After taking the blame for losing the game Saturday, Evander Kane put in extra work Sunday. He was out early shooting pucks and was one of only 10 skaters to take part in the optional practice.
With 18 goals and 10 assists in 55 games, Kane hasn’t been as productive as he’d hoped, but he wants to change that in the Sabres’ final 16 games. The next one is Monday in Toronto.
“There’s 16 games left, and I think we’re going to try to win every game,” Kane said in First Niagara Center. “Obviously, I’m going to try to score every game. For me it’s just finishing off the year strong and trying to win as many games as possible. Hopefully, have some fun down the stretch here with the guys.”
Kane put extra emphasis on burying his shots Sunday after missing several glorious chances during a 3-2 shootout loss to Minnesota.
“When you watch opportunities that you had or things you could have done better, it’s obvious on TV, but in the moment it’s a little bit different,” he said. “If I can get close to the top of the circle I feel confident I can beat the goalie clean. The top of the circle in, those are the areas that I worked on today, different angles, just kind of focusing and bearing down on putting the puck in the corners I want to put it in.”
The Sabres will face a Maple Leafs team that sold heavily at the trade deadline, but it’s still a marquee matchup for Kane.
“It’s lights, camera, action in TO,” he said. “It’s a fun place to play no matter if they’re having a good season or not. Everybody’s watching. I know Buffalo and Toronto have a bit of a rivalry, so it’s always fun playing against those guys.”
Goaltender Chad Johnson will get the start against Toronto.
“The challenge is not taking that team for granted and underestimating them, not respecting them,” Johnson said. “Anyone can beat anyone. Even guys in the minor leagues, they come up and they have stuff to prove. Guys are playing for contracts on that team and playing for roster spots. It’s an evaluation time for that organization. I think the biggest thing is not taking them lightly because they can still play, they can compete.”