BLACKHAWKS (37-13-14) at SABRES (19-36-8)
TV: NBCSN, TSN2
Last 10: Chicago 5-3-2; Buffalo 4-6-0
Season series: The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on the second Saturday of the season. It made the Sabres 0-5-1 on the way to a 3-15-1 start. Chicago will play its first game in Buffalo since Oct. 11, 2010.
Big story: Since returning from the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the Sabres are 4-2-0 and the Blackhawks are 2-2-0. Buffalo's post-Olympic success includes wins against the Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks and Tampa Bay Lightning.
"We have to be respectful," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville told CSN on Saturday. "We approached the Columbus game (a 6-1 win Thursday) the right way and have to have the same type of attitude going into tomorrow's game."
Blackhawks: This is the only game for Chicago in a five-day span. It does not play again until Wednesday at the Colorado Avalanche. The Blackhawks enter leading the Avalanche by one point and trailing the St. Louis Blues by four in the Central Division, and they are five back of the Anaheim Ducks for the top spot in the Western Conference.
"I think when you look at the standings and what's at stake, basically every game, as far as we can see right now, is going to have some meaning," Quenneville said. "Playing the right way, that's what you look for because you're going to have to play the right way to get points.
"It definitely will keep our attention in the right place. That's never really much of an issue with this group anyway, but we have to be sharp game in, game out. But let's get that consistency going because we want to finish first."
The Blackhawks altered their lines in the win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jonathan Toews played with Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw, and Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane were reunited to play with Michal Handzus.
Kane, a Buffalo native, has six points (three goals) in seven games against his hometown team. Defenseman David Rundblad, acquired Tuesday in a trade from the Phoenix Coyotes, will make his Blackhawks debut.
Sabres: The shakeup last week that revamped Buffalo's roster resulted in the NHL debut for forward Nicolas Deslauriers, who was acquired in a trade of prospects with the Los Angeles Kings.
"I never thought I was going to get traded," Deslauriers told The Buffalo News. "I had a good meeting with [Los Angeles general manager] Dean Lombardi a couple weeks ago. I was just sitting on my couch watching TSN and it popped up. I'm pretty happy about it though. A fresh start would be good for my situation playing forward this year. I'm happy."
The 23-year-old moved to forward from defenseman this season and was leading Manchester of the American Hockey League with 18 goals.
"Deslauriers came from a real good organization, and in L.A. they don't give you games until they make you good enough and you're ready to go," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "He was pretty close, I imagine, to getting the call. He's a big body (6-foot-1, 209 pounds). I've watched him play with my son (Jordan) in Manchester. I like the way he plays. He plays with a little spirit and jam, and that's exactly what this organization needs."
Who's hot: Toews has five goals and an assist in his past three games. Sharp has a goal and three assists. … Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers has six points (three goals) in his past five games.
Injury report: Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa (upper body) is out at least two weeks. … Sabres defenseman Alexander Sulzer (lower body) was injured in the game Friday and is out 1-2 weeks. Girgensons (lower body), Stewart (lower body) and Mitchell (foot) did not play Friday.
|Back to top|