KANATA, ONTARIO –
The Buffalo Sabres have been hot on home ice and they’ll try to replicate some of that success on the road Monday night.
The Sabres have just four wins on the road this season and have only one point in their past five games away from First Niagara Center. They’ll take on the Ottawa Senators on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Canadian Tire Centre. The Tops Gamenight pregame show will begin at 7 p.m. on MSG-B and Bell. The game can also be heard live on WGR 550.
The Sabres are coming off a big comeback victory against the New York Islanders on Saturday in which they scored three goals in the third period to tie the game. They won in the shootout 4-3.
“Coming off that win, it was just a huge confidence [boost],” Sabres forward Cody McCormick, who will play in his 400th NHL game on Monday, said. “I know there’s no quit in the room and looking down the bench, everybody knew we could start with one goal and see what happened with that. It just helps building the group moving forward.”
Jhonas Enroth is slated to start in goal. He’s 10-3-1 in his past 14 games. He closed out the comeback with some huge saves in overtime and then blanking the Islanders in the shootout.
ON THE RISE
Chris Stewart has scored in back-to-back games and enters Monday’s contest on a four-game point streak (2+2). He believes that the wins on the road will come as long as the Sabres don’t stray from doing the little things that have helped them be successful at home.
“We’ve just got to stick to our gameplan,” he said after an optional morning skate. “On the road, when we get down a goal or down a couple goals, we tend to veer away from what we had planned from the get-go. We’ve just got to stick to the plan and things will fall into place.”
Stewart’s play has elevated in recent weeks. He has points in five of eight games since sitting out as a healthy scratch. Sabres coach Ted Nolan has been impressed with how Stewart’s responded.
“When he plays the way he’s capable of playing, he’s a very effective player and a player that a lot of teams would like. We’re lucky to have him right now. But playing the right way as Stewie has been, he’s very effective,” Nolan said. “He’s been playing the best I’ve seen him since we got him.”
The last few tilts between the Sabres and Senators have been close affairs. Nine of their past 11 matchups have been decided by a single goal, including each of the past five. In their last meeting on Dec. 15, Buffalo defeated Ottawa 5-4 in the shootout.
The Sabres will have some game-time decisions to make on the blue line. Tyson Strachan, who has missed four games with a lower-body injury, Andrej Meszaros, who was given a maintenance day yesterday and Mark Pysyk, who was recalled from the American Hockey League on Sunday, were all on the ice for the morning skate.
Nolan said that Meszaros will be further evaluated by team doctors and that they’ll decide after warmups who will dress for the game.
The team will be without defensemen Tyler Myers and Rasmus Ristolainen. Myers will miss his fourth game in a row due to a lower-body injury. Ristolainen did not make the trip either as he recovers from the flu. Ristolainen left last game early in the second period.
Buffalo is also missing forwards Torrey Mitchell (lower body), Marcus Foligno (hand) and captain Brian Gionta (upper body).