20240323 Practice Web

EDMONTON – The Buffalo Sabres took the ice for practice in Edmonton on Saturday before departing for Calgary, their attention turned to the finale of their season-long, five-game road trip.

The Sabres play the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday at 9 p.m. They will be looking to rebound from an 8-3 loss to the Oilers in which they led 3-2 before allowing a run of six unanswered goals beginning late in the second period.

“Obviously coming off a tough loss to Edmonton we wanted to get out here and get back to work, get our battle mindset up,” Sabres forward Alex Tuch said. “We felt like we gave up on Upie there, so we’ve got to be better defensively going into tomorrow night’s game.”

The Sabres sit seven points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference with 11 games remaining – a similar spot to where they were exactly one year ago.

The Sabres were eight points out with 12 games to play on March 23 of last season and had just lost three straight contests in regulation. They earned points in nine of those last 12 games and came within a point of a playoff berth, an experience they will try and lean on down the stretch.

“I think we can draw upon that confidence,” Tuch said. “We know we have the ability to be one of the best teams in the NHL when we set our minds to it and play the right way. We’ve just got to focus on the first five minutes of tomorrow night’s game and just going out there and making them play our style of game and our style of hockey. Just go out there with a lot of energy and have some fun.”

Alex Tuch addresses the media

Here are more notes from Saturday’s practice.

1. Tyson Jost was absent from practice for a maintenance day. The forward has played seven consecutive games for the Sabres since being recalled from Rochester on March 8.

2. Here’s how the Sabres lined up in Jost’s absence:


77 JJ Peterka – 72 Tage Thompson – 89 Aelx Tuch

12 Jordan Greenway – 24 Dylan Cozens – 9 Zach Benson

53 Jeff Skinner – 19 Peyton Krebs – 13 Lukas Rousek

50 Eric Robinson – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 71 Victor Olofsson


4 Bowen Byram – 26 Rasmus Dahlin

25 Owen Power – 10 Henri Jokiharju

78 Jacob Bryson – 75 Connor Clifton

38 Kale Clague


1 Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

27 Devon Levi

31 Eric Comrie

3. JJ Peterka remained on the top line alongside Thompson and Tuch after he scored a pair of goals against the Oilers. The Sabres had a 16-8 edge in shot attempts with the trio on the ice at 5-on-5 and Thompson and Tuch both tallied assists to extend their point streaks to four games.

“I just thought we were supporting all over the ice,” Tuch said. “We were really good on the forecheck, caused them to have turnovers, and we were playing as a five-man unit.”

4. Tuch was also part of a revamped top power-play unit against the Oilers, slotting in at the bumper position with Jordan Greenway at the net front, Thompson and Peterka on the flanks, and Rasmus Dahlin at the point.

The Sabres went 0-for-3 on the power play but generated five scoring chances, according to Natural Stat Trick, the product of a simplified approach.

“We had a lot of grade-A chances and some opportunities that we would have loved to have back and to bear down on a few,” Tuch said. “Just sometimes it doesn’t go our way, but we’re going to draw confidence off of that too.

“The power play hasn’t been nearly good enough this year and to have a little bit different set up and a little bit different personal is always something you need to do to shake things up. We were able to have some chemistry and mesh well and I thought first and foremost we were just outworking their PK and getting the opportunities.”