The Sabres try to break a seven-game losing streak to Carolina

Linus Ullmark gets his second straight start in net

Paul Hamilton
February 07, 2019 - 12:29 pm

Photo: James Guillory - USA TODAY Sports

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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The Sabres and the Hurricanes enter Thursday’s game three points out of a playoff spot in the East.

Buffalo beat Minnesota on Thursday, but haven’t won back-to-back games since December.

Carolina has won seven straight games against Buffalo. The Sabres are 3-5-2 in their last 10 against the Hurricanes.

The Sabres don’t beat the Wild without picking up two power play goals. It’s the first time the team scored two power play goals in a game since December 15 in Washington. Buffalo has not scored three goals in a game this season with the extra man.

The recent power play success has moved the Sabres up three spots overall to 18th. Carolina’s power play is worse at 26th. Recently, the Hurricanes are 1-for-17.

Linus Ullmark gets the start in goal after getting the win against Minnesota. Ullmark has gotten into the last three games and seven out of eight. He is 2-2 in his last four starts with stellar games in Calgary and Dallas. Phil Housley said, “He’s done a terrific job and sort of been dealt some bad hands on back-to-back situations, but has really risen to the occasion, but I really liked how he attacked the game against Minnesota, he was strong, I mean he’d like to get that last one back, but for the most part has provided us with some solid goaltending.

“I just like his attitude, he comes to the rink with a smile on his face, he’s ready to go to work and he’s provided some very good goaltending for us.”

Overall, the Sabres netminder is 11-5-3 with a 2.93 goals-against and .914 save percentage.

Johan Larsson returns after missing two games with an upper-body injury. Tage Thompson will take a seat. Housley said, “For me the last couple of games he wasn’t playing the game that he played in Columbus where he was attacking the game. He needs a little more battle and needs to show a little more speed, so he’s going to take a step back and he’ll get another opportunity.”

Jack Eichel has points in five out of six games. During that time, he has two goals and five assists for seven points.

In early November, Sam Reinhart caught fire. In 39 games, he has 12 goals and 29 assists for 41 points. That’s an 86-point pace.

Points are starting to come more often for Casey Mittelstadt as he has points in five out of seven games.

Carolina comes in with three wins in four games. The Hurricanes are 11-4-1 in their last 16 games. Housley said, “It’s great we’re facing a team that’s been playing very good hockey as of late, they seem to have found their stride and they don’t give you a lot of room. Analytically they’re very good at both ends of the rink, so expect a tight game.”

Curtis McElhinney is coming off a 23-save shutout of the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Petr Mrazek had played in five out of six games before that, giving up four goals in three of them. Mrazek has a horrendous .894 save percentage, while McElhinney’s is .918.

Sebastian Aho scored two goals on Buffalo in Carolina and has 24 goals and 60 points on the season in 53 games.

Since coming over from Minnesota, Nino Niederreiter has five goals and six points in seven games.

Jordan Staal has missed 24-of-26 games due to injury.

Join Schopp and the Bulldog for the pre-game live from (716) Food and Sport when they’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Jake McCabe and Rasmus Ristolainen.

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