Sabres hoping to create ‘different energy’ vs. Kings

NHL Hockey

The Buffalo Sabres will look to make it three straight wins when they visit the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday.

The Sabres, who have won five of their first seven games, are coming off a 4-3 overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday. Buffalo held a 3-0 second-period lead before giving it up and emerging with the win.

“I think they wanted to do better the other night performance-wise; the result was the result, but they wanted better,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “I think that’s the attitude going into (Sunday) – demand better than the other night.”

Sunday’s tilt will be the first time the Sabres make a non-injury-related lineup change with winger Brett Murray set to draw in for John Hayden. There were also changes to three of the four lines, with wingers getting moved around.

“Just a different look, different energy,” Granato said. “The guys seemed to be excited. Just thought it was time.”

One line that won’t see a change is the trio of Tage Thompson between Rasmus Asplund and Victor Olofsson. Asplund had two goals Thursday, including the overtime winner, and Olofsson had two assists after scoring two goals Monday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Olofsson leads the Sabres with four goals and eight points, and his four assists are second on the team.

“I feel like ever since I got to North America, I’ve been working very hard to get better without the puck, get better defensively,” Olofsson said. “I feel like I’ve been making progress. I also want to be better with the puck and create more chances offensively, so I think I’m on the right track.

“I just feel more confident. I feel like I’ve been creating more 5-on-5, not only for myself but for my teammates, too. I feel good out there.”

Dustin Tokarski will get the start in goal for Buffalo.

Cody Eakin, who has missed the past four games with an upper-body injury, once again practiced with the team Saturday but isn’t expected to play.

The Kings head into the contest fresh off a 5-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, their first win since opening night, snapping a six-game slide during which they went 0-5-1.

“It’s huge,” forward Rasmus Kupari said of the win. “We’ve been in these kinds of situations a few times, after two periods having a 2-1 lead and we’ve given up that. It was huge for our confidence. Every guy did a really good job. Let’s keep it going and take all of the positives.”

One of those positives is the work of the power play, which connected three times on five opportunities.

“It gave us a cushion, it gave us some comfort, it gave us confidence,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “We’ve been waiting for that to happen. When you score like that on your power play, other parts of your game come along with it. You get confident.”

Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with 11 points (six goals, five assists) through eight games. Nine of those points have come in the four games the Kings have played on home ice.

–Field Level Media

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