Ted Nolan has been pleading for the Sabres to play with effort and pride since the opening day of training camp. With 30th place on the line, they're doing it.
Buffalo picked up three out of four points this week against Washington and Boston, with zero expected. The 1-0-1 run has pulled the Sabres withing three points of 29th-place Arizona with 12 games remaining for both.
"If you’re any kind of competitive soul or competitive spirit, if you don’t get up for any kind of competition you’re in the wrong line of business," Nolan said Thursday. "Do something else. In this line of business, you have to be competitive. Sometimes when you don’t do it, that’s when your stomach turns at nighttime wondering why.
"I’m not surprised with this group. We’re going to stay competitive as long as we can."
The Sabres will take that attitude into a stretch of three games in four nights. New Jersey visits First Niagara Center on Friday. The Sabres visit Nashville on Saturday to start a two-game road trip that concludes Monday in Dallas.
Defenseman Zach Bogosian, who skipped practice, is unlikely to play against the Devils but may return Saturday.
"What you look for all season long is bring your best," Nolan said. "That’s all you can ask for. I don’t care what walk of life that you’re in, it’s your obligation, it’s your human nature just to give your best effort.
"There’s all kinds of things to play for. The biggest thing is just to play for good old pride."