The surging Buffalo Sabres eye a sixth straight win when they wrap up their road trip with a visit to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.
The Sabres head into the contest after dispatching the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, taking a 3-0 lead before the Jets scored twice in the final minutes. Buffalo is 6-1-1 in its past eight games and 14-5-1 since Dec. 13, when the Sabres kicked off their most recent six-game winning streak.
"This team is fantastic," goalie Eric Comrie said. "It's the most fun I've (had) playing hockey in my whole life. It's just fun to be a part of, it's a fun group to be around. We love the game of hockey and we love each other. It's that kind of atmosphere that just breeds performance. Guys want to come here now and it's so much fun to be a part of that. Seeing these guys just battle every single night is pretty special."
Rasmus Dahlin continues his remarkable campaign, surpassing last season's career-high assists (40) and point total (53) with a pair of helpers against the Jets, giving him 55 points through 47 games. The 22-year-old has seven points in his past five games.
He's not the only blue-liner enjoying a strong season, with fellow No. 1 overall Owen Power impressing in his rookie season. The 20-year-old is averaging 23:34 of ice time per game, leading all NHL freshmen, and brings a three-game goal streak and four-game point streak into Saturday's matchup.
"I know he hasn't been talked about for rookie of the year. It's astonishing to me because I don't know how he couldn't be," Sabres coach Don Granato said. "What he does on a nightly basis is just amazing, when you factor in his age and lack of experience in our league, to dominate situations and, really, full games the way he does."
The Sabres could have Mattias Samuelsson back in the lineup after the defenseman was scratched with a lower-body injury Thursday.
The Wild hope to build off a win against the Philadelphia Flyers and go on a streak of their own, to solidify their tenuous hold on a playoff spot. The victory moved Minnesota back into third place in the Central Division, one point up on the Colorado Avalanche and two points ahead of the Nashville Predators.
Minnesota is 7-6-1 since a six-game winning streak in mid-December.
"We just need more jam, more of that team-together mentality," forward Marcus Foligno said. "We, not lost it, but need to get it back. That's our MO. That's what teams know coming in here. Just playing us in general, it's going to be a hard night. And I felt the last three games (before the win against Philadelphia) was a little bit easy for our opponents."
Rookie Matt Boldy has seven points (four goals, three assists) in a four-game point streak after being held without a point in six straight.
Ryan Hartman will be back in the lineup after being scratched Thursday.
"Our job as players is to come in the morning and where we're at is where we play," Hartman said. "We're bought into the system."
--Field Level Media