Sabres' Johansson is not feeling comfortable with the puck

Marcus Johansson said it has to do with his sticks

Paul Hamilton
December 02, 2019 - 10:38 pm
marcus Johansson

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports


Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Marcus Johansson came into Monday’s game with just four goals in 20 games. The forward thought he’d be able to do better in his new home, but he said he’s been having some problems, “My hands haven’t felt right and things haven’t felt like myself with the puck, and it’s something I’m working on to get that feel back."

Johansson normally plays a solid game, but there’s just not much production. He said, “It’s confidence with the puck and doing what I’m good at hasn’t been where it normally is, and it’s something I’m working on to try to get back.

“I think it’s more the fact that I switched sticks that hasn’t felt right.”

Players are very particular about their sticks, and Johansson thinks just that minor change has affected him, “I’ve changed the model a little bit. Bauer came out with a new model, but it’s the same curve and same stick otherwise, but it hasn’t felt right since then.”

I had wondered if this was the first time this had happened to Johansson in his career, he said, “I’ve had different sticks before that haven’t felt right.”

The Sabres trounced New Jersey 7-1 on Monday, yet Johansson had no points. Ralph Krueger thinks that many things have caught up to Johansson, “Marcus has taken a lot on his shoulders here. He understands the need for expanded leadership, and Marcus took so much on his shoulders here through training camp and into the start of the season that it’s probably taken something away from his game.”

Despite the problems, Krueger thinks Johansson is playing better than most think, “We’re confident with the work ethic he has, but he’s just got to take it a little easier on himself to get out of the funk that he feels he’s in, although we don’t see it as bad as he does.”

Johansson hasn’t scored in 11 games and has just three assists in that time.

In the win over the Devils, Conor Sheary scored twice, which gave him his first goal in 20 games. Johan Larsson notched three assists, while Jack Eichel extended his points streak to 10 games. In the streak, Eichel has nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points.

Rasmus Asplund also scored his first NHL goal in the win.

Buffalo is 3-1-2 in its last six games, which is eight out of 12 points. Overall, the Sabres have 31 points, which ties them with Florida for second place in the Atlantic Division.

The Sabres have off until Thursday when they visit Calgary.

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