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Jets seek another road win against Sabres

by Brian Hunter

JETS (15-15-5) at SABRES (7-23-3)


Last 10: Winnipeg 5-4-1; Buffalo 2-6-2

Season series: This is the first of two games between the Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres, who will play at MTS Centre on New Year's Eve. The Jets swept three games from the Sabres during the 2012-13 season, with Ondrej Pavelec allowing one goal in each win.

Big story: Desperate to put together some sort of extended win streak and climb a bit closer in the Western Conference playoff race prior to the New Year, the Jets go for a second road victory in as many nights.

Team Scope:

Jets: Evander Kane's return to the Winnipeg lineup couldn't have come at a better time. After missing six games with a lower-body injury, Kane set up the first goal of the game Monday by Mark Scheifele and scored what turned out to be the game-winner in a 3-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, snapping a three-game losing streak.

"I put on my skates. I try to help this team win. That's just how I am," Kane said. "I was able to do that tonight and I hope it continues."

Kane's eighth goal of the season came sandwiched between a pair of third-period goals by the Blue Jackets all in a span of under three minutes, but Al Montoya was flawless otherwise. He made 22 saves in place of the struggling Pavelec and earned his fifth win.

Sabres: Since Ted Nolan took over as interim coach, Buffalo has slowly but surely started to cut down on the number of shots against goalies Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth. Miller has faced 40 or more shots seven times this season, including a high of 51, but only one of those instances has come under Nolan.

"It's the mentality Teddy brought in. It's making sure everyone is accountable in the D zone," defenseman Jamie McBain said in the Buffalo News. "The talking and communication has been a lot better and that makes a big difference in this stretch."

Enroth stopped 24 of 26 shots Saturday against the Calgary Flames, but Matt Moulson's goal wasn't enough for the Sabres' 30th-ranked offense (1.54 goals per game) in a 2-1 overtime defeat.

Who's hot: Bryan Little has two goals and two assists during a four-game point streak for the Jets. … Zemgus Girgensons has two goals and three assists in his past seven games for the Sabres.

Injury report: Winnipeg has Kane back, but will be without forward Matt Halischuk (forearm) indefinitely after he underwent surgery over the weekend. Defensemen Paul Postma (blood clot) and Zach Bogosian (groin) and forward Jim Slater (sports hernia) are on injured reserve. … Buffalo forward Cody McCormick (upper body) is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, but defenseman Alexander Sulzer (undisclosed) and forward Cody Hodgson (lower body) are expected to be in the lineup Tuesday.

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