Feeling at home on the road, the Buffalo Sabres will look to get back on track when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.
The Sabres have won 12 of their 19 road games this season and six of their past seven away from Buffalo, most recently earning a 5-3 triumph over the Nashville Predators on Saturday. They arrive in Chicago after another home defeat, as they fell 4-1 to the Florida Panthers on Monday.
It was the Sabres’ fourth loss in their past five games, with all of the defeats occurring in Buffalo.
“We have to play a little simpler at times and try not to have any turnovers in the neutral zone,” Sabres forward Alex Tuch said.
After going on a tear through the first 2 1/2 months of the season, Buffalo center Tage Thompson has hit a lull of late. He has been held without a goal in five straight games, his longest drought of the season.
His success along with that of linemates Tuch and Jeff Skinner has opponents paying extra attention when they are on the ice. While Tuch scored Monday and Skinner scored Saturday, they know their game isn’t where they want it to be.
“We weren’t good, especially defensively,” Tuch said of his line after the loss to the Panthers. “We’ve got to be better. We’ve got to make better plays coming out of our zone, we have to bear down a little bit more defensively, especially if it’s not happening offensively. We have to help the team win in any way possible, and we didn’t do that (Monday).”
Forward Peyton Krebs is expected to be back in the Buffalo lineup after two games on loan to Rochester of the American Hockey League in a paper transaction that allowed the Sabres to keep goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen on the roster. Luukkonen, who played Monday’s game, is expected to be the latest paper transaction to allow Krebs to be recalled.
Craig Anderson and Eric Comrie are expected to be the two Sabres goalies dressed against Chicago, but who starts was unknown. Comrie has played one game since returning from a lower-body injury that kept him out 20 games.
The Blackhawks enter the Tuesday game looking to bounce back after an embarrassing 8-5 loss to the Seattle Kraken on Saturday, an outing in which they gave up six goals on the first seven shots they faced.
The defeat snapped a three-game winning streak for Chicago, its first string of victories since winning four in a row from Oct. 15-25.
“Everybody was grumpy,” Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said after practice Monday. “They got used to winning, they got used to being smiley and happy around the rink, and they did not want to lose.”
Chicago allowed just five goals in its recent three wins but has given up 27 goals in its past six losses.
The Blackhawks are the worst offensive team in the NHL. They have scored a league-low 94 goals.
Forward Max Domi has been a bright spot in a miserable season for the Blackhawks. He leads the team with 13 goals and 30 points and is second to Patrick Kane with 17 assists. Domi has two goals and four assists in his past five games.
–Field Level Media