Considering how poorly the Chicago Blackhawks have played on the road, the Buffalo Sabres might finally win consecutive home games for the first time this season.
Looking to build on a complete performance from their most recent home outing, the Sabres will try to hand the Blackhawks a 16th straight road defeat on Wednesday night.
Buffalo’s Casey Mittelstadt had a goal and two assists and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 28 saves for his second career shutout in a 3-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Monday.
Since Dec. 7, the Sabres are 9-7-2 overall. They are 10-11-1 this season at home, including a 2-2-0 mark during their current six-game stay.
Buffalo hasn’t won back-to-back home games since taking the final three home contests last season.
“It’s about us, and we have to play our best every night,” Buffalo coach Don Granato said.
Luukkonen has started Buffalo’s last three games and owns a 1.40 goals-against average while winning four of his last five starts. Meanwhile, rookie Devon Levi has a 3.90 GAA and a 2-3-0 record in his past six starts.
“(Luukkonen’s) in a rhythm,” Granato said. “He’s been good, and he continues to get better.”
Luukkonen stopped 24 shots during the Sabres’ 3-2 win at Chicago on Nov. 19. Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Dahlin had a goal with an assist in that contest. Mittelstadt, who has six goals and 10 assists in his past 14 games, recorded one of his team-leading 26 assists against the Blackhawks.
The Sabres are 4-0-1 in their past five meetings with Chicago, which snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 shootout home victory over San Jose on Tuesday. It was just the fourth win in the past 18 games for the Blackhawks, who are currently without the likes of injured key offensive contributors Connor Bedard, Tyler Johnson, Nick Foligno and Andreas Athanasiou and have scored one non-shootout goal in each of their past four contests.
“Every win matters,” Chicago netminder Petr Mrazek told NBC Sports Chicago.
The Blackhawks are just 4-18-1 on the road, where they’ve been outscored 71-27 during an 0-14-1 skid that dates to a 5-3 victory at Tampa Bay on Nov. 9. They have totaled just five goals in their past five away from home.
“We’ve got to keep going even harder now,” the Blackhawks’ Cole Guttman, who scored his fourth goal of the season Tuesday, told NBC Sports Chicago.
Petr Mrazek made 37 saves on Tuesday in his fifth straight start for Chicago. Mrazek, who stopped 17 of 20 shots in the Blackhawks’ Nov. 19 loss to Buffalo, has a tidy 1.75 goals-against average with .936 save percentage in his past four starts. However, backup Arvid Soderblom, who owns a 4.28 GAA while going 0-7-1 in his past nine appearances, could get the start in this back-to-back scenario for the Blackhawks.
Chicago’s Philipp Kurashev is second on the team with 23 points and had a goal with an assist against Buffalo earlier this season. However, he has just one point — a goal — in his past eight games.
Buffalo star Tage Thompson has failed to record a point in three of his past four games. However, he has registered five goals and two assists during a four-game point streak against the Blackhawks.
–Field Level Media
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