The extended home stay continues for the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday as the Dallas Stars are in town.
Jhonas Enroth will be back between the pipes for Buffalo and the Sabres hope he’ll continue his strong play. He’s stopped 59 of 63 shots the past two games (.937 save percentage). Rookie defenseman Nikita Zadorov will also return to the lineup after sitting out Thursday’s 3-0 loss to St. Louis. He’ll once against be paired with Rasmus Ristolainen.
“Anything with a young defenseman, you want to make sure you grab those young mistakes real quick and make sure they don’t become habit because we’re all creatures of habit,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said.
“We just want to make sure he does the right thing the majority of the time and continue to see his progress grow as a young defenseman who’s going to be a great defenseman in this League. But we’ve got to make sure we direct him properly.”
Zadorov understood the message and is looking forward to getting back on the ice.
“Every time I try my best and sometimes it’s not working. Sometimes you have a bad game, bad days and you’ve got to just step up and don’t look back. Just keep going forward and do what you do,” he said.
“…I’m a 19-year-old guy and we’ve got eight D here. Someone’s got to sit for sure. I didn’t have a good game and they sat me. I think that’s a message that I’ve just got to play every game hard and good.”
A DIFFERENT LOOK
Buffalo will also add a new wrinkle to their power play when the slide alternate captain Matt Moulson back to the point. Moulson said he played there early on in his career and doesn’t think the adjustment will be much of an issue.
“Any time you’re given a chance to contribute, I don’t think it matters where you are. You just have to make sure you’re ready,” he said. “I’m sure I’ve had different spots throughout my career so it’s nothing new. Being on the power play, you know every position so it’s not that big a deal.”
Nolan is looking for some more poise on a power play that has gone 5-for18 over the past seven games and will look to Moulson to provide that calming influence.
“He’s a headsy player. He’s smart with the puck and back there you need a good quarterback, so hopefully it’ll work,” Nolan said.
Buffalo has had great success against Dallas at First Niagara Center, going 8-2-1 (one tie) in the last 11 times the Stars have visited. Dallas did win when they came to Buffalo last year and Buffalo will look to avoid losing consecutive home games to the Stars for the first time since they moved from Minnesota to Dallas back in 1993.
The Tops Gamenight pregame show will begin at 6:30 p.m. on MSG-B with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. The game can also be heard live on WGR 550.
GAIN AN ADVANTAGE
Fans who demonstrate that they’ve downloaded the Sabres Fan Advantage app onto their smartphones during checkout at the Sabres Store or other merchandise locations at First Niagara Center will receive 30 percent off their entire purchase on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. through the end of each home game and on Monday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
This discount is not valid with any other offers.
80 Chris Stewart – 28 Zemgus Girgensons – 63 Tyler Ennis
26 Matt Moulson – 17 Torrey Mitchell – 12 Brian Gionta
19 Cody Hodgson – 65 Brian Flynn – 21 Drew Stafford
44 Nicolas Deslauriers – 37 Matt Ellis – 36 Patrick Kaleta
4 Josh Gorges – 57 Tyler Myers
51 Nikita Zadorov – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
6 Mike Weber – 24 Tyson Strachan
1 Jhonas Enroth
34 Michal Neuvirth
Scratched: 41 Andrej Meszaros, 61 Andre Benoit
Injured Reserve: 8 Cody McCormick (blood clot in leg), 82 Marcus Foligno (broken hand)
McCormick joined the team on the ice before the practice began in skates and workout clothes. He took some shots on Neuvirth and chatted with a few teammates before departing as the morning skate began.
He’s been out since Jan. 13 because of a blood clot in his leg that forced him to be hospitalized for a few days. Nolan suspects that McCormick might miss the rest of the season.
Marcus Foligno could be ready to play on Sunday against the New York Islanders. He broke his hand in a fight against Matt Bartkowski of the Boston Bruins on Dec. 21 and has skated with the team the past several days.