The Buffalo Sabres (20-42-8) continue their road trip after snapping their seven-game losing streak against the Edmonton Oilers. On Sunday, the Sabres travel to British Columbia to play against the Vancouver Canucks (32-30-10) from the Rogers Arena.
On Thursday, Cory Conacher helped lift the Sabres over their seven-game slump in Edmonton. Conacher scored two goals, including the game-winning goal just 1:09 into the third period of Sunday’s win. After the game, Conacher was relieved to get his first win as a member of the Sabres.
“First win as a Sabre, it’s definitely nice. I think we deserved that one tonight,” Conacher said. “We kept it pretty simple tonight for the most part. We ran into a bit of penalty trouble, but our [penalty kill] came up huge. I gotta give them a lot of credit when I took that penalty late in the third. It was a big kill for us. [Matt] Hackett played a phenomenal game in net. It was definitely nice to get that win on the road.”
Drew Stafford continues his impressive scoring streak over the past several games. In the past seven games, Stafford has scored five goals and one assist in that span.
Stafford has taken over a leadership role on the Sabres since the departure of Steve Ott and Ryan Miller. With the way the Sabres’ season has played out, Stafford will take a victory any way they can.
“The way this year has gone, the challenges we’ve gone through, we’ll take any win at this point regardless of who it’s against,” Stafford said. “I thought it was one of our more complete efforts. We fought some discipline issues, we had some great [penalty kill], and also got more than one goal. It was a big start for us and a big win.”
Following Sunday’s game, Ted Nolan was relieved to get the seven-game losing streak behind them.
“It’s good to finally have a decent game,” Nolan said. “When you lose, you get what you deserve. We weren’t playing very well, but tonight we got what we deserved.”
For the Canucks, they are coming off of a 2-0 victory over the Nashville Predators on Wednesday night. Eddie Lack made 30 saves to register his fourth shutout of the season.
Since the NHL Trade Deadline, it has been a roller coaster of consistency for the Canucks. Vancouver has gone 4-4 in the eight games played since March 5, and has been outscored 27-22 in that span. Vancouver will look to win two games in a row for the first time since January 18 and January 21.
On the injury front for the Sabres, Michal Neuvirth is still listed as day-to-day for the Sabres with a lower-body injury and will not dress for Sunday’s game. Tyler Myers (elbow), Alex Sulzer (upper-body) and Zemgus Girgensons (lower-body) all remain out indefinitely for the Sabres.
For the Canucks, Alex Burrows suffered a lacerated thumb in Wednesday’s game and could be out for Sunday’s matchup. Former RIT defenseman Alex Tanev could miss the rest of the regular season with a broken finger. Ryan Kesler suffered a sprained knee over a week ago, and could make it back in time to help Vancouver on their playoff push. He will not be expected to play against the Sabres. Daniel Sedin is expected to return for the Canucks after suffering a strained hamstring in early March.
Nathan Lieuwen will get the start for the Sabres on Sunday, while Eddie Lack is going to get the start again for Vancouver.
Opening face-off is scheduled for 8pm. The game can be seen on MSG Network and can be heard on WGR 550 AM.