The players in the Buffalo Sabres' dressing room have yet to forget their last meeting with the Colorado Avalanche. A blown lead in the third period and a game-winner surrendered in the final minute will do that to a team.
Robin Lehner made 33 saves only to come out on the losing end of that game. On Sunday, he and his Sabres teammates will have their shot at redemption against the Avalanche at First Niagara Center.
"It sticks with our group, it sticks with our guys. I know we've talked about it and I know it sticks with Robin," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "That was an outstanding game for Robin, he played really well and in that game and it slips away there with two third-period goals."
Zemgus Girgensons, out for the least three games with a lower-body injury, will return to the lineup and play center on a line with Marcus Foligno and Brian Gionta. Bylsma said it's possible that certain situation will see Girgensons play shifts on the wing, likely alongside Jack Eichel.
Mark Pysyk will also return to the lineup after sitting as a healthy scratch for Buffalo's 6-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Friday. His and the rest of the Sabres' efforts, Bylsma said, will be focused on slowing Colorado's crop of talented forwards.
"Our focus against this team tonight, and it was last game against them, is going to be the neutral zone," he said. "They have speed, bring speed, build speed, come at you with their skill really almost throughout their lineup … last game against them you saw a lot of that."
Matt Duchene (25+19) and Nathan MacKinnon (19+25) lead the Avalanche with 44 points apiece, while Blake Comeau has the hot hand with three goals and four assists in his past seven games. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 43 saves in a 3-2 shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.
Coverage on Sunday begins at 12 p.m. with Tops Sabres Gamenight on MSG-B and Bell TV. The game can also be heard live on WGR 550.