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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on December 18, 2019

Buffalo plays on the road in Philadelphia tomorrow

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Jack Eichel's point streak is now at 17 games. It's the longest streak in the NHL this season and he's now one-game shy of tying the franchise record, set by Gilbert Perreault in 1971-72.

Eichel has 30 points (15+15) since the streak began on Nov. 16. He recorded a goal and an assist last night, but the Sabres lost on the road to Toronto 5-3. 

They'll be back at it with a game tomorrow night against the Flyers. Pregame coverage on MSG will start at 6:30. 

Here's what you need to know. 


About last night

Video: BUF Recap: Eichel extends point streak in loss

From the Postgame Report…

Jack Eichel extended his point streak to 17 games with a goal and an assist during a third-period push, but the Buffalo Sabres were ultimately unable to overcome an early deficit in a 5-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday. 

Rasmus Dahlin and Kyle Okposo also scored goals during the third period, which began with the Sabres trailing 3-0. They went on a late power play with the chance to tie the game with but surrendered an empty-net goal to Ilya Mikheyev with 2:34 remaining. 

Video: POSTGAME: Eichel

"I'm, just looking back now, disappointed that we didn't make more of a game of it early because you could see when we made the push and we got to our game, we found our legs, there was a real chance to take points here tonight," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said.

"That speaks for the character of the group. We can recover within a game, so that's something to build on, but also to look at is how we deal with what aren't really long breaks. We seem to have a little bit of trouble coming out of them."

Video: POSTGAME: Okposo

Okposo has three goals in six games since returning from a concussion on Dec. 7. Though he's played a key role on a line with Zemgus Girgensons and Johan Larsson all season, he had only scored one goal in his first 19 contests predating the injury.

"I think Kyle is underrated a little bit in what he does for us," Krueger said. "His habits are strong, he's a competitive player and his puck decisions have been outstanding since his return from his head injury. 

"We actually feel that he's taken it to another level, which is good for us to see. He really willed that goal in. The competitor in there helps our younger players really, day in and day out. His work ethic, as you all now, is second to none in practice, off ice and everywhere else."

Read the full recap here.


1st-place Amerks play tonight


A two-game sweep of the Laval Rocket this past weekend has the Rochester Americans three points ahead of the Toronto Marlies for first place in the AHL's North Division standings with three games remaining prior to the annual Christmas break. 

Rochester comes into the week having earned points in 15 of its last 16 contests dating back to Nov. 1, showing a 13-1-1-1 record over that span. 

The Amerks have posted different win streaks of three or more, including a stretch of five straight wins from Nov. 13 to Nov. 23.

They'll face the Binghamton Devils tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton. The game will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.

Read more in this week's Amerks Update.

The Skills Challenge is coming

The second annual Sabres Skills Challenge presented by New Era Cap will take place on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020 at KeyBank Center.

Current Sabres players will be divided into two teams to compete against each other in an All-Star style event designed for fans of all ages. Net proceeds from the event will benefit the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.

The teams will participate in five different competitions:

• Hardest Shot presented by Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort
• Accuracy Showdown presented by KeyBank
• Puck Control Relay presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York
• Power Play Challenge presented by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
• Shootout Challenge presented by New Era Cap
• One-Timer Challenge presented by LECOM

As part of the Sabres' Golden Season celebration, players will be dressed in custom jerseys in recognition of the 1978 NHL All-Star Game that was held in Buffalo. The jerseys will be auctioned off after the event at All proceeds from the auction will benefit the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.

Prior to the start of the Skills Challenge, the Sabres will be hosting an autograph session featuring Sabres alumni presented by MSG Networks beginning at 9:30 a.m. 

Fans will be given a ticket to one autograph table, to which alumni will be assigned randomly. There will be a 200-ticket limit per table and autographs will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors will open at 9 a.m. for the autograph session.

Tickets will be available for $10. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

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