The Pittsburgh Penguins (6-6-0) face the Buffalo Sabres (7-6-1) Saturday night at home, hoping to stay on the wave they caught on their three-game trip through California.
The Penguins swept the games at San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles, which got them back to .500 for the first time since they were 2-2 and seemed to infuse the team with confidence.
“We needed to get a little wind in our sails,” Penguins center Lars Eller said.
The Sabres are 4-1-1 in their past six games after a 3-2 win Friday at home against Minnesota.
Penguins game time
The game starts a little after 7:30 p.m.
The only real blemish on the trip was an injury to No. 1 goaltender Tristan Jarry, who left the middle game, at Anaheim, after taking a hit to the head and, on the same play after his mask was dislodged, a puck to the face.
However, the only lingering issue seemed to be that his right eye was swollen shut. That resolved, and Jarry is scheduled to start against the Sabres, according to coach Mike Sullivan.
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Buffalo will be playing on the second night of back-to-back games.
The Sabres are getting healthier. Forward Dylan Cozens, who got hurt during a fight, returned Friday after missing two games. Forward Alex Tuch, who has an upper-body injury, is a possibility to return against the Penguins, as is defenseman Mattias Samelsson, who has missed three games because of an upper-body injury.
Buffalo figures to go with goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen after Devon Levi played Friday.
Expected Penguins lines
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Reilly Smith-Evgeni Malkin-Rickard Rikell
Drew O’Connor-Lars Eller-Radim Zohorna
Matt Nieto-Noel Acciari-Jeff Carter
Ryan Graves-Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson-Erik Karlsson
Ryan Shea-Chad Ruhwedel
Expected Buffalo Sabres lines
Jeff Skinner-Tage Thompson-Dylan Cozens
Jordan Greenway-Casey Mittlestadt-JJ Peterka
Matt Savoie-Peyton Krebs-Lukas Rousek
Zemgus Girgensons-Tyson Jost-Kyle Okposo
Rasmus Dahlin-Ryan Johnson
Owen Power-Henri Jokiharju
Connor Clifton-Erik Johnson
Penguins Special Teams
Penguins power play: 17.1%, 22nd
Penguins penalty kill: 82.5%, 12th
Sabres power play: 11.6%, 28th
Sabres penalty kill: 85.5%, 9th
Penguins Game Notes
A win would give the Penguins their first four-game winning streak since Feb. 5-March 2 last season.
The Penguins are 10-3-1 in their past 14 games against Buffalo.
At 55.9%, the Penguins continue to lead the NHL in team faceoff percent, and captain Sidney Crosby continues to lead the league in faceoffs win, 162.
Crosby has a six-game points streak (4 goals, 5 assists) and has been held without a point just once this season.
Winger Rickard Rakell has six goals, 13 points in 17 career games against the Sabres, and, boy, could he use some offensive production after being held to no goals, three assists through the first 12 games despite some good chances.
Erik Karlsson’s 37 points (12 goals, 25 assists) and Kris Letang’s 33 points (6 goals, 27 assists) rank first and second against the Sabres among active defensemen.
Letang is two points shy of 700 for his career.
How to Watch the Game
TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh
Radio: 105.9 The X