The Buffalo Sabres are coming off back-to-back victories and will look to make it three in a row Tuesday night when the New Jersey Devils roll into town.
Buffalo edged the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 on Monday at Joe Louis Arena, scoring twice in 1:01 within the final 4:14 of the game. Ryan O'Reily tied the game and Johan Larsson scored his first of the season for the game winner.
"As a group, we feel very good. We’ve found a way to win some hockey games here," O'Reilly said after the team's optional morning skate on Tuesday at First Niagara Center. "We’re focusing just on tonight’s game – getting back and do the same things we have been doing, starting on time, being physical right away. Those are things we have to do and establish that right away."
O'Reilly has provided a bulk of the Sabres' offense lately. He's currently riding a career-high eight-game point streak and over his last 10 games, he has 12 points (4+8).
He's credited his linemates Jamie McGinn and Sam Reinhart for helping be a combination that can provide energy to the rest of the lineup with their play on the ice.
"We’re not over-thinking things. We’re going out there, we’re playing hockey," O'Reilly said. "We’re still focused on the Xs and Os and what we have to do but we’re excited to play the game. We want to make the plays, we want the puck and when we enjoy it like that, you seem to get bounces more our way."
Buffalo is 5-3-1 in its past nine games, with those three regulation losses coming during their road swing to Western Canada last week. Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said that the team committed too many turnovers in those losses, but since returning from that trip, they've gotten back to doing the things that will help them find success.
"Our whole game is really predicated on establishing our forecheck and establishing the offensive zone," he said. "When we have done that – a lot of that is execution and puck management, our mentality going into the game – we've been a hard team to play against."
Buffalo held the Kings to 21 shots on goal Saturday and Chad Johnson made 32 saves on 33 shots against Detroit on Monday.
"The last couple games, we've really had a commitment to the way we want to play, the way we've wanted to come out strong and take it to teams," defenseman Mike Weber said. "We've been very disciplined in our systems."
Linus Ullmark will start in goal and that the rest of the lineup will be a gametime decision, according to Bylsma. Ullmark made 20 saves in Buffalo's 2-1 win on Saturday.
The Tops Gamenight pregame show begins at 6:30 p.m. on MSG-B and Bell TV. The game can also be heard live on WGR 550 with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m.
88 Jamie McGinn – 90 Ryan O'Reilly – 23 Sam Reinhart
9 Evander Kane – 15 Jack Eichel – 26 Matt Moulson
28 Zemgus Girgensons – 22 Johan Larsson – 12 Brian Gionta
44 Nicolas Deslauriers – 17 David Legwand – 82 Marcus Foligno
4 Josh Gorges – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
29 Jake McCabe – 47 Zach Bogosian
6 Mike Weber – 46 Cody Franson
35 Linus Ullmark