Sabres' stick with Nilsson

October 27, 2016 - 8:28 am
Anders Nilsson will get his second straight start tonight in the arena against Minnesota. Robin Lehner is feeling a little bit better, but still hasn’t rejoined the team for practice.
Tonight it’s the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer Night in Buffalo. Nilsson is wearing a special mask for the game that will be auctioned off for the cause. Nilsson just got the mask this morning and says there is no break-in period for masks, “Yes, it’s exactly the same model that I have so it’s not much different, just the look of it and the color, so it’s exactly the same one.”
Nilsson said this is a very worthy cause to him and he’s thankful that his family has never been touched by cancer.
The Sabres come home after blowing a 3-0 third period lead in Philadelphia. They did get a point, but nobody in that locker room was satisfied. In the last 25 minutes of that game, the shot attempts were 41-9 in favor of the “tired” Flyers. The decision making by many was horrendous and led to numerous turnovers.
When a team is mentally weak, can they turn that around? Brian Gionta said, “It’s recognizing the mistakes that led to breakdowns, that led to turnovers, that led to goals and the turnovers are killing us.”
“We need to do a better job of playing more direct and how you do that is if Foligno has the puck on the wall and I’m pushing the pace, you’ve got to be calling where you want it and keep it away from the middle.”
Right before Dmitry Kulikov’s penalty late in the third period in Philadelphia, Johan Larsson tried to carry the puck through the middle with a two goal lead. He turned it over and you know the rest. The simple play actually would’ve produced a great offensive chance as going off the wall to Gionta would’ve produced a 2-on-1.
Dan Bylsma feels that repetition on the ice and in the film room is important to become mentally stronger in tough spots. The Head Coach said, “I think it’s all those things. I also think it’s developing the mentality of how we need to execute and where we need to execute.” Bylsma added, “Time and space in a game and you’re in the third period, you need a puck deep, you need a puck over the blue line and not looking to make a play and not looking to make a 2-on-2 play. It’s 3-1 and the mentality even to start the game it’s growing the mentality of how we’re going to play as a group and that’s something we have to improve on.”
It seems to me that Ryan O’Reilly is not playing at 100 percent, but Bylsma said he is no longer dealing with his early season injury at all.
The Sabres are already nine points behind the first place Canadiens. The one point in Philadelphia got the Sabres up to 26th overall in the NHL.
Buffalo’s penalty kill has gone from great to horrendous. The Sabres killed off their first 11 penalties of the season. Since then, they’ve killed off 3 of 7. Overall that has Buffalo 19th.
The power play this season is 6-of-25, good for 9th in the NHL. Matt Moulson has four of the six power play goals which lead the league.
At 4-2-1 under new coach Bruce Boudreau, Minnesota leads the Central Division. With that being said the Wild has just one win in three games as they wrap up a four game road trip.
Eric Staal signed with Minnesota in the off season and has five points in the first seven games.
Defenseman Ryan Suter is the team’s leading scorer with seven points in seven games.
Former Sabre Jason Pominville has two goals and three points while Chris Stewart has four points.
Devan Dubnyk has performed very well in his three career games against Buffalo. He’s 2-1-0 with a 1.64 goals against and .932 save percentage.
Join Schopp and the Bulldog for the pregame live from 716 beginning at 6:00. They’ll be joined by Dan Bylsma, Brian Gionta and Anders Nilsson.
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