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Scouting Report: Buffalo Sabres

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

BUFFALO, NY -- With a young group under his watch, Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has been tasked with developing budding players and establishing a level of consistency that they will need in order to be successful.

There has definitely been growing pains in Buffalo but there have been bright spots.

25-year-old Ryan O'Reilly, acquired from the Colorado Avalanche last June, leads his team in scoring with 17 goals and 49 points.

2015 second overall pick Jack Eichel has proven that he was more than capable to jump right into the NHL, sitting second in team scoring with 17 goals and 41 points.

Rasmus Ristolainen, who is just 21, has been a pillar of strength on the Buffalo blueline and has been able to provide plenty of offence. In 64 contests, he has netted eight goals and 35 points.

Sam Reinhart, who was selected second overall in 2014, has a very respectable 29 points 61 games into his first full NHL season.

In addition, the Sabres have 10 other players who are 25 years old or younger and while it may come in fits and bursts, they have all shown they have high ceilings and could be a big part of Buffalo's future success.

The Sabres are coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers, a match-up that featured inconsistencies that Bylsma has been working on with his club.

"I didn't like our team right from the start of the game," Bylsma told BuffaloSabres. "I didn’t like how prepared we were to start the game, play the game. We turned the puck over, gave them opportunities. We had four odd-man rushes in the first 12 minutes of the game.

"…We weren’t good in the game and it showed in the chances they had and it showed in the opportunities we gave them."

A bright spot in that loss was the play of 24-year-old goaltender Robin Lehner. The netminder was lights out in the setback, making 39 saves on 41 shots and posting a .951 save percentage against the Oilers.

"Robin did a great job," Bylsma told BuffaloSabres.com. "I mean he ends up with [39] saves but he had several point-blankers that were huge, especially the overtime and it probably makes it even a little bit more disappointing, the outcome of the game."

BREAKING DOWN THE SABRES

Record: 25-31-8

Power Play: 19.5 percent overall (38 goals scored in 195 chances with the man advantage), 19.6 percent at home (20 goals scored in 102 chances with the man advantage)

Penalty Kill: 83 percent overall (28 goals allowed in 165 times being short-handed), 87 percent at home (10 goals allowed in 77 times being short-handed)

2015-16 Record vs. the Flames: 0-1-0

2014-15 Record vs. the Flames: 1-1-0

Notable Injuries: Ryan O'Reilly (lower body), Cody Franson (neck), Tyler Ennis (concussion), Cody McCormick (leg)

Who's HOT: Robin Lehner

The win-loss record for Lehner is deceiving. Yes, he has dropped his last three starts but in all of those games, he has allowed two or fewer goals and kept his team in each of those outings. He is coming off a 39-save performance against the Edmonton Oilers and was named the game's second star for his efforts.

Lehner is 4-7-3 this season with a 2.29 GAA and a .933 save percentage.

Honourable Mention: Zach Bogosian

The defenceman, who was acquired from the Winnipeg jets in a trade last season, has posted three goals and five points in his last five games. During that span, Bogosian has put 10 shots on net.

In 47 skates, he has potted four goals and 14 points.

Who's NOT: Marcus Foligno

The 24-year-old winger has been fairly quiet lately, being held pointless in his last seven games and amassing a minus-two rating during that stretch.

Foligno, who was the Sabres' fourth round pick in 2009, has seven goals and 15 points in 57 games this season.

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