3 players who must stay hot to give the Buffalo Sabres a win tonight in Pittsburgh

The Buffalo Sabres won big two days ago in Montreal, and a trio of players played arguably their best games of the season.

Jan 4, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki (14) pushes the puck
Jan 4, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki (14) pushes the puck / Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
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The Buffalo Sabres scored a convincing win against the Montreal Canadiens two nights ago, but we know how poorly they have played all season after coming off of a victory. Therefore, a few players who enjoyed some epic outings must step up in tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

One player is Casey Mittelstadt, who has been the team’s most productive forward in 2023-24 and arguably their best skater. Mittelstadt snagged a goal and an assist on Thursday night, and he has 33 points and 11 goals in 39 games played overall, putting him well on pace to once again shatter his career-highs. 

But Mittelstadt is just one player who needs a strong outing to help Buffalo win two games in a row for just the second time this season. Below, three other players must do the same, and if it occurs, Buffalo may finally find themselves on a winning streak. 

Who needs to stay hot for the Buffalo Sabres in tonight’s game?

1 - Tage Thompson

It looks like Tage Thompson is indeed back to his usual self after rediscovering his game when he was cleared to shed the wrist/hand brace. Tage had three points in Thursday night’s win over the Canadiens with two goals and an assist, and it’s the latest in a recent roll he’s found himself on.

Tage now has a pair of three-point games in his last five outings, with the previous one coming in the Sabres 9-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has eight points, four goals, four assists, and a plus-one rating in those five games, and overall, 24 points and 12 goals in 29 contests.

2 - Jeff Skinner

Perhaps no other forward is in vintage mode more than Jeff Skinner, who continued to dominate the Canadiens on their home ice. Skinner scored four points, one goal, and three assists on Thursday night, and like Tage, he’s been playing rather well.

While he only scored twice - one goal and one assist - in the four games leading up to Thursday night, Skinner also snagged a plus-2 rating in that span. He now has 31 points and 16 goals on the year after 36 contests, and anything remotely close to a repeat performance from last night will give the Buffalo Sabres a massive boost.

3 - Jack Quinn

Last week, I gave Jack Quinn recognition following the second-year winger’s immediate production in his comeback from an Achilles injury. Quinn has continued that trend, and he seems to be getting hotter, having scored two points, one goal, and an assist in the Blue and Gold’s win over the Canadiens. 

He has seen time in just seven games this season, but his four goals and one assist so far are more than encouraging. If Quinn continues to improve as the season wears on, the Penguins aren’t the only team in the immediate future that needs to worry about him. 

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)