The Sabres will look for points in New Jersey

Buffalo is five points out of a playoff spot and falling after a bad homestand

Paul Hamilton
February 17, 2019 - 12:34 pm

Photo: Ed Mulholland - USA TODAY Sports


Newark, NJ (WGR 550) - The Sabres didn’t have a morning skate, but Kyle Okposo and Zach Bogosian did go over to the rink since they didn’t practice on Saturday.

Buffalo is expected to get Casey Mittelstadt back after missing two games. He said he felt great after Saturday and added, “I felt good today, it’s good to see yourself moving forward and taking steps, so it was a very positive note.”

This is the first time Mittelstadt missed any games in the NHL due to injury. He said it’s not easy, “It was tough, you always want to be out there playing and sometimes being up top watching can get tough, so it was a good learning experience. I got to figure out the whole rehab situation and skated with Dennis Miller once.”

Many players say the game looks easy when you’re watching from the press box. Mittelstadt said, “It’s good for me to get to watch from up there, you get to see all the space and where certain players get to go and where you get the puck with some room.”

The Sabres gave up 28 goals in their seven-game homestand. Linus Ullmark played in parts of six of those games, giving up 19 goals, including five in the last game to the Rangers. I would expect Carter Hutton to face the Devils.

Hutton was good in his last start, losing 3-1 to Winnipeg. Overall, he’s 15-16-3 with a 2.84 goals-against and .910 save percentage. He made 20 saves in a 5-1 win over New Jersey in January.

Marco Scandella is currently not on the trip, which means either Casey Nelson, Matt Hunwick or Nate Beaulieu will play on Sunday. If Okposo is well enough to play, either C.J. Smith or Zemgus Girgensons will likely come out.

The Sabres just can’t string any wins together and they’re starting to lose touch in the playoff race. Montreal holds the first Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference with 69 points. Carolina has jumped into the second Wild Card spot with 68 points. Pittsburgh has 67, Buffalo has 63 and Philadelphia has 61.

The Devils are only ahead of Ottawa in the East, but some of that can be traced to not having Taylor Hall for the last 23 games. Blake Coleman will also miss his fourth straight game. Hall has 37 points in 33 games this season, while Coleman is second on the Devils with 18 goals.

All-Star winger Kyle Palmieri has 25 goals this season and leads New Jersey in scoring.

Nico Hischier has picked up nine points in his last 10 games. Last year’s first overall pick has 17 goals and 25 assists for 42 points in 54 games.

Cory Schneider will only play his 14th game of the season. He’s 1-7-2 and picked up his first win last game over Minnesota in relief of Keith Kinkaid. Schneider had an unheard of skid before the win over the Wild. Coming into that game, he had gone 0-17-4.

Join Brian Koziol at 5:00 for the pre-game when he’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Casey Mittelstadt and Rasmus Dahlin.

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