The Sabres host Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

Florida has passed the Sabres, putting them in 12th place in the East

Paul Hamilton
March 01, 2019 - 12:41 pm

Photo: Kevin Hoffman - USA TODAY Sports


Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The Sabres watched another team go by them in the standings as Florida has passed them by. Buffalo is now in 12th place in the Eastern Conference, eight points out of the playoffs.

Things have reached the point now that the Sabres will have to go on another lengthy winning streak or we won’t be talking about meaningful games in March. Phil Housley said, “We’ve done a really good job this year of just focusing on the day or the next day, we’re not looking too far ahead.

“We realize the position we’re in and we realize the position Pittsburgh is in, but what we can control is how we play, how we manage the game and our effort and attitude.”

The Sabres host Pittsburgh tonight. The two teams have only played once this season and the Sabres won in overtime 5-4.

That was the game where the Sabres were behind 4-1 just five minutes into the second period. Zach Bogosian and Casey Nelson brought the Sabres back to 4-3 before the second period was over and then in the third, Casey Mittelstadt scored to send things to overtime. Jack Eichel won it just 45 seconds into the OT session.

That win was in the 10-game winning streak and Housley said, “I just think the vibe of the team to that point, we were going through a very, very good stretch and we had a lot of confidence. We never frayed, we knew if we kept playing the full 60, we’d get back into the game and we have to get back to that belief.” Housley added, “It’s just those critical times where we’ve got to be more composed.”

Buffalo has won just one of seven games giving up 10 goals in the last two to Philadelphia and Toronto. If you look at it since the All-Star break it’s been 11 games and it’s been a one goal game going into the third period and we’ve got to find ways to be composed in the critical times of the game and it’s still a learning process for our team, but at the same time, this is a result oriented business.”

The Sabres have a power play goal in three straight games, but it’s only resulted in one win.

Jack Eichel has points in six straight games scoring four goals and four assists for eight points. In his last 17 games, Eichel has 20 points.

Matt Hunwick and Tage Thompson will be in the lineup for the injured Marco Scandella and Vladimir Sobotka.

Carter Hutton is OK and will backup Linus Ullmark. Ullmark has lost his last three games posting a 4.40 goals against and .878 save percentage.

Pittsburgh has big injuries on the defense. Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, Brian Dumoulin and Chad Ruhwedel have all been out.

Sidney Crosby missed that November game against the Sabres and it’s a good thing because in 37 games against Buffalo, Crosby has 19 goals and 38 assists for 57 points.

Evgeni Malkin also feasts on the Sabres. He too has played 37 games and has 15 goals and 33 assists for 48 points.

Pittsburgh has won one of its last three games. Matt Murray has played six of the Pens last eight games going 4-1-1. In that time Murray has had a .924 save percentage and 2.81 goals against.

Casey DeSmith has given up 14 goals in his last three starts.

Join Pat Malacaro and Brian Koziol at 6:00 for the pregame when they’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Jeff Skinner and Conor Sheary.

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