Even if they’re at home, the Buffalo Sabres will prepare like they’re on the road.
The Sabres are hoping to secure their first home win of the season Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Kings and will do so by treating the game as if they’re not playing at First Niagara Center. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
“You go into a road building and you’re not there to paint a pretty picture or make the prettiest pass or the best play, you’re there to get the job done. And any way you can, you have to do so,” Sabres captain Steve Ott said after the team’s morning skate. “For us to be successful, we need to play that way. We need to go out there, pound at it, pound at it and continue to push forward like a road game and get results that way.”
You go into a road building and you’re not there to paint a pretty picture or make the prettiest pass or the best play, you’re there to get the job done. For us to be successful, we need to play that way. - Steve Ott
The Sabres’ three victories this season have all come on the road and they started out strong on their recent three-game road trip. They defeated the Sharks 5-4 in San Jose in the shootout last Tuesday. Then on Thursday in Los Angeles, Buffalo surrendered two power-play goals and ran into strong goaltender in Jonathan Quick. The Kings skated away with a 2-0 victory.
“They have some exceptional players over there that obviously you give them some time and space, they’re going to make things happen,” Sabres forward Drew Stafford said. “For us, the last couple games, our PK has been a little bit at fault so the bottom line is we need to put that behind us and make sure we have a solid effort tonight with urgency and desperation.”
The Kings’ pair of goals on the man advantage proved to be the difference in the last matchup between the two clubs. After that game and looking back on it, the general consensus in the Sabres locker room was that they liked the way they played 5-on-5, especially early in the game.
GREAT SEATS STILL AVAILABLE FOR TONIGHT'S GAME
“I thought we had a good first period against the Kings, but you have to do it for 60 minutes in the League, so it’s being able to do it consistently,” Sabres coach Ron Rolston said.
The Sabres penalty kill is clicking at 82.8 percent at home this season (tied for 16th in the NHL). While they’d like to improve on that number, they’ll also look to stay out of the box all together.
“I think the situation we’re in in the League in terms of our record, we’re certainly not going to get the benefit of a lot of calls so we have to be even more disciplined in the way we play,” Rolston said.
The Sabres did not do any line rushes during the morning skate, but based on who partook in extra work afterward, the lines will likely look a lot like they did at practice on Monday. Johan Larsson, John Scott, Mike Weber and Nikita Zadorov skated with the assistant coaches following practice and aren’t expected to be in the lineup tonight.
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Activating Weber from injured reserve would mean the team would have to make a move to get down to the 23-man roster limit.
That puts Ville Leino will be back in the lineup after being a scratch against Anaheim on Friday. Rolston said Leino will see time on the power play against Los Angeles.
Ryan Miller was the first goaltender off the ice and is expected to start in goal for Buffalo.
Sabres players will be wearing camouflage jerseys during pregame warmups. The jerseys will then be put up for auction on the NHL.com auction site immediately following the game at 10 p.m.
All proceeds from the auction, which runs through Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 9 p.m., will benefit the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 26 Matt Moulson
23 Ville Leino – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
28 Zemgus Girgensons – 82 Marcus Foligno – 65 Brian Flynn
25 Mikhail Grigorenko – 8 Cody McCormick – 78 Corey Tropp
10 Christian Ehrhoff – 3 Mark Pysyk
20 Henrik Tallinder – 57 Tyler Myers
4 Jamie McBain – 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth
Scratched: 22 Johan Larsson, 32 John Scott, 61 Nikita Zadorov
Injured Reserve: 6 Mike Weber