Sabres' Mittelstadt is questionable for Tuesday's game

The center left the morning skate early

Paul Hamilton
February 12, 2019 - 1:16 pm

Photo: John Hefti - USA TODAY Sports


Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Things weren’t ideal for the Sabres on Tuesday after the morning skate. Casey Mittelstadt left the ice early and Phil Housley said he’s a game-time decision with a lower-body injury. If he can’t go, C.J. Smith will be back in.

The Sabres have an uphill task in front of them with the New York Islanders. This team is No. 1 in the NHL with a 2.33 goals-against average.

The Isles lead the Metropolitan Division and are fourth in the NHL with a points percentage of .655. They are 9-1-2 in their last 12 games and 19-4-2 in their last 25.

When you talk about save percentage, former Sabre Robin Lehner is at .930 and Thomas Greiss is .927 They are the top-two in the NHL. Jason Pominville knows it won’t be easy, but he thinks they can break through, “We need to make them play defense, use our speed and make their D have to turn.

“They have good defense, but they also have great team speed, they work extremely hard, they take pride in playing well defensively. We have to make them earn their breakouts.”

In the first game against the Islanders, the Sabres lost 3-1. They did get 40 shots on Lehner, but couldn’t beat him. Housley said, “The way we can manage it is make good puck decisions and make them earn a breakout after and create a good gap in the neutral zone, then we can find some space, but it starts with our puck decisions.”

Mathew Barzal leads the Islanders with 16 goals and 32 assists for 48 points in 55 games.

Linus Ullmark climbs back into the crease for the Sabres. He beat Detroit on Saturday, making 28 saves in a 3-1 win.

In his last three starts, Ullmark is 2-0-1, but his goals-against is 4.82. Overall, Ullmark is 12-5-4 with a 2.97 goals-against and .911 save percentage.

The Sabres are four points behind Columbus and Pittsburgh for the playoffs. They also need to get past Carolina, which is one point ahead. The Hurricanes are in Ottawa, while the Blue Jackets are home against Washington.

The Sabres have done much better in secondary scoring, but are still getting absolutely no scoring from too many forwards. Vladimir Sobotka hasn’t scored in 39 games, Zemgus Girgensons has no goals in 20 games and Johan Larsson hasn’t scored in 14 games. None of those players are here to score goals, but you can’t get absolutely no goals from three of your 12 forwards.

Zach Bogosian didn’t skate on Tuesday morning and won’t play. Housley said he is still day-to-day. Nate Beaulieu is the healthy scratch.

Join Schopp and the Bulldog for the pre-game starting at 6:00 live from (716) Food and Sport when they’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella.

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