The Sabres are coming off one of their better defensive efforts in weeks. The chore is to carry it into the place where they had one of their worst.
Buffalo’s 5-4 shootout loss in Detroit on Dec. 1 resembled pond hockey. The Sabres allowed a season-high 46 shots and numerous odd-man rushes. It was fun to watch live, but the Sabres certainly didn’t enjoy it on video.
They’ll like looking at Saturday’s 2-1 overtime victory against Los Angeles much more. The Sabres allowed just 18 shots in regulation against a Kings team that was averaging 33.
“One of the things we did, we managed the puck much better, got to the offensive zone and played there,” coach Dan Bylsma said Sunday after practice in HarborCenter. “We had tighter gaps. It was the best game in a long time containing and nullifying the rush from the opposition. That’s going to be key.
“In Detroit, we didn’t have that. We got stretched out quite a bit and dealt with four and five guys on the rush. They were pretty effective, and the game opened up. That’s something we have to do a much better job of going into Detroit.”
Buffalo will carry the same lineup into the game in Joe Louis Arena. Defenseman Jake McCabe missed Sunday’s practice for a maintenance day, but Bylsma said he’ll be fine for Monday.
Following the Sabres’ practice, the injured trio of goaltender Robin Lehner and forwards Tyler Ennis and Cody McCormick skated on their own. Bylsma said Ennis remains week-to-week with an upper-body injury but said “no” in regards to whether Ennis is recovering from a concussion.