Jets-Sabres Preview

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

games.

Hodgson is responsible for four of the team’s 13 power-play

goals.

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

goals-against average.

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.