The Buffalo Sabres may have put an end to the franchise’s longest overall losing streak, but their road woes still remain.
The Sabres look to earn their first road win in nearly a month and avoid losing eight straight away from home for the first time in franchise history on Monday when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes for the first time in five years.
After ending a franchise-record 10-game losing streak with a 10-1 rout of Atlanta on Friday, Buffalo (20-20-6) opened a seven-game road trip Saturday with a 4-2 loss at Toronto.
“Back-to-back games aren’t easy, but the position that we’re in, we need to win these back-to-backs,” Sabres defenseman Brian Campbell said.
Buffalo also needs to figure out how to win away from HSBC Arena.
The Sabres have lost seven straight road games since a 6-5 shootout victory over Philadelphia on Dec. 22. They have been outscored 20-9 during the slide, and have been stopped on all 25 of their power-play opportunities.
With Saturday’s loss at Toronto, Buffalo matched the 37-year-old franchise’s longest road losing streak, set most recently Jan. 10-Feb. 3, 1996.
The Sabres, who travel to Dallas for a game Thursday and play four more on the road following the All-Star break, don’t have another home game until Feb. 6 against New Jersey.
Buffalo won its last game in Phoenix by the score of 1-0, but that game was on Jan. 18, 2003. The Coyotes beat the Sabres 2-1 in a shootout at Buffalo last season, and have won six of the last eight meetings overall.
Buffalo left wing Daniel Paille notched his 10th goal of the season on Saturday. He has scored half of those goals in his last five games.
Goaltender Ryan Miller made 19 saves against the Maple Leafs, as he fell to 1-5-4 with a 2.23 goals-against average in his last 11 starts. He is 0-4-2 with a 2.13 GAA on the road since Dec. 28.
Miller has never faced Phoenix in his career, while backup Jocelyn Thibault, who is 2-3-1 with a 3.24 GAA and a shutout on the season, is 13-7-0 with four ties, three shutouts and a 1.98 GAA lifetime against the Coyotes franchise.
Phoenix (24-21-2) suffered a 2-1 shootout loss to Chicago on Saturday, its fourth defeat in seven games following a season-high five-game winning streak.
The Coyotes outshot the Blackhawks 39-24, though, and coach Wayne Gretzky was pleased with the effort after Thursday’s 4-3 loss to Columbus.
“We were physical and I thought we played a very solid hockey game,” Gretzky said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get two points out of it, but you know what, they played hard and I liked the way we bounced back after a not great effort on Thursday night.”
Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 22 shots on Saturday, as his three-game home winning streak ended. Bryzgalov has never faced the Sabres in his career.