The Buffalo Sabres have surrendered a high number of goals in recent games. On the bright side, they’ve been scoring a lot more than usual, too.
The Sabres will try to find answers in the defensive end while maintaining their offensive rhythm when they host the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night.
Buffalo has allowed 20 goals in the past three games while tallying 10. The Sabres have lost four in a row overall (0-3-1) and eight of nine (1-7-1).
“The best teams in the league can score goals and really make up for their mistakes, so we have to develop that,” Buffalo coach Don Granato said. “We have to keep becoming a better team.”
The Sabres spent time on Monday practicing some of the defensive details that have been slipping. Granato also wants his defensemen to be more alert and aggressive with joining the offensive rush.
“You’ve got to give your guys some rope to discern, but if they’re not learning from it, they’re going to hear from us more and they’re going to face more repercussions,” Granato said. “That’s kind of where we’re at.”
The Ducks are coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to the Capitals in Washington on Monday night.
After playing three games in four nights last week, Anaheim heads to Buffalo for the second of five road games in seven days.
“The schedule’s been relentless on our guys,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said.
The Ducks have managed to earn points in their past four games, however, going 2-0-2. Keeping that streak alive won’t be easy against the rested Sabres.
“It seems like every night’s a great test, I don’t care who you’re playing,” Eakins said. “We’ve had teams come (to Anaheim) that are way below us in the standings. I think that’s a different kind of test.”
Anaheim likely will start Anthony Stolarz in goal after John Gibson went the distance against the Capitals, making 26 saves.
Stolarz has won his each of past three starts, saving 96 of 102 shots overall.
Stolarz started against Buffalo on Oct. 28, when the Sabres capped their 5-1-1 start to the season with a 4-3 overtime win in Anaheim.
Buffalo goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen could make his NHL debut against the Ducks.
The 22-year-old from Finland was recalled Monday from Rochester of the American Hockey League, where he was the organization’s top prospect. His stats this season aren’t great, though: 6-6 with a 3.42 goals-against average and an .888 save percentage.
Craig Anderson, who started the season opener in goal for the Sabres, is out with an upper-body injury. Dustin Tokarski is in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, and Malcolm Subban sustained a lower-body injury in a 6-2 road loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, two days after he was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks.
The only other goalie on the roster is Aaron Dell, who is 0-5 with a 4.52 goals-against average and an .872 save percentage.
Granato wanted to wait until after the morning skate on Tuesday to decide who would start in goal against the Ducks.
“I don’t want to make that decision (Monday) because he hasn’t been with us for three days,” Granato said. “They’ve been going through COVID (in Rochester), so he hasn’t had the practice time because of that, so not sure on that yet, but could be the case.”
–Field Level Media