Evander Kane provided a spark for the Winnipeg Jets in his
return from injury. The Buffalo Sabres are hoping Cody Hodgson can
do the same.
Winnipeg looks for its seventh straight victory in the series
Tuesday night when it travels to Buffalo.
Kane, who hadn’t played since Nov. 29 when he suffered a
lower-body injury, made an immediate impact in a 3-2 win at
Columbus on Monday. He tallied the game-winning goal at the 10:35
mark of the third period and also assisted on Mark Scheifele’s goal
in the second.
The Jets (15-15-5) went 2-3-1 without him and had dropped three
in a row prior to Tuesday’s victory. His seven goals at the time of
injury were tied for the second most on the team.
“I put on my skates and I tried to help this team win – that’s
just how I am,” Kane said.
Buffalo (7-23-3) which hasn’t beaten Winnipeg since a 6-5
overtime victory at home Nov. 8, 2011, is hoping to get Hodgson
back for Tuesday’s contest. He sat out the Sabres’ last two games
due to a lower-body injury but practiced Monday. Interim coach Ted
Nolan told the team’s website that defenseman Alexander Sulzer –
who missed the club’s last five games with an upper-body injury –
is also likely to come off injured reserve.
Hodgson leads Buffalo with 18 points.
“I obviously want to play and I want to contribute,” Hodgson,
who owns a minus-3 rating in four games against Winnipeg with one
assist, told the team’s website. “I think I can help the team, so I
just have to make sure everything’s good.”
The Sabres’ power play – already one of the league’s worst this
season, scoring on just 13.1 percent of chances – floundered in
Saturday’s 2-1 overtime loss to Calgary. Matt Moulson was
responsible for the lone goal while Buffalo was scoreless on five
opportunities with the man advantage. The Sabres have two
power-play goals on 27 chances (7.4 percent) over their last nine
Hodgson is responsible for four of the team’s 13 power-play
While his return should be a boost, the Sabres are expected to
be without center Cody McCormick for four to six weeks after he
suffered an injury while blocking a shot in Saturday’s loss.
Al Montoya stopped 22 saves in Winnipeg’s win Monday. He earned
the nod in favor of Ondrej Pavelec after Pavelec surrendered five
goals in Saturday’s 6-4 loss to Dallas. Pavelec has struggled of
late, going 0-3-1 over his last four starts with a 4.03
Tuesday could be a favorable stage for Pavelec, however, as he’s
started each of Winnipeg’s six straight victories in the series,
allowing exactly one goal in each while stopping 161 of 167 shots
(.964 save percentage).
Meanwhile, Ryan Miller has struggled, recording a 3.41 GAA in
his last five starts against the Jets.