MYERS, SABRES READY TO TAKE ON STRUGGLING WILD
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers was back on the ice at Xcel Energy Center for the team’s morning skate on Thursday after taking a maintenance day on Wednesday.
He said he’s feeling great and is ready to go against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. The game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. in Buffalo.
With his normal defensive partner Henrik Tallinder out for at least a week with an injury, Myers was paired with Mike Weber on Tuesday against Winnipeg. Myers said that Weber’s ability to communicate well has made it easy for the two to find some chemistry.
“I thought we went really well last game together,” he said. “I thought a big thing for us we were talking to each other really well and making sure we knew the other was supporting. I thought the communication we had the way we moved the puck to each other was a great start for us here.”
Captain Steve Ott did not partake in the morning skate. He practiced with the team Wednesday, but was given a maintenance day by the coaching staff on Thursday.
Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said that Ott will play against the Wild.
“He’s a competitive guy and once in a while you have to pull him back and give him some rest to makes sure he’s good for games,” Nolan said.
Ryan Miller, coming off the announcement that he had made Team USA’s roster for the Olympic Games in Sochi, is expected to start in goal.
The line of center Matt Ellis, left wing John Scott and right wing Matt D’Agostini could be considered the fourth line, but that’s not how they’re approaching it. Scott scored his first goal of the season on Friday and they’ve promoted themselves since then.
“Johnny doesn’t think we’re a fourth line. Since he scored, we’ve been calling ourselves the second line,” D’Agostini said with a grin. “Our job is just to provide energy, go out there and forecheck. That’s where we’ve been getting our chances, so the second line’s got to be good again tonight.”
Johan Larsson was drafted by the Wild in 2010 and played one year in Minnesota’s system before being traded to the Sabres at the NHL Trade Deadline last year. He made his NHL debut with the Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Feb. 17, 2013.
He’ll be in Buffalo's lineup Thursday night for the injured Ville Leino.
“I played one game here so it’s going to be fun,” he said. “I know a lot of people over on the team and I know the staff so it’s nice to be back here in the building and hopefully we get a win here”
The Wild are have lost six in a row and have only two wins in their past 10 games. Minnesota’s power play is currently 13th in the NHL. They’ve converted on 18.9 percent of their opportunities with the man advantage.
“We want to stay out of the box,” Nolan said. “They’ve been having a little bit of trouble 5-on-5, but the majority of their goals have been coming on the power play so we want to stay out of the box.”
The Sabres tried to create a lot of traffic in front of the net against the Jets and that will be a continued point of emphasis from the coaching staff.
“The majority of our play, we want to make sure we have a net-front presence. The last few games, we’ve been skating by like a fly-by,” Nolan said. “We want to stop by and see If there are any rebounds for us to collect.”