WINNIPEG – Buffalo Sabres coach Dan Bylsma was on the visiting bench for just the second game at MTS Centre after the Jets returned to Winnipeg in 2011. He recalled on Sunday morning just how loud the building was that day and in the games he's coached there since.
"It's pretty rancorous, loud; it's a tough building to play in," Bylsma said. "I think it's going to be that way for our whole team at the start of this game."
Linus Ullmark, his goaltender on Sunday afternoon, has no such experience. The rookie will start against the Jets looking to snap a six-game slide for the Sabres and a four-game personal losing streak. Ullmark allowed just two goals in three of those games.
"I think both our goalies feel this way a little bit in terms of their game and how they’ve played and Linus went through a stretch there of giving up two goals or less in a game and not getting a win," Bylsma said.
"That can be frustrating, not getting the results, but I think both guys have given us a chance to win pretty much every night with how they've played."
Bylsma said that 21 skaters will warm up on Sunday with Zemgus Girgensons remaining a game-time decision. Girgensons was absent from practice on Saturday for a maintenance day. With no extra forwards, the team would be forced to dress seven defensemen should he be unable to play.
The game will also mark the first return to Winnipeg for Zach Bogosian and Evander Kane since they were traded from the Jets to the Sabres in February. Both players discussed their expectations for the game after practice on Saturday.
Coverage on Sunday begins at 2:30 p.m. with Tops Sabres Gamenight on MSG-B and Bell TV. The game can also be heard live on WGR 550, with puck drop set for 3 p.m.