Chicago at Buffalo
When: 6:00 PM
ET, Sunday, February 19, 2017
Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York
The Buffalo Sabres have climbed into the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race with a three-game winning streak and must raise their level of play another notch when they host the surging Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. The Sabres are 6-3-1 this month after Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 home victory over St. Louis and can complete a perfect three-game homestand by beating the Blackhawks for the first time since 2009.
“We’ve kind of got by the bottom tier (of the standings),” Buffalo’s leading scorer Kyle Okposo told reporters. “Now we’re in that next tier. We’re kind of in the middle. We need to catch that next tier. What it’s going to take to do that is string four, five, six, seven games together. That’s what we need, and hopefully we’re on our way.” Chicago had won the first five games of February - scoring 23 goals combined - before falling 3-1 at home against Edmonton on Saturday night despite outshooting the Oilers 39-22. Red-hot Patrick Kane, who is a Buffalo native, was kept off the scoresheet after recording four goals and five assists in the previous five games for the Blackhawks. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews has also been productive of late and reached 600 career points with an assist Saturday.TV:
6 p.m. ET, NBC Sports NetworkABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (35-18-5):
Richard Panik had Chicago’s only goal Saturday to give him four in the last four games and a career-high 15 overall. Veteran right wing Marian Hossa shares the team lead at 20 goals with center Artem Anisimov, who has reached that figure for the third time in the past four seasons. Toews has warmed up considerably since a slow start, posting four goals and 10 assists over the last 10 games while Kane (19 goals) leads the team with 58 points – seven better than Artemi Panarin, who has also scored 19.ABOUT THE SABRES (26-23-10):
Evander Kane continued his hot stretch with a goal - his sixth in six games – and an assist Saturday, reaching 20 tallies for the second straight season with Buffalo and third overall. Okposo added an assist against St. Louis to hit the scoresheet for the eighth time in nine contests and pushed his team-leading total to 39 points. Fellow forward Sam Reinhart, who has three goals and four assists in his past nine games and 37 points overall, missed Saturday due to illness and his status for Sunday is uncertain.OVERTIME
1. The Blackhawks have won the last 10 meetings, including a 4-3 overtime triumph in Chicago on Jan. 5
2. Buffalo C Ryan O’Reilly has registered two goals and two assists during a four-game point streak.
3. Chicago D Duncan Keith boasts seven points in the last six games and is two shy of 500 for his career.PREDICTION:
Blackhawks 5, Sabres 2
Stats and Records