The Sabres play a much improved Winnipeg team

January 5, 2018

Winnipeg, MB (WGR 550) - After playing one of their worst games of the season in St. Paul, the Sabres get right back to work tonight in Winnipeg.

With travel and customs, the team got in late so there was no morning skate. That means we won’t know if it’ll be Chad Johnson or Robin Lehner until Phil Housley speaks at 5:45.

Both goalies played in last night’s 6-2 debacle against the Wild. Lehner gave up six goals and made 11 saves in 40 minutes of work. Johnson stopped all 10 shots he saw in the third period.

Lehner wasn’t sharp, but the defensive coverage on all six goals couldn’t have been worse.

Rasmus Ristolainen was completely unaware of his man on the first goal and then received a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct after playing just six shifts. Ristolainen didn’t really want to talk about the play on fellow countryman Mikko Koivu, “I don’t really want to say too much, I didn’t try to hurt him, a good thing he didn’t get injured (he did get cut rather badly) and it kind of sucks that I couldn’t help the guys.”   

That left Marco Scandella, Zach Bogosian, Jake McCabe, Nate Beaulieu and Justin Falk to pick up the slack and they all failed miserably. On the postgame show Beaulieu said, “We knew they were going to come out flying, especially here and it’s tough. It’s just frustrating right now, it was just bad reads, just like on the second goal, I made a bad read, I thought he was going to kick it out and he walked through.

“We just played outside our structure and I don’t know why we did.”

Sam Reinhart scored one of the Sabres goals which give him two in two games. Evander Kane also broke out of a slump with a late goal. Kane had come into the game with one goal in eight games.

Jason Pominville continues to struggle with no goals in 11 games.

The Sabres have won two straight in Winnipeg and have never won three in a row here in the history of the franchise.

Overall, the Sabres have won three straight against the Jets.

Buffalo is 5-11-7 away from home while Winnipeg has one of the best home records in the league at 14-3-1.

The Jets have a .646 points percentage which ranks them 5th overall behind Nashville, Boston, Vegas and Tampa Bay.

They’re 4th in the NHL on both the power play and goals scored. The Jets average 3.29 goals per game.

Patrik Laine has 18 goals in 41 games. The Jets leading scorer Blake Wheeler has 47 points in 41 games which is 8th in the NHL.

Connor Hellebuyck has been fantastic in goal this season. He’s 21-4-6 with a 2.38 goals against and .922 save percentage.

The Jets are going to have to be without Mark Scheifele for a while. He’s out six-to-eight weeks with an upper body injury. Scheifele has 38 points in 38 games this season.

Former Sabre Joel Armia has been a solid contributor in the Jets bottom six. The former number one pick has six goals and 10 assists for 16 points.

Another former Sabre, Tyler Myers has five goals and 14 assists for 19 points in his 57 games.

Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov was never offered a contract last summer to stay in Buffalo. He has two goals and eight assists for 10 points.

Taylor Fedun has missed 23 games with an ankle injury. He must be almost ready to go since he’s been sent to Rochester.

Join Brian Koziol for the pregame at 7:00 when he’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Sam Reinhart and hopefully one other player.