As the Buffalo Sabres try to come to grips again with another wildly inconsistent season, players such as forward Kyle Okposo say the organization is benefiting from the addition of new coach Ralph Krueger.
The Sabres started hot this season — a repeat of a year ago when they authored a 10-game winning streak under former coach Phil Housley in November. That stretch put Buffalo atop the NHL standings, but the bottom soon fell out for the Sabres.
Housley was relieved of his duties after two seasons last April. Okposo said the hiring of Krueger has been a major asset, especially in the wake of a loss.
“You just come to work and it’s a new day. There’s no moping around, there’s no hard feelings,” Okposo said of Krueger’s approach. “You’re going to lose games in this league. Just the positivity and just the way that he speaks and motivates has been awesome for us this year.”
The Sabres surely will lean on Krueger when the Atlantic Division club plays in Dallas against the Stars on Thursday night. Puck drop on the teams’ lone meeting in the Lone Star State this season is set for 8:30 p.m. ET.
Buffalo played a strong game Tuesday night and won its second straight and fourth in six games by turning to superstar Jack Eichel for the tiebreaking tally in a 4-2 win over Vegas. Eichel beat goalie Marc-Andre Fleury on the short side at 7:57 for the game-winner.
Said Krueger: “It was definitely the genius that he has in him that came out on that goal.”
Eichel’s 28th goal gave him 61 points this season. Eichel is the first Buffalo player to score 60 points in 46 games or less since Alexander Mogilny (33 games) and Pat LaFontaine (34) did so in the 1992-93 season.
The Sabres announced Tuesday that forward Tage Thompson will be out for the remainder of the season after he had shoulder surgery.
According to Dallas coach Rick Bowness, the Stars put together a subpar performance in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night but still rallied for a 3-2 win after defenseman Esa Lindell, who normally provides little offense, notched the game-winner in overtime.
Dallas trailed 2-0 in the first period and was outshot 43-30 in the game.
“We weren’t very good at all,” Bowness said. “We did respond, and that’s a sign of a really good hockey club, and we are. But we’re not going to be able to play like that very often and get away with it.”
–Field Level Media