

"What I'd like to see more of in the second half is to see us build off the two games we just played," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "The games I've seen in the last two games makes me believe we're heading down the right road in the second half of the season."

Team Scope:

Sabres: Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller was named the NHL's Second Star of the Week after going 2-0-1 with a 1.55 goals-against average and .961 save percentage to help the Sabres earn five of a possible six points. Miller, though, will get the night off in Winnipeg; Jhonas Enroth will get the start.

"You have to project further out, and we need Jhonas to be ready," Miller told the Sabres website after practice Monday. "And it's an Olympic year. We're factoring in the possibility of more travel and playing time for maybe both of us. The idea is to balance it out a little more."

Jets: Winnipeg backup goalie Al Montoya made 33 saves in the win against Colorado and will start against Buffalo. Ondrej Pavelec was pulled after seven minutes of the Jets' win Friday after he allowed three goals on six shots.

"We'll see if Montoya can continue down that road... He'll get the start," Noel said at the morning skate Tuesday.

Who's hot: Sabres forward Matt Moulson has a goal and three assists his past five games. Center Zemgus Girgensons has points in three of five. … Jets forward Blake Wheeler has 14 points (10 goals) in December with three multigoal games. Defenseman Jacob Trouba has eight points in the past 13 games.

Injury report: Sabres left wing Ville Leino (undisclosed) is questionable after he was injured on a hit by Washington's Tom Wilson on Sunday, according to the Buffalo News. Center Cody Hodgson (left thumb, wrist) hasn't practiced since sustaining the injury Dec. 19. Centers Kevin Porter (lower body) and Cody McCormick (upper body) are on injured reserve. … The Jets have four players on IR: defensemen Grant Clitsome (undisclosed) and Paul Postma (blood clot, leg), right wing Matt Halischuk (fractured forearm) and center Jim Slater (sports hernia surgery).

2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Dec 31 '13BUF 0 at WPG 3K. Ellerby
Dec 17 '13WPG 2 at BUF 4M. Moulson
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Moulson38131326-32071
C. Hodgson3381119-101240
T. Ennis408715-101630
Z. Girgensons3941014-5200
C. Ehrhoff3921214-71801
D. Stafford404913-92901
M. Foligno365611-105501
T. Myers403811-154410
S. Ott405510-164331
T. Vanek13459-5410
J. McBain28268-6210
B. Flynn38336-3200
H. Tallinder34246-122000
V. Leino26066-6600
M. Pysyk35145-81001
C. McCormick25145-64300
M. Grigorenko18213-3200
M. Ellis8112+0000
M. D'Agostini22022-2400
J. Scott22101-86000
R. Ristolainen19101-4400
L. Adam9101+0200
N. Zadorov7101-4400
M. Weber26011-193100
J. Larsson18011-21300
K. Porter12011-5200
A. Sulzer9011+1000
C. Tropp9011-8000
B. McNabb5000+0200
P. Kaleta5000-1500
L. Omark5000-2400
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
R. Miller2810-17-17510232.69.927
J. Enroth131-8-3323562.60.910
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
B. Little42141933+84031
B. Wheeler42151631-22653
A. Ladd42101929+93820
D. Byfuglien4272229-114440
O. Jokinen4291625-42401
M. Frolik4191322-1611
E. Kane34111021-33913
D. Setoguchi4171320+51012
M. Scheifele4261420-2811
T. Enstrom424812-12810
G. Clitsome3221012-51800
J. Trouba253811+1900
M. Halischuk30347-1401
M. Stuart29246+23600
Z. Bogosian26145+62900
C. Thorburn32055-13500
K. Ellerby21224+6011
E. Tangradi31134-41100
A. Peluso21202-22900
A. Pardy22022+12000
J. Albert8101-3000
J. Wright41011-1600
J. Slater8011-2000
P. Postma8000+0600
E. O'Dell4000-2600
P. Cormier3000+0700
Z. Redmond3000-2000
J. Melchiori1000-1000
B. Chiarot1000-3000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
O. Pavelec3211-16-4939503.03.902
A. Montoya138-2-1223351.85.934