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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on December 17, 2019

Buffalo plays on the road in Toronto tonight on NBCSN and WGR 550

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Buffalo is in Toronto tonight for a big divisional matchup against the Maple Leafs. 

Faceoff is at 7 p.m. on NBCSN. Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray will have the call on WGR 550.

Here's what you need to know. 


Tonight's matchup

From @SabresPR's Game Notes…

  • Jack Eichel enters today's game on a career-best 16-game point streak that began on Nov. 16. The streak is the longest recorded by an NHL player this season.
  • Entering play Monday, his 15 goals, 29 points and plus-19 rating during the streak all led the NHL during that timeframe. His 13 assists were one shy of the league lead during that stretch.
  • The streak is tied for the fourth-longest in franchise history and is the longest by a Sabre since Tim Connolly tallied points in 16 consecutive games from Dec. 23, 2009 to Jan. 25, 2010.


  • Buffalo enters the game with a point in each of the team's last five games (3-0-2). A win or overtime loss tonight would give the Sabres their second six-game point streak of the season after going 5-0-1 in the first six games of 2019-20.


  • After scoring at least a goal in each of Buffalo's last three games, Jack Eichel entered play Monday with the second-most goals in the league this season (23). Eichel has been selected as the NHL's Third Star of the week for each of the last two weeks.


  • Victor Olofsson has recorded 20 points (8+12) in his last 19 games, including two-point performances in four of the team's last seven games. He has failed to record a point in just three of those 19 games and entered play Monday leading all NHL rookies in goals (14) and points (30) this season.


  • This is the third of four meetings between the Sabres and Maple Leafs this season.
  • Last meeting: Toronto defeated Buffalo 2-1 (OT) in Toronto on Nov 30.
  • Next meeting: Sunday, Feb. 16 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Maple Leafs; 3-5-2 on the road.

Yesterday's practice

Video: Sabres players react to Bills clinching playoff spot

Sabres general manager Jason Botterill and coach Ralph Krueger brought Casey Mittelstadt into KeyBank Center on Sunday to inform him he was being assigned to Rochester and talk him through the steps ahead. 

Immediately, Botterill said, Mittelstadt turned his attention toward making the necessary improvements to return to the NHL. 

"It's always an emotional conversation when you're talking to somebody about this, but what I liked was his initial respect for the American Hockey League level and the excitement of going and playing," Botterill said Monday. 

Botterill said the decision to assign Mittelstadt to Rochester was made to ensure the 21-year-old center would get the necessary playing time to continue his development. Mittelstadt had been scratched for three of the team's past four games after appearing in each of the first 30 games of the season.

He will now have the chance to be an impact player on a nightly basis for a team in the thick of its own playoff race. The Amerks are 13-1-1 in their past 15 games and have ascended to first place in the North Division. 

Video: Jason Botterill speaks with the media

"We see his hockey sense. We see his skill level and we've seen glimpses of it. We just have to see it on a more consistent basis," Botterill said. "He's a very motivated young player who has a lot of aspirations.

"… We need to get away from the discussion of whether he should be in the lineup or how many minutes. We want him to be an impact player, and that's where we think developing a few elements of his game in Rochester right now is going to be beneficial for him and our organization."

Video: AFTER PRACTICE: Ralph Krueger

Krueger echoed Botterill's assessment. 

"Casey has the opportunity now in Rochester with a little more time and space to work on these things and to get more reps, more minutes to continue to work on his habits," he said. 

"He's a very young player, there's a lot we ask for somebody who's eventually going to be an important piece of our team as a centerman in the National Hockey League. We just all found for his development this is the right place to be."

Check out the full report here.

Eichel named NHL's 3rd Star of the Week yet again

Video: BUF@NYI: Eichel scores PPG to tie it late in the 3rd

Jack Eichel has been named the NHL's Third Star of the Week for the second straight week, the league announced Monday. 

Eichel put together three multi-point outings against St. Louis, Nashville, and the New York Islanders, with five goals and an assist during the week ending Dec. 15. The Sabres went 2-0-1 to gain five of a possible six points.

The Sabres captain is currently on a 16-game point streak, the longest by any player in the NHL this season and tied as the fourth longest in franchise history. Only Gilbert Perreault (18 games in 1971) and Dave Andreychuk (17 games, twice) have put together longest streaks as Sabres.

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: 👀#Sabres50 | @JackEichel15

Read the full story here.

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