The Buffalo Sabres will try to pull out of a four-game skid when they visit the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.
The Sabres are 0-3-1 during their current slide, the latest defeat coming Monday in a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in which they allowed four goals in the second period. It was the second straight game Buffalo gave up as many in the middle frame, after also allowing four in a 7-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
After putting his lines in a blender for Monday’s game, coach Don Granato reunited the top line of Tage Thompson, Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch in the third period. The trio remained intact at practice Tuesday while the remaining three lines were once again tweaked.
“When you switch those things up, it’s a whole team that has to focus and we need that,” Granato said after Monday’s game. “We need our guys to get back to that whole team (approach) and how we need to play as a team. We’ll get it. They’ll get it. There’s no question about it. It’s frustrating because it’s not here yet, but it’s gonna happen. There’s no doubt about it with this group.”
While the Sabres remain among the top teams in the NHL in goals scored and goals per game, the offense has hit a wall of late, with just seven goals in their past four games. Their power play has also gone dry over the past month, converting only six times on 44 opportunities over the past 15 games.
“Sometimes we look for the perfect play, and a lot of power-play goals come off scramble and chaos,” Dylan Cozens said. “Whether it’s me or (Rasmus Dahlin), it’s just throwing pucks on the net and getting those back and creating chaos off that and scoring off that, that’s something we need to do more of, I think. I have to start shooting more and being more of a shooting threat. Dahls can shoot some, too.”
The Ducks will try to rebound after being outscored 13-5 in their past two games, in losses to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday and Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday.
Anaheim headed into the third period against Vegas tied 2-2 before allowing five goals in the final frame.
The two losses ended a rare stretch of success for the club, which had gone 4-0-1 in its previous five outings.
“We just fell apart trying to do everybody else’s job in our own zone,” coach Dallas Eakins said after the game Sunday.
Keeping the puck out of their own net has been a season-long struggle for the Ducks, who have allowed a league-most 220 goals and are averaging 4.07 goals-against per game. Goalie John Gibson has seen at least four goals go by him in seven of his past 10 starts.
Trevor Zegras continues to lead the Ducks with 19 goals and 45 points. The 21-year-old has 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in his past 17 games, including a two-goal, three-point outing against the Sabres in Buffalo on Jan. 21.
–Field Level Media