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Sabres look to add to their three game point streak

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550)  -- We’ve talked a lot about the Sabres wasting chances to pick up points and pretty much giving them back. One example would be in Philadelphia where the Sabres got out to a 3-0 lead only to lose and get just one point. In that game a parade to the penalty box cost them two power goals against. Dan Bylsma said, “Taking the penalties is what got us into that situation with that three goal lead in Philadelphia. There hadn’t been a lot of offense in the game for the Flyers to that point, there definitely hadn’t been 5-on-5 and we went to the penalty box three times in that third period and suffered the consequences against a very good power play.”
The Flyers power play is ranked 9th in the league at 21.5 percent. The Sabres are 6th at 21.9 percent.
Robin Lehner will not dress for tonight’s game due to the flu. That means Anders Nilsson gets his third start in four games. Nilsson held the Rangers to just one goal in a win at Madison Square Garden. The Blackhawks got four by him despite 39 saves in just under 61 minutes of work.
Nilsson is 6-3-4 with a 2.47 goals against and .926 save percentage.
The Sabres are hoping that the last three games will finally allow them to put together a streak that can help them make up ground in the standings. Buffalo has picked up five of six points which has them tied with Detroit, three behind Tampa Bay, five in back of Toronto and Florida and seven behind Ottawa. Buffalo has games in hand on the Panthers, Lightning and Red Wings. They’re eight in back of the Bruins with four games in hand.
Last year the Sabres were on a 94 point pace in the final 41 games of the season. Dan Bylsma said the secret to winning then, needs to be the same now, “It’s how you want to play the game and where you want to play it and we’ve got to be ready to focus and execute and play a north game and get to where we’ve been good and where we are good. We’ve been a good team in the offensive zone and putting pressure on teams by doing that and that’s where we’ve got to get to. That’s where we were last year when we started to be a good team, started to win hockey games.”
In the last 18 games the Sabres have scored 50 goals averaging 2.78 goals per game. That’s almost a full goal better than the first 21 games.
Zemgus Girgensons has three goals in his last seven games. He had two goals for the season before that.
If you go by the morning skate, Derek Grant would be the healthy scratch which means they’d only have four centers dressed. The lines were,
Carrier  O’Reilly  Okposo
Foligno  Eichel  Gionta
Kane  Reinhart  Bailey
Deslauriers  Girgensons  Moulson
In late November the Flyers started a 10 game winning streak, but they’ve fallen just as fast. Since then they’ve only won two of their last 10.
Philadelphia has 48 points which places them 5th in the Metropolitan Division, nine points in back of the Rangers, Caps and Penguins.
Wayne Simmonds has 17 goals in 42 games, but he’s gone cold lately with one goal in 10 games and two goals in 14.
Captain Claude Giroux has one goal in 13 games.
Thanks to injuries, Steve Mason has played most of the games lately. Mason has played in 26 of 29 games. He’s 14-13-6 with a 2.79 goals against and .903 save percentage.

The Sabres have waived Derek Grant. In 35 games Grant has no goals and three assists.
Join Schopp and the Bulldog at 6:00 for the pregame from 716. They’ll be joined by Dan Bylsma, Marcus Foligno, Jake McCabe and new All Star Kyle Okposo.

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