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Buffalo Sabres Look to End Year on High Note Against Winnipeg Jets

December 31st, 2013 at 9:00 AM
By Paul Lane Sabres 101

Don't look now, but the Buffalo Sabres are suddenly one of the hottest teams in the NHL.

The Sabres are still the worst team in the NHL, but a 5-2-2 run has them within grasp of a winning record in December (they're now 5-4-2 this month) and doubling their season win total within the past month. They'll try to continue their recent streak tonight against the Winnipeg Jets (7 p.m., MSG), one of the team's they've beaten during their run.

 

'222-1 / Jhonas Enroth' photo (c) 2011, grilled cheese - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Buffalo has Ryan Miller to thank in large part for the streak. He's 2-0-1 in his last three starts, including a 49-save effort in Sunday's win over Washington. Jhonas Enroth will start tonight, but coach Ted Nolan said the key to the club's winning ways does not rest solely between the pipes:

"We've got a long ways to go. We adjusted to the feel-good period part. Now we just have to pay a little bit more attention to details … we have pretty good goaltending. So if we play honestly in front of them, we'll have good chances."

The Jets are on a two-game winning streak of their own but are languishing behind in the Central Division at 18-18-5. Bryan Little leads them in points with 33, while Blake Wheeler sets the pace with 15 goals. Ondrej Pavelec (11-16-4, 3.03 GAA) gets most of the time in net, but Al Montoya (7-2-1, 2.02 GAA) picked up the most recent Jets win Sunday in Colorado.

Cody Hodgson remains sidelined by an upper-body injury. Ville Leino may also sit after being injured Sunday. Buffalo wraps up its brief Midwest road trip Thursday in Minnesota.

A win tonight would give the Sabres a season sweep over the Jets.

Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, Hockey, NHL

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