Chris Stewart (80) fight's Boston's Milan Lucic on Thursday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Struggling Chris Stewart trying to spark Sabres

PITTSBURGH – Fifty-one seconds into Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss, struggling winger Chris Stewart tried to ignite himself and the Buffalo Sabres.

“When you’re not scoring, you got to start doing some other things to make yourselves relevant in the game,” Stewart said this afternoon inside the Consol Energy Center. “Eleven games in and no goals, you got to start doing something else.”

So the 6-foot-2, 231-pound Stewart challenged one of the NHL’s toughest and biggest customers, 6-foot-3, 235-pound Boston behemoth Milan Lucic.

“This season being in the East, them being in the division, it’s probably the odds were we were going to bump into each other eventually,” Stewart said. “I didn’t like the way we started the game in Toronto. First shift, get the boys into it. I thought we were ready to go after that.”

The Sabres showcased much more energy than in Tuesday’s embarrassing 4-0 loss in Toronto, grabbing a 2-1 lead before the Bruins tied it late.

Stewart’s fight definitely sparked them.

“He’s a big boy – a couple big boys,” Stewart said. “We went toe-to-toe for a good portion of the fight. We live to fight another day. That’s all that matters.”

Stewart landed a couple of shots on Lucic, earning at least a draw.

“You don’t really see anyone handling themselves that well against a guy that big, so I guess I surprised some people,” he said.

Some people are surprised Stewart, who has two 28-goal seasons and 115 in his 393-game career, hasn’t scored yet. He scored his last goal Jan. 9 with St. Louis, 31 games ago.

Stewart, who turned 27 on Thursday, is in a contract year. Sabres coach Ted Nolan recently gave him a brief stint on the top line beside center Tyler Ennis and Matt Moulson. Stewart has skated on a scoring combination all season, averaging 16 minutes, 14 seconds a game entering tonight’s tilt against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I’m playing with good players, I’m getting the ice time,” Stewart said. “There’s no excuses.”

Still, Stewart said he’s “not really frustrated.”

“I think it’s coming,” he said. “I think if you start buying into pressure, it’s only going to take longer to get off the schneid. So I think the less you think about it, it’s going to come eventually.”

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