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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on December 13, 2019

Buffalo defeated Nashville on Aud Night and will get set for road game against Islanders on Saturday

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

The Sabres picked up another pair of points last night in their 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators. Buffalo now has points in eight of its last nine games (they're 5-1-3 in that stretch) and improved to 10-3-3 on home ice this season. 

Individually, there's lots to talk about. Jack Eichel extended his point streak to 15 games (14+13), tying Patrick Kane for the longest point streak in the NHL this season. He now has the sixth-longest streak in Sabres history.

Victor Olofsson's game-winning goal put him at 19 points (7+12) in his last 18 games. He now leads all NHL rookies with 29 points this season (13+16).

Linus Ullmark earned the win to improve to 6-1-1 with a .923 save percentage in his last eight appearances.

Here's what you need to know. 

A look back at last night

Video: Eichel extends point streak, leads Sabres past Preds

From the Postgame Report… 

Sam Reinhart has played with Jack Eichel since the start of their rookie seasons in 2015, often as linemates. He's been in the building for virtually every point Eichel has tallied in the NHL. 

Apparently, it never gets old. Reinhart was just as awed as those in the KeyBank Center crowd when he saw Eichel score the first of his two goals against the Nashville Predators on Thursday. 

Eichel received the puck on the outer edge of the left faceoff circle and deked by a defender as he cut toward the net. As he drifted toward defenseman Ryan Ellis down low, Eichel saw a small window of daylight above the inside shoulder of goaltender Juuse Saros and delivered a laser in off the crossbar.

"I kind of blacked out watching it, just like you guys," Reinhart said afterward. 

"He's probably the best player in the world right now," their linemate, Victor Olofsson, added. 

Video: POSTGAME: Eichel

Video: POSTGAME: Krueger

Video: POSTGAME SHOW: Rasmus Ristolainen  

Eichel provided the highlights in a 4-3 victory for the Sabres, their third in a row. His two goals extended his point streak to 15 games, tied with Chicago's Patrick Kane for the longest in the NHL this season. His 22 goals rank second in the NHL to Boston's David Pastrnak; his 17 even-strength goals rank first. 

But while Eichel's teammates were more than willing to continue to discuss the latest installment in his memorable first half to the season, the Sabres captain preferred to point out the other ingredients he felt were just as crucial to the victory. 

He pointed out the line of Zemgus Girgensons, Johan Larsson, and Kyle Okposo. The hardworking trio has found their offensive touch as of late, but their tenacious forechecking and defensive awareness has made them an example for other lines to follow all season long. 

Eichel credited a shift by Larsson's line in the second period with making his second goal possible. Girgensons, Larsson, and Okposo wore down the Predators defenders until they finally iced the puck. With the Predators still catching their breath, Eichel's line came over the boards and put the Sabres ahead, 3-2. 

"They bring it every night and they're playing huge minutes for us, sometimes playing against the other team's top line," Eichel said. "They've been tremendous. I think they jumpstarted us again tonight with just the way they've been playing."  

Video: POSTGAME: Reinhart

Video: POSTGAME: Vesey

Sabres coach Ralph Krueger felt his team's job defending its lead on Tuesday was the best of the season. It carried over into Thursday, which ended with the same six Sabres on the ice in an empty-net situation: Ullmark, Eichel, Girgensons, Larsson, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Henri Jokiharju. 

"Nashville never gave up, never stopped pushing," Krueger said. "They're just so dangerous offensively. I thought the guys did an excellent job at defending down the stretch. There was pressure on us right through, but we battled hard - really hard. 

"Lots of shot lanes, lots of one-on-one in the corners. It was just an outstanding hockey game all around."

Read the full recap here.

Stay tuned for coverage from practice today before the team heads out to Long Islander for Saturday's afternoon road game. It's a 1 p.m. faceoff against the Islanders with the Buick Game Night pregame show starting at 12:30 on MSG. 

 

Postgame notes

From @SabresPR…

Eichel now ranks second in the NHL with 22 goals this season. His six multi-goal games in 2019-20 lead the league.

With Buffalo's first goal of the night, Jimmy Vesey extended his point streak to three games (1+2). Vesey now has eight points (4+4) in the Sabres' last 11 games. The goal was also the 100th point of his NHL career.

Rasmus Ristolainen's assist on Vesey's goal gave him seven points (1+6) in his last eight games.

Sam Reinhart's two-assist performance tonight gives him seven points (3+4) in his last five games and nine points (6+3) in nine career games against the Predators.


Aud Night festivities

During the game, we looked back at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, dressed up the seats in Aud-colored T-shirts, and celebrated the 1980s with Aud Night. Here are some of the highlights:

Video: Aud Night Video Open

Video: NSH@BUF: Sabres honor legends from the 1980s

Click here to view a photo gallery featuring alumni who attended, including Dave Andreychuk, Uwe Krupp, Dave Snuggerud, Larry Playfair and Mike Foligno.

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