Avalanche-Sabres Preview

Though the Buffalo Sabres’ longest winning streak of the season has ended, their confidence remains high.

Eagerly looking to get back on track, the Sabres try to end their struggles against the visiting Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.

Buffalo (13-17-2) totaled 14 goals during a four-game winning streak but showed little offensive punch in Tuesday’s 5-1 loss at Winnipeg.

"You never like to lose but it’s almost a reminder that you have to be at your best, have to be sharp," said defenseman Josh Gorges, who hopes to return Saturday after missing the last two games with an apparent finger injury.

"We’ll be ready for the next one."

The defeat was only the fourth in 14 games for the Sabres, who believe it’s just a blip on the screen.

"Confidence is a major thing in sports, and in general," forward Patrick Kaleta said. "Confidence is big for us. The older guys have to put it in the minds of the younger guys that it’s just a speed bump and everything is all right.

"You come together as a team and you don’t dwell on it. Learn from the game, move on and get better."

The Sabres need to shore up defensively after allowing 15 goals in four games and at least three for the sixth time in the last seven.

Nikita Zadorov’s power-play goal late in the first period opened the scoring, but was all Buffalo could muster on 28 shots.

"We looked a little sluggish out there, we didn’t do a lot of the little things we had been doing to have our success," Gorges said. "Win or lose, the next day is a new day."

Buffalo hasn’t had much success during an 0-3-4 stretch against Colorado that dates to a 6-4 victory Dec. 4, 2005.

The Avalanche (10-13-8) are 1-3-3 this month but have earned at least a point in three straight contests while dropping the last two in overtime.

Calvin Pickard made 47 saves before Blake Comeau’s goal 2:24 into the extra session sent Colorado to a 1-0 loss at Pittsburgh on Thursday.

While coach Patrick Roy was pleased with Pickard’s effort, concern remains after the Avalanche were shut out for the second time in four games and their forwards failed to score in back-to-back contests.

"The players know," Roy told the Avalanche’s official website. "They know they have to generate more offense, and we have to be better around their net.

"Just need to learn to play those games, and be better in our decision making, especially at both blue lines. Breaking out is very important. And same thing in our entry, we’re forcing plays that aren’t there."

Near the bottom of the league converting 12.7 percent of its power-play chances, Colorado is 5 for 58 in the last 19 games.

The Avalanche went 3 for 9 with the man advantage while outscoring the Sabres 11-3 in two games last season. Defenseman Erik Johnson, who has scored Colorado’s last two goals, had four assists in those games.

Teammate Gabriel Landeskog has four goals and two assists in three contests versus Buffalo, but is in the midst of a seven-game stretch without a score.

Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis saw his four-game point streak end Tuesday, but he has four assists in four contests against the Avalanche.