The Sabres look to set the franchise record with an 11th straight win

November 29, 2018 - 3:01 pm

Tampa, FL (WGR 550) - The Sabres get a chance to set a franchise record with a victory in Tampa Bay tonight. Buffalo is looking for its 11th straight win, but Jake McCabe isn’t getting to giddy about it, “I’m going to be cautiously optimistic about it, I think it has been a lot of fun, but we’re only 25 games into the year. If you talk to me at the end of the year when we actually have done something, then I’ll say yes, but winning 10 games in a row is great, but teams have been in this spot before and have had tough stretches, so until we get to the end of the year and hopefully do something special here, then it’ll be up there, but it’s definitely the most fun I’ve had playing hockey in a while.”

The Sabres lead the league with a .720 points percentage. Tampa Bay is second at .700.

Buffalo has won its last five road games and are 8-4-1 away from the arena. Jeff Skinner said, “You try to keep it simple on the road, you don’t want to get too fancy, especially early on and eliminate momentum swings in their favor.

The Sabres have won just three of their last nine in Tampa. If you flip it, the Lightning are 7-1-1 in their last nine at home against the Sabres.

“We’ve been getting some big saves, especially on the road that has kept us in games and allowed us to weather those kinds of storms on the road and then we get back to playing our games.

The Sabres beat the Lightning in Game 3 of the streak 2-1 at the arena. Buffalo got out shot 30-19 in that game, but Hutton was spectacular according to McCabe, “We rely a lot on our goaltenders. Linus and Hutts have been great for us making a lot of key saves in key moments of the game and stealing games for us like that Tampa game. He made a lot of big saves after big saves and tonight we don’t want to give up that much action, but there are going to be times where we’re going to have to weather their storm and bend but not break.”

Hutton gets the start in goal. He’s 8-0-0 in the streak with a 1.97 goals against and .936 save percentage.

Buffalo has killed 41-of-46 penalties in the last 17 games. That has the Sabres 8th in league penalty killing. They’ll be facing the 6th best power play in the NHL.

Rasmus Dahlin has been awarded an assist on Jeff Skinner’s overtime goal over San Jose. That gives the rookie points in four straight games and six of the last seven.

Marco Scandella and Conor Sheary didn’t skate and will not play. Phil Housley did not rule them out for Friday in Florida.

Patrik Berglund is back skating with the team and Matt Hunwick joined his teammates on the ice for the first time. He injured his neck working out before training camp started. There’s no timetable for when either player could return.

Tampa Bay has had to deal with an injury to star goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy putting Louis Domingue in between the pipes. Dominque is 5-3-0 in that time with a 2.90 goals against and .912 save percentage.

Other injuries for Tampa Bay include Ondrej Palat and Anton Stralman.

Second leading scorer Brayden Point has goals in three straight games. Point has nine goals in seven games.

Steven Stamkos is pointless in four out of five games and has just one goal in his last nine games.

Nikita Kucherov leads the Lightning in scoring with 33 points in 25 games. The winger has 15 points in his last seven games.

Join Schopp and the Bulldog for the pregame at 6:30 when they’ll have Phil Housley, Jeff Skinner and Jake McCabe.

Brian Koziol will have an interview with Matt Hunwick in the first intermission.

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