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Jan 25, 2023 3:55 pm

Sabres racking up wins, try to ground Jets

Winners of four straight and 5-1-1 in their past seven games, the Buffalo Sabres will look to keep rolling when they visit the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.

The current winning streak comes after the Sabres dropped five of their previous six outings.

“I think whether we’re on the road or at home, I just think we have a group that loves hockey, loves to compete, and I think that’s just kind of where we’re at as a team right now,” Tage Thompson said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that are just hungry to win and hungry to perform every night, and I think you see it.”

The goals have tailed off a touch for Thompson, with just two in his past 10 games, but he’s still picking up the points, riding a five-game point streak in which he has two goals and six assists.

“The last guy you need to worry about is Tage as long he’s healthy and going,” Buffalo coach Don Granato said. “This has been a lot of games in a really short time. So he’s finding different ways to contribute through the fatigue and through different challenges and obviously opponents playing him different, which is all good. It’s great. Through that pressure and that challenge, he’s going to find ways to become better and more intuitive, and we’re seeing that firsthand.”

Jeff Skinner became the fourth member of the Sabres to hit 20 goals for the season with a tally Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues. Buffalo is tied with the Edmonton Oilers for most players to reach the mark.

Dylan Cozens is inching closer to making it five Buffalo players with at least 20 goals after scoring his 17th of the season against St. Louis. The 21-year-old has three goals in his past four games and is fifth in team scoring with 43 points in 47 games.

The Jets are back home for a five-game homestand after playing eight of their previous nine contests on the road. Winnipeg lost three of five on its most recent road trip, closing it with a 2-1 setback against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.

“It’s disappointing going 2-3,” Pierre-Luc Dubois said. “We want to keep building that gap between us and other teams. This road trip feels like a bit of a slide down. But there’s a lot of hockey left and we can play better, and we know it.”

Rookie Cole Perfetti has enjoyed his time on the top line with Dubois and Kyle Connor. After snapping a 15-game goal drought last Saturday, Perfetti set up his linemates in each of the next two games and hopes to keep that success going.

“Playing with two guys like that, you know what they can create and their offensive abilities,” Perfetti said. “We’re going to get better and better every game. … It’s a pleasure playing with them, and I’m having so much fun doing that, giving passes to these guys. It makes the game fun. Hopefully, we build off this trip a little bit and keep creating that way.”

Perfetti is second among NHL freshman with 29 points (seven goals, 22 assists), behind Seattle Kraken forward Matty Beniers (36 points).

–Field Level Media

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