BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Sabres will allow around 1,900 fans into the building when they host the New York Rangers on Saturday night. The game seems to be on the verge of not selling out, with $40 tickets still available at 3 p.m. on gameday.
But the Sabres have shown improvements under interim coach Don Granato which could drive fans into KeyBank Center for one of the three remaining games allowing spectators this season.
"I think we're doing the right things the majority of the game now, and it's giving us the opportunity to be in the game," forward Cody Eakin said after Saturday's morning skate, referencing Tage Thompson goal with second remaining to tie the game and pick up a point for the Sabres two nights beforehand.
"Three seconds left, it's a big play by Tage. ... It's a belief, and it's ... that we can come back, we can pull the goalie and get that tying goal."
Before Granato's appointment to the interim head coach, Thompson's game was struggling. Former head coach Ralph Krueger tried out the 23-year-old on Jack Eichel's top line, before the Sabres captain was injured on March 7, and Thompson was unable to produce.
Granato is under the impression everyone needs to produce for the Sabres to be successful.
"This has to be a team effort, so we're really pushing that when we speak together as a team that everybody is needed, or this isn't going to work," Granato said. "Within a game, there's a range of who's on any given night, and my belief is you have to read that as a coach... Some guy may be feeling a little better and he's more effective."
"We will continue to [have different players contribute]. I don't see that changing because there is a difference within a game between the energy one guy has to another."
After Saturday night's game, the Sabres will allow fans for Friday night's game against the Washington Capitals, Saturday, April 17 against Pittsburgh and Friday, April 23 against Boston.