Sabres set on refocusing ahead of Jets matchup
Clearing the air seems to have worked for the Buffalo Sabres.
Now it might be the Winnipeg Jets' turn before they meet the Sabres on Sunday.
A day after the Sabres were forced to clarify comments made off the ice, they responded with a 3-1 victory against the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.
Casey Mittelstadt and Kyle Okposo scored power-play goals and goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 fairly routine saves.
Sabres forward Sam Reinhart and coach Phil Housley both spoke out following a 6-5 overtime defeat to Carolina on Thursday.
Reinhart said Friday he misspoke in saying "we need more from our goalies" after the Sabres allowed 17 goals in their first three games of their seven-game homestand. Reinhart said he meant to say the team needs to do more for its goalies.
Housley, a Hall of Fame defenseman, was forced to clarify what some interpreted as him questioning general manager Jason Botterill while evaluating Buffalo's back line.
There was little to complain about following the victory against Detroit, the Sabres' fourth in their past 11 games (4-6-1).
"I think they refocused, but the thing for me is that's a tight group in there," Housley said. "They care for each other. Our coaching staff has done a great job. I think it just brought us tighter together, the things that went on.
"You could see in the effort tonight -- we're going to need a really good effort (Sunday) -- but we're going to take this and really learn from what we did well. One of those things is coming together."
Detroit's lone goal came on the power play.
"We mostly talked about how we've got to clean up our own end, and I thought we did a terrific job back there," Ullmark told NHL.com afterward. "In other words, we didn't give them anything. When we did give them something, we recovered very well."
The Jets suffered their season-high third consecutive defeat Saturday, dropping a 5-2 decision at Ottawa as Senators goaltender Anders Nilsson made 44 saves. The Jets lost by the same score Thursday in Montreal.
The Jets outshot Ottawa 46-32, something right wing Blake Wheeler said was a step in the right direction.
"We did a lot of things 1/8on Saturday 3/8 that we didn't do in that game 1/8on Thursday 3/8. We played with speed. We spent the bulk of this game down in their end," Wheeler told NHL.com. "Coming into this game we knew what this team 1/8Ottawa 3/8 was good at, they're opportunistic with guys up front that can make you pay if you give them odd-man rushes. They buried on their chances.
"At the end of the day, their goalie was the No. 1 star of the game."
Added teammate Bryan Little, "The plan going into tonight was more pucks to the net. Simplify things, not try and seam too many pucks and look for the extra pass, just keep it simple. It paid off, we had a lot of shots, a lot of scoring chances, just couldn't find the back of the net as much as we wanted to."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 10, 2019