Five goals in the five games. Outshot 192-128 in five games. With numbers like that, it is no wonder why the Buffalo Sabres (19-40-8) have lost five straight games.
On Sunday, Buffalo will try to wipe out its losing streak against the Montreal Canadiens (36-25-7) at the First Niagara Center.
The Sabres are coming off of another dismal loss on Saturday night to the New York Islanders. The Islanders got off to a 2-0 lead after the first period. After a scoreless second period, Tyler Ennis got Buffalo on the board on the power play to cut the deficit to one goal. Just 40-seconds later, Ryan Strome beat Jhonas Enroth to regain the two goal lead for the Islanders. The Islanders would add an empty-net goal to finish off its 4-1 win.
Following the loss, Sabres interim head coach Ted Nolan had their chances but the mistakes are their downfall.
“I thought we played ok,” Nolan said. “The big killer for us was getting the first goal to make it 2-1, then the next shift we make another not smart play [by standing] up at center ice, and they go 2-on-1. It’s just the same mistakes over and over again.”
Tyler Ennis scored his 18th goal of the year against the Islanders, and has arguably been Buffalo’s best forward in the losing streak. Ennis has points in four straight games (2+2), and seven points (5+2) in nine games since the Olympic break. Ennis now leads all Sabres players in scoring with his 18 goals and also 36 points.
Jhonas Enroth made 34 saves on 37 shots faced in the loss. Enroth is feels the pressure when he is faces the amount of shots he has faced recently.
“Obviously there’s a little bit of pressure,” Enroth said. “I’m trying to play well under pressure and trying to handle it well. I’m trying to keep it 0-0 in my head.”
It was announced earlier on Sunday that the Sabres have recalled goaltender Nathan Lieuwen from the Rochester Americans on emergency basis. It is apparent that Michal Neuvirth is nursing a lower-body injury and will unavailable for Sunday’s game. It is unknown whether or not Enroth or Lieuwen will start in net for the Sabres.
For the Canadiens, they come into Sunday’s game after coming back from a 4-1 deficit against the Ottawa Senators to win 5-4 in overtime. Forward David Desharnais tied the game with 0.4 seconds left on the clock, and defenseman Francois Boullion scored the game-winning goal to solidify the win.
Montreal has announced that goaltender Carey Price has not traveled to Buffalo after reinjuring himself on Saturday’s game against the Senators. It was Price’s first game in the Canadiens’ net since winning the gold medal in the Sochi Olympics.
Dustin Tokarski will be in net for Montreal on Sunday evening.
The Sabres continue to suffer injury problems on defense. Sabres rookie defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen was recalled on Saturday from the Rochester Americans due to injuries to Tyler Myers (elbow), Mike Weber (ankle / foot), and Alex Sulzer (upper-body injury). Ristolainen and defenseman Chad Ruhwedel are both on emergency for the Sabres while the defense continues to nurse their injuries.
At forward, Torrey Mitchell (bruised foot) and Zemgus Girgensons (lower-body) remain out for the Sabres, but both are expected to return before the season’s end. Chris Stewart is not expected to return the rest of the year with a high ankle sprain.
Besides Price, the Canadiens are without forward Michael Bournival (concussion) and defenseman Josh Gorges (hand). Both are on injured reserve and expected to miss some time for Montreal.
Opening face-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be televised on MSG on aired on WGR 550 AM.