The Buffalo Sabres will try to snap a two-game losing streak when they host the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.
Buffalo fell 4-3 to the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday. The Sabres had two early one-goal leads, but watched both disappear and lost after entering the third period tied at 2-2.
“I think we had enough chances to put more on the board and that was the difference for me,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “You’re going to give up some goals. I thought we had chances to get ahead of them, it might’ve been a different game at that point going 2-2 into the third. … That’s a really, really good hockey team, obviously. They took advantage of a few opportunities. We had enough, generated enough chances that we could’ve won, all the way to the end.”
Sabres goalie Eric Comrie returned to the lineup for the first time since Nov. 16 and made 18 saves on 22 shots. Before his injury, Comrie had been sharing the starts in Buffalo, but he has now lost his last five and has not won a start since Nov. 2 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I mean, it’s gonna take time,” said Comrie. “This is my first game in a long time in the NHL. You’re not just stepping into the easiest environment in the world. You’re stepping into the best league in the world. Yeah, I felt fine, but there’s still a feeling I wasn’t quite all there, if you know what I mean.”
The Sabres’ goaltending carousel is now set for another spin. Comrie is back in the fold, but Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen is still expected to push for starts, though he is currently dealing with an illness, while veteran Craig Anderson has needed extra days between games.
As of Wednesday, it still wasn’t clear which goalie would get the nod against Winnipeg.
The Jets are coming of a 7-5 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, when their normally stellar goaltending struggled. Connor Hellebuyck, an MVP candidate this season, allowed six goals on 22 shots.
“Connor is our guy, we all know that,” Winnipeg coach Rick Bowness said. “He’s won a lot of games for us for this year, and he’ll win a lot more. We could have scored enough goals to win this game, but we didn’t get there.”
Bowness indicated he’d likely turn back to Hellebuyck against Buffalo, a show of confidence in his goalie.
While the goaltending needs a reset, the Jets offense has continued to roll and even in the loss scored at least four goals for the third straight game.
Kyle Connor leads the Jets with 50 points (20 goals, 30 assists), while Pierre-Luc Dubois is close behind with 48 (19 goals, 29 assists). Defenseman Josh Morrissey was elected to next month’s NHL All-Star Game and has 46 points and a team-high 39 assists in 41 games.
Buffalo’s Tage Thompson has established himself as an MVP candidate this season and leads the Sabres with 57 points (31 goals, 26 assists) and leads the NHL with three hat tricks this season.
Rasmus Dahlin has been an offensive force from the blue line with 46 points (13 goals, 33 assists) while Alex Tuch (45 points) and Jeff Skinner (41) have both crossed the 40-point threshold in fewer than 40 games.
–Field Level Media