Johan Larsson's march through March has begun.
Like clockwork, Johan Larsson's game shows significant improvement during the final weeks of the NHL season. After producing next to nothing during the opening five months, the Buffalo Sabres center has one goal and two points in two March games.
Expect the trend to continue.
Mr. March has played 32 games in the month, and he has 10 goals and 21 points. He has 16 goals and 41 points in the other 210 games he's played.
"I had no idea," Larsson said Tuesday of his traditional uptick. "I usually play good at the end of the years. I feel better about my game.
"I don't know if it's one specific thing, but I know I feel a little more comfortable with everything: the coaches, system and everything."
April typically isn't bad, either, with three goals and seven points in 14 games. So exactly half of his 26 career goals have come during March and April, leaving October through February in the dust.
Part of it is opportunity. The Sabres have cleaned house during Larsson's five seasons, trading forwards and shutting others down due to injuries. Larsson then moves up the lineup – he played a season-high 20:30 against Toronto – and gets power-play time. Of his nine career power-play points, seven have come in March and April.
"It's probably just a little more opportunity at the end of the years with trades and injuries," Larsson said in KeyBank Center. "That could be a factor, too, as well. But I don't think too much right now. I'm just playing and feel good about it.
"It's always nice to play a lot, but you've got to do your role the best you can every night. That's what you're here for, and that's what I'm trying to improve every night."
When the Sabres host Calgary on Wednesday, Larsson will attempt to record points in back-to-back games for the first time this season. It's been a forgettable year for the 25-year-old, who has four goals, 14 points and a minus-17 rating in 64 games.
"It's been really tough for everyone," Larsson said. "It's the toughest one I've been a part of here. It's been a lot of bad days, tough days coming to the rink.
"You try to be a pro every day. It's hard in this league, especially with the way it's gone. But we've kind of found our rhythm a little bit lately and been playing really well as a team. There's some positive things there."
Story topics: Johan Larsson