NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, January 8 (All times Eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (14-24-3) at Carolina Hurricanes (12-24-4), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Buffalo Sabres hope to avoid posting their longest losing streak of the season on Thursday night as they continue a road trip versus the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Sabres have lost the first two games of a four-game swing that ends on Friday in Tampa Bay. Tuesday's 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils marked the club's seventh straight on the road as the Sabres have not won away from Buffalo since Nov. 29.
Despite a goal from Mikhail Grigorenko, Buffalo's setback to New Jersey was its fifth in a row to match a season high. It also was the Sabres' ninth setback in 10 games.
Jhonas Enroth surrendered three goals -- all in the first period -- on 27 shots in the loss.
"It boils down to mental preparation," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "We've got to be mentally ready to start. We've got to be mentally ready to know our assignments. We've just got to be prepared. I mean, this is the National Hockey League."
The Sabres are trying to avoid their longest skid since an 0-6-1 drought that concluded the 2013-14 season.
Enroth is 3-2-0 with a 2.55 goals against average and .921 save percentage in five career meetings with the Hurricanes, while backup Michal Neuvirth is 4-2-1 in the matchup with a 2.63 GAA and .924 save percentage.
Neuvirth, though, has not won since Nov. 15 and has lost each of his past five decisions.
The Hurricanes are coming off defeat as well, having lost 3-2 to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday to snap a two-game win streak.
Eric Staal and Justin Faulk both scored power-play goals, while Cam Ward made 23 saves but yielded three third-period goals.
"It was just some good bodies in front and shots from the point," Carolina's Jordan Staal said of the power play. "It was good to get the PP going and we are going to need that down the stretch."
Eric Staal's goal was his fourth in five games and gave him 300 for his career.
Ward is 10-7-4 with a 2.81 GAA and .909 save percentage in his career versus the Sabres, making 23 saves in a 4-3 shootout loss to the visiting Sabres on Oct. 14.
That was the first of three meetings between the clubs this season and Buffalo snapped a four-game slide in Carolina thanks to Zemgus Girgensons' eighth- round tally in the shootout.
Enroth made 22 saves for the Sabres, who have still lost five of their past seven versus the 'Canes.
01/08 10:41:54 ET