BUFFALO – For the past few weeks, the Sabres have rarely broken a disturbing trend of starting slowly and falling behind.
Some nights, they’ve roared back to win. Other nights, however, their penchant for stumbling out of the gate bites them.
In Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout loss in Florida, the Sabres trailed 2-0 before zooming back to take a late 3-2 lead.
What must the Sabres change early tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes?
“We need to get more emotionally attached to the game right from the start,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “We’ve responded in virtually every one of our games in the last 10, some point in the game we go down or something happens in the game where we responded.”
The Sabres respond by getting desperate.
“We get emotionally attached to the game in the second period, come with a lot after that point,” Bylsma said. “Our challenge is we got to get emotionally attached to the game right from the drop of the puck.”
He added: “You have to have an understanding of how we’re going to win the game right from the start of the game, not wait for it to react.”
The 12th-place Sabres, who trail the Hurricanes by one point, need to run off some regulation wins. They’ve lost two straight shootouts, including a 2-1 setback Saturday in Carolina, and have eight overtime or shootout losses this season.
“We’re all bunched together, and right now is the time to make a push,” Sabres captain Brian Gionta said.
The Sabres trail Boston by five points for the final Atlantic Division playoff spot.
Some other notes on tonight’s game, the final home contest before Christmas break:
– Sabres goalie Robin Lehner make his 23rd start tonight. The Swede is 7-9-5 with a 2.47 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage.
– The rest of the lineup will be announced at game time, Bylsma said. Winger Nick Deslauriers, a healthy scratch last game, left the ice before rookie William Carrier this morning, a sign he could return.
Update: Carrier is out tonight.
– Based on work this morning, winger Marcus Foligno should play in front of the net on the power play tonight.
“Something I think he earned with last game’s performance,” Bylsma said.