A depleted San Jose Sharks squad will try for a second straight win when it hosts the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
The Sharks overcame missing seven players and coach Bob Boughner in skating to a 2-1 overtime win against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday to snap a three-game losing streak.
How many of those players, if any, will be available for Tuesday’s game is unknown.
“We’re doing the best we can,” San Jose assistant coach John MacLean said. “It’s day-to-day with this thing. So we’ll see if we add guys. I guess right now it’s either add them or lose them.”
On Monday, the team announced that forward Kevin Labanc has joined forwards Jonathan Dahlen and Matt Nieto, and defensemen Erik Karlsson, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Radim Simek and Jake Middleton in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. Boughner also remains out.
There was some good news for the Sharks on the health front, however. Forward Andrew Cogliano, who was in protocol on Saturday, was removed and practiced with the team. Captain Logan Couture, who missed the game Saturday with a non-COVID illness, also rejoined the team. Both could return to face the Sabres.
“We’re going to work as hard as we can with the group that we have,” Couture said. “It sucks that guys have to miss time, but that’s the reality of the season. Every team, whether it was last year or this season, is going through something like this. It tests the depth of the organization, and it was only one game on Saturday, but I thought it was a great show for this organization.”
The Sharks have six goals in their past four games after scoring 16 goals in their first four games of the season.
The Sabres head into Tuesday’s game after blowing a two-goal lead in a 3-2 loss against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday. It was the second straight game in which the opposition erased a multi-goal deficit against the Sabres, after the Anaheim Ducks scored three unanswered goals in a 4-3 overtime win for Buffalo on Thursday.
“It’s not concerning in the sense of you’re going to have to go through this stuff,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “We played two home teams and we gave them a little bit to get into the game. I guess the consistency is we’re in somebody else’s building, and it’s a little bit harder to control momentum in somebody else’s building.
“So, yeah, you have to pay a lot more attention to details when you’re on the road and you’re in those situations. Like every other team, we have to take all this information at us and take it to heart and become better because of it.”
The Sabres could get a boost to their lineup against the Sharks. Center Cody Eakin, who has been sidelined with an upper-body injury suffered at practice on Oct. 20, wore a regular practice jersey Monday after several days of wearing a non-contact jersey and could return against the Sharks.
Victor Olofsson, who leads the Sabres with five goals and nine points, left practice early as a precaution Monday with a soft-tissue injury, per Granato, who said he doesn’t think the forward will miss any games.
–Field Level Media