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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on October 5, 2019

The home opener is tonight against New Jersey

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Gilbert Perreault. Danny Gare. Floyd Smith. Michael Peca. Craig Rivet. Toni Lydman. Gerry Meehan. Jochen Hecht. Brian Gionta. Don Luce. Brian Campbell. Mike Foligno. Donald Audette. Jason Pominville. Stu Barnes. 

Those 15 Sabres captains are back in Buffalo tonight to participate in a pregame ceremony to kick off the home portion of the Golden Season schedule. Smith, the first captain in team history, will drop the puck for a ceremonial faceoff.

There's a Party in the Plaza starting at 5 p.m. featuring kid-friendly activities, sponsor activations, and live music from The Strictly Hip. The former captains will walk the Blue and Gold Carpet at around 5:30 to greet fans on their way into KeyBank Center.

If you're attending the game, make sure you're in your seat by 6:45 p.m. so you don't miss any of the pregame ceremony. If you're enjoying the game on TV, catch the GMC Game Night pregame show on MSG at 6:30. Once the game gets going, Rick Jeanneret and Rob Ray will have the call on MSG and WGR 550.

Got all that? Here's what else you need to know. 

Tonight's matchup

From @SabresPR's Game Notes… 

  • Tonight's game marks the 49th home-opener in franchise history.
  • The Sabres are 21-20-7 all-time in their first home game of the season. Buffalo is looking for its first win in a home-opener since the team's 5-2 win vs. Philadelphia on Jan. 20, 2013.
  • The Sabres have previously opened their home schedule against the Devils once in franchise history, a 2-1 win on Jan. 25, 1995 featuring Sabres goals by Donald Audette and Wayne Presley and a 29-save performance by Dominik Hasek.


  • This is the first of three meetings between the Sabres and Devils this season.
  • Last meeting: New Jersey defeated Buffalo 3-1 in New Jersey on March 25
  • Next meeting: Monday, Dec. 2 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Devils; 4-5-1 at home.


A few more things about tonight's game

From our Ice Level Practice Report…

Fans who walk into KeyBank Center on Saturday night will be greeted by a series of banners hung throughout the atrium, each depicting a moment from the Sabres' 50-year history. 

There are images of Dominik Hasek, Pat LaFontaine, Danny Gare, and Daniel Briere. Fans will see Gilbert Perreault being carried on the shoulders of his teammates after scoring his 500th NHL goal and Ryan Miller and company at the inaugural Winter Classic in Orchard Park. 

Among those banners is an image of Jack Eichel celebrating his second NHL goal. Eichel will again find himself among Sabres greats prior to Saturday's home opener against New Jersey, when the team welcomes 15 former captains to the ice as part of a pregame ceremony. 

Eichel had just passed beneath those atrium banners as he considered what the moment will mean.  

"It's a really, really special moment just to put that into perspective and think about the franchise and obviously what an honor it is to be the captain of this franchise," he said. 

"To think about the history and all the past captains, what it was like for them to wear the 'C,' and for me to carry on the tradition - it's a complete honor. It's really cool that the Sabres are doing this tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to it."

Read more here.


At the door, fans will receive a "Scratch and Score" card that they can redeem for prizes at local KeyBank branches while supplies last. 

When fans arrive at their seat, they'll find a a Sabres commemorative home opener T-shirt courtesy of KeyBank waiting for them.

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: Their legacy lives on. #Sabres50 Get a copy of this poster in the game program tomorrow. See you soon, Buffalo!

The Sabres will be wearing their Golden Season jerseys on the ice for the first time, too.

Video: Introducing The Golden Jersey

Click here for full details.

We also have other surprises in store throughout the night so be ready. 

Friday's practice

Video: Sabres defense getting the job done

More from the Ice Level Practice Report…

The Sabres stuck with the same lines that led them to the win in Pittsburgh on Thursday:

68 Victor Olofsson - 9 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart
53 Jeff Skinner - 90 Marcus Johansson - 17 Vladimir Sobotka
13 Jimmy Vesey - 37 Casey Mittelstadt - 43 Conor Sheary
28 Zemgus Girgensons - 22 Johan Larsson - 21 Kyle Okposo / 71 Evan Rodrigues

19 Jake McCabe - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
26 Rasmus Dahlin - 33 Colin Miller
6 Marco Scandella - 10 Henri Jokiharju
58 John Gilmour

40 Carter Hutton
35 Linus Ullmark

The team will not skate this morning, but we'll speak to head coach Ralph Krueger at around 10 a.m.

Here's what Krueger had to say after yesterday's practice:

Video: Ralph Krueger after practice

Last night, the Devils lost to the Jets 5-4 in the shootout at home after holding a 4-0 lead in the second period. 


Amerks win their opener

Watch: Youtube Video

From the recap...

On the strength of a pair of goals from forward Tage Thompson, including the game-winner with 43 seconds left in overtime, the Rochester Americans (1-0-0-0) opened their 64th season in the American Hockey League with a 3-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch (0-0-1-0) Friday night at Blue Cross Arena.

Along with Thompson, who has 11 points (8+3) in his last nine AHL games dating back to last season, Rasmus Asplund and Zach Redmond each added two assists. Second-year forward Andrew Oglevie completed the scoring for Rochester while goaltender Andrew Hammond earned the victory as he made 27 saves in his Amerks debut.

Jarrett Burton, Curtis Lazar, Jean-Sebastien Dea all wore the Rochester jersey for the first game while Jacob Bryson dressed in his first professional contest.


Today in Sabres history

2005: Thomas Vanek records his first NHL point with an assist in his NHL debut, a 6-4 win vs. NY Islanders.

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