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Glotov, Karabacek look for strong finish at Prospects Challenge

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

While the headliners in Buffalo's win over Boston on Saturday were guys we've already seen in the NHL - Justin Bailey, Nicholas Baptiste, Hudson Fasching and Brendan Guhle all scored goals - there were a few other players who left their mark on the scoresheet, namely Vasily Glotov and Vaclav Karabacek.

Glotov tallied a pair of assists, bringing his total to three through two games, while Karabacek found the back of the net on the power play in the third period. After spending the opening game of the Prospects Challenge as linemates, the two will be reunited with Nicholas Baptiste on their right wing against Pittsburgh on Monday night.

"I think today's a really important game," Glotov said. "It's the last chance to show your whole arsenal, what you can do on the ice and show your discipline and character for management. It's pretty important. And, obviously, we've got to win."

Video: Preview: BUF vs PIT (9/11/17)

At the outset of the Prospects Challenge on Friday, Glotov said he came into the three-game slate with a clear mission. Despite being only one year removed from his selection in the seventh round of the 2016 Draft, the 20-year-old forward said he wanted to show he has what it takes to play professionally. 

Against Boston that night, Glotov centered the line with Karabacek and Daniel Muzito-Bagenda that coach Chris Taylor said was Buffalo's best in the first period. The trio was strong on the forecheck, drawing a couple of penalties and providing a blueprint for how Glotov hopes to show himself this weekend. 

"Winning more battles and being a leader on the ice," he said. "I know everybody is a prospect and some of them play NHL, some of them play AHL. Some of them are really good players in junior. But you have to step up to show you can be an NHL player. That's my goal. I have an option to go back to junior but I'm 20, so I feel like I can stay here."

Working hard and winning battles has been the main point of emphasis from Taylor to his players throughout the Prospects Challenge, which also puts Karabacek in position to succeed. The winger is embracing his fresh start following an injury-riddled rookie season that saw him appear in just 23 games for Rochester.

Karabacek has competed consistently through two games, and said he felt he played even better in Game No. 2 against Boston on Saturday than he did in the opener. He was rewarded with a promotion to the second line. 

"If I want to, I can win the battles," he said. "I have to. It's my strength in the game. Every battle I win I feel better on the ice, so it's good."

What a healthy Karabacek might be able to accomplish in his second pro season will be interesting to watch going forward. He'll need to have some success in Rochester before he's mentioned with names like Bailey and Baptiste, both of whom were drafted one year ahead of Karabacek. 

"I don't give myself any expectations," he said. "I just go here and give my best every day. What's going to come is going to come, but I'm going to give my best every day."

 

Tonight's game

Pittsburgh is coming off of a 6-2 victory over New Jersey on Saturday and like Buffalo sit at 1-0-1 at the Prospects Challenge. Jordy Bellerive, playing on an amateur tryout, scored a hat trick for the Penguins after tallying a goal and an assist against Boston on Friday. 

Puck drop between the Sabres and Penguins is scheduled for 7 p.m. Join us at HarborCenter or watch the game live on Sabres.com. 

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