The Buffalo Sabres closed out 2022 on a red-hot run. Now they’ll look to maintain that momentum as they kick off the new year with a visit to the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.
The Sabres are riding a six-game winning streak after a 4-3 overtime victory against the Boston Bruins on Saturday. It was also their eighth win in the past 10 games, and they are 11-3-2 since losing eight straight in regulation. They led the Bruins 2-1 after two periods but then found themselves trailing 3-2 with just over seven minutes remaining in regulation.
“We just found a way, and that shows the kind of team we are this year,” said Alex Tuch, who scored the game-winner, one of his two goals and four points in the contest. “We don’t want to back down from anyone, and we know when adversity (happens), we can overcome it and win hockey games.”
They’ve outscored their opponents 28-12 during their six-game streak, with at least three goals scored in each game and at least four on five occasions. Buffalo leads the NHL with an average of four goals per game and has scored 136 goals just one behind league-leading Dallas.
But while the Sabres continue to roll with the second-best active run in the NHL behind the Carolina Hurricanes’ 10-game winning streak, they believe they can take it further.
“Our guys want more, more and more,” coach Don Granato said. “Are we good relative to where we think and feel we can get to competing and working and progressing? That’s a mentality that these guys have had. Real competitive. They never settle, and they’ve got to continue that.”
The Senators head into the contest looking to bounce back after allowing four unanswered goals — including three in less than two minutes in the third period — in a 4-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, their fourth loss in their past six games (2-3-1).
Coach D.J. Smith said after the game it was “just not good enough” and noted the importance of moving on quickly.
“You have no choice,” he said. “You’ve got Buffalo tomorrow; they’ve won six or seven in a row. We’re at home and we have to be ready to play our game.”
Ottawa had been on a solid run over the past month, going 10-4-2 in its previous 16 games before the loss to Detroit and notching consecutive wins against the Bruins and Washington Capitals before Saturday’s tilt.
“We’ve got to get better from what we did in the second and third period (against Detroit), because if you go out there and do that against a Buffalo team who’s high-flying and as good offensively as anybody in the league, you’re not going to like it,” forward Austin Watson said.
Alex DeBrincat brings a five-game point streak into Sunday’s contest, with four goals and two assists in that span. The winger has been on a roll over the past month, with 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in his past 18 games.
Meanwhile, captain Brady Tkachuk has cooled off of late. After 20 points in 18 games from Nov. 12-Dec. 18, Tkachuk enters the matchup on a seven-game goal drought and with just two assists in his past five games.
–Field Level Media