Wednesday’s 4-2 loss at Washington marked the first time the Sabres finished a game in regulation since Nov. 5 and moved their record to 4-1-1 over the last six games. During that stretch, the offense has been led by Derek Roy
and Thomas Vanek
, who extended their point streaks on Wednesday.
Roy scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season to run his point streak to six games. The centerman has registered three goals and six assists for nine points in that span. For the season, Roy ranks among the NHL’s top 10 scorers with 22 points. Vanek, who assisted on Roy’s tally in Washington, has collected seven points (2-5-7) during his five-game point streak.
In addition to Roy and Vanek, a more unlikely duo has also been contributing offensively lately. Defensemen Steve Montador and Jordan Leopold
have combined for eight goals on the season, including three in the last three games. Head Coach Lindy Ruff talked about the defense pairing after practice on Thursday.
“There are times when they are very high risk as a pair,” Ruff said. “They’ve been able, offensively, to create a lot just by using each other at the top and on the blue line, rotating in, getting involved. Both guys have been doing a great job of getting up ice which sometimes creates a little bit of anxiety away from the puck, but at the same time when we’ve needed some offense, those guys have been able to get up and join and be a big part of it.”
As a unit, Buffalo defensemen have combined for 14 goals on the year. Montador credits the team’s forwards as much as the defensemen for that league-leading total.
“There’s a lot of credit that the defense gets because we’re getting the opportunity to get up (in the rush), but that just means a lot of the time that the forwards have to work and back us up,” Montador said.
did not play Wednesday after suffering an upper body injury in Monday’s game versus Vancouver. The forward practiced on Thursday, but Ruff said a decision on whether or not he’ll be ready to play Friday against Los Angeles has not yet been made.
Craig Rivet missed two games last week due to an illness that he has since recovered from, but has not returned to the lineup yet. That may change soon.
“I would anticipate him playing this weekend,” Ruff said of Rivet. “He’s worked extremely hard through his virus and hopefully he’s ready to be a factor in the games.”
The Sabres will begin a four-game homestand on Friday when they host the Los Angeles Kings. The Pacific Division-leading Kings have won seven of their last 10 games and will be making their first appearance in Buffalo since Dec. 19, 2008.
Buffalo will be right back at it on Saturday when they host Tampa Bay to complete their first of four sets of back-to-back home games this season. The Lightning feature the NHL’s leading scorer in Steven Stamkos, who has recorded 16 goals and 14 assists for 30 points in just 18 games.
There are three Sabres players who currently rank in the top 10 in NHL scoring categories. In addition to Roy being ranked tied for 7th in overall scoring in the league with 22 points, Tyler Ennis
(5-6-11) ranks tied for 2nd in scoring among all NHL rookies and Jordan Leopold
(5-9-14) is tied for 7th in scoring among NHL defensemen.