When Phil Housley announced Robin Lehner as his starter for Saturday afternoon against the San Jose Sharks, he followed it up with another announcement: Lehner recently became the father of a new baby girl.
It just so happens that the goalie is also playing his best hockey of the season. Coming off of a 32-save shutout of the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, Lehner has played 91:35 without allowing a goal.
"I think he had a really strong game against Detroit and he made some really key saves, especially in the second period," Housley said. "I thought our defense in the defensive zone, we collapsed really well, not too many second chances and we're going to have to do that again today.
"We're faced with a team that likes to shoot the puck a lot, especially form the point, so we're going to have to block shots getting out to the point and also we're going to have to tie up sticks in front of our net, this is a team that tips pucks very well."
Video: PREVIEW: SJS at BUF (10/28/17)
The Sabres previously met the Sharks on Oct. 12, a 3-2 loss on the road. In spite of the outcome, Housley felt that game was when the Sabres began to turn the tide on their season. They played well in a loss to Los Angeles in their next game, and finally earned their first win in Anaheim the following night.
"I think from that point, I think our team had a move in a good direction," he said. "Now it's just putting it all together. Our start has to be good, pucks decisions early are going to be important, that sort of establishes our forecheck. I think those areas we really need to focus on and just playing a complete game."
Aside from Lehner, the rest of the Buffalo lineup will remain the same as in their loss to Columbus on Wednesday. Defenseman Justin Falk, who has not played this season due to an injury, practiced again Saturday morning but is not yet ready for game action.
Coverage on Saturday begins at 12:30 p.m. with GMC Gamenight on MSG-B, or you can listen live on WGR 550. The puck drops at 1 p.m.
9 Evander Kane - 15 Jack Eichel - 29 Jason Pominville
67 Benoit Pouliot - 90 Ryan O'Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo
28 Zemgus Girgensons - 23 Sam Reinhart - 95 Justin Bailey
17 Jordan Nolan - 22 Johan Larsson - 25 Seth Griffith
6 Marco Scandella - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
19 Jake McCabe - 5 Matt Tennyson
93 Victor Antipin - 38 Zach Redmond
40 Robin Lehner
31 Chad Johnson