The Buffalo Sabres look to complete a sweep of their four-game road trip Tuesday night when they visit the Seattle Kraken.
The Sabres have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL out of the gate, winning four of their first five games. Three of those victories have come on their current road swing, as they outscored the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks by combined 15-6.
“This is a tough road trip and obviously a lot of talented players on every team we’ve played,” forward Casey Mittelstadt said. “We’re happy to be 3-0 to start the trip, and we still have one more.
“More than anything, we’re playing hard. Even if something doesn’t go our way or we make a mistake, forget about it and move on. Just keep playing hockey. I think that’s the main thing.”
The offense has been on a roll, averaging 4.4 goals, led by Alex Tuch (6) and Rasmus Dahlin (5), the latter named the NHL’s first star of the week after making history with his season-opening five-game goal streak (longest ever for a defenseman). He also has three assists.
“When Erik Karlsson was at the top of his game, he was doing things with the puck you wouldn’t expect him to do because he had that confidence. Dahls is there in his own game,” goalie Craig Anderson said. “I’m not comparing him to Erik, but I’m comparing him to that confidence and swagger with the puck he has to be able to make those plays. He’s just playing loose and letting his skill and ability take over right now.”
It’s been a slower start for Jeff Skinner, who has a pair of assists but is still searching for his first goal.
Buffalo will be without top-pair defenseman Mattias Samuelsson, who sustained a lower-body injury Saturday against Vancouver.
The Kraken head into the matchup looking to rebound from a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. Seattle skated out to a 2-0 lead in the first period and held a 4-3 advantage with eight minutes remaining before falling 5-4.
“We have to stay on the gas,” forward Jared McCann said after the game. “That’s an easy way to put it. … We can’t let up. I thought we had a good start. We took it to them in the first 20. We just got comfortable, kind of got complacent, and we can’t do that.”
The power play has been a struggle for the Kraken of late. They went 0-for-4 against the Blackhawks and have tallied just twice on 15 opportunities over their past four games while allowing two short-handed goals.
“I think we’ve just got to keep working at it,” McCann said. “We haven’t had much practice time. Obviously, we’ve had a game a day here the last little while and we just need to figure it out.”
Goalie Philipp Grubauer was listed as day-to-day on Sunday with a lower-body injury. Forward Yanni Gourde returned to Seattle for “personal reasons” and did not play Sunday but is expected to be back with the team for Tuesday’s game.
The game will mark the first NHL meeting between Sabres defenseman Owen Power and Kraken forward Matty Beniers, the former University of Michigan teammates who went No. 1 and No. 2 in the 2021 NHL Draft.
–Field Level Media