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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on December 21, 2019

Buffalo hosts Los Angeles for a 1 p.m. faceoff this afternoon

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Ready for a Buffalo sports doubleheader? The Sabres face the Los Angeles Kings this afternoon at KeyBank Center. And then the Buffalo Bills take on the New England Patriots on the road. 

Faceoff for the Sabres is at 1 p.m. on MSG and 930 WBEN. Tickets are on sale now. Catch the GMC Game Night pregame show at 12:30 on MSG. 

Jack Eichel and Evan Rodrgiues are game-time decisions as they are both recovering from injuries.

Here's what you need to know. 


Today's matchup

From @SabresPR's Game Notes…

  • This is the second of two meetings between the Sabres and Kings this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Los Angeles 3-0 in Los Angeles on Oct. 17
  • The Sabres are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Kings; 9-1-0 at home.
  • This is the 127th game all-time between Buffalo and Los Angeles; Buffalo has a 62-45-19 series record.
  • The Sabres are 36-17-9 at home against the Kings all-time.


  • The Sabres have compiled a 15-2-1 record (one tie) at home against the Kings dating back to the beginning of the 1993-94 season, outscoring Los Angeles 73-32 in those games. The Kings' lone wins in Buffalo during that stretch came on Feb. 21, 2003 and Feb. 17, 2018.


  • Buffalo has gone 7-for-27 (25.9%) on the power play in nine games during the month of December. The Sabres have scored at least one power-play goal in each of the team's last three games, going 4-for-7 (57.1%) during that stretch.


  • Victor Olofsson has 13 points (5+8) this month. He has recorded 23 points (9+14) in his last 21 games, including two-point performances in five of the team's last nine games. He has failed to record a point in just three of those 21 games.
  • Olofsson's goal and point totals currently have him on pace for the best offensive season by a Sabres rookie in decades.
  • If he maintains his current pace, he would finish the season with the most goals by a Sabres rookie (34) since Ray Sheppard's 38 in 1987-88 and the most points ever recorded by a Sabres rookie (75), topping Rick Martin's franchise-record 74 in 1971-72.


  • Rasmus Dahlin has recorded at least a point (1+4) in each of his four games since returning from an eight-game injury absence and now has seven points (1+6) in his last seven games played dating back to Nov. 21.


Friday's practice

Video: Jack Eichel returns to practice

From the Ice Level Practice Report...

Buffalo Sabres coach Ralph Krueger described the status of captain Jack Eichel as day-to-day after the forward participated in practice with the team at KeyBank Center on Friday. 

Eichel was ruled out with an upper-body injury prior to the start of Buffalo's game in Philadelphia on Thursday. Krueger said the situation developed while Eichel was on the ice for warmups. 

The Sabres have two games remaining prior to the Christmas break, beginning with a matinee against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. 

"It remains a day-to-day," Krueger said. "… He was out there practicing, and we'll make that call tomorrow."

Video: Relive Jack Eichel's incredible 17-game point streak

Eichel's absence ended his point streak at 17 games, one shy of Gilbert Perreault's franchise record. He led the NHL with 31 points, 16 goals, and a plus-17 rating in that span. 

"It's obviously frustrating," Eichel said. "You never want to not be on the ice with the team. I'm a competitive guy, I want to be out there every night. But I thought it was the best for me at that time."

Video: AFTER PRACTICE: Ralph Krueger

Evan Rodrigues also practiced after taking a shot off his leg that forced him to leave the game against the Flyers in the third period. Krueger said the assessment of Rodrigues' injury on Friday was positive, but his status will also be re-evaluated Saturday morning. 

Johan Larsson, who left the game in Philadelphia during the second period, remained absent with an upper-body injury. Though the injury is not considered serious, Krueger said the centerman will mess the next two games leading into the break.

"It's obviously nothing that serious but he's a tough guy," Krueger said. "He worked and tried to go through it yesterday and we found it was better to pull him."

The Sabres recalled Curtis Lazar on Friday morning to round out the 12-man forward group. Lazar stepped right into Larsson's slot centering a line with Zemgus Girgensons and Kyle Okposo, which has served as a tone-setting trio for the team all season.

Read more here.

Skills Challenge rosters announced

Rosters for the second annual Sabres Skills Challenge presented by New Era Cap have been announced. 

The event will take place on Sunday, Jan. 5 at KeyBank Center. Doors will open at 9 a.m. for an alumni autograph session at 9:30. The Sabres Skills Challenge will start at 11.

Current Sabres players have been divided into two teams to compete against each other in an All-Star-style event designed for fans of all ages. Tickets are $10 and are on sale now. Net proceeds from the event will benefit the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.

Here are the rosters:

Wales Conference 

Jack Eichel
Zemgus Girgensons
Marcus Johansson
Johan Larsson
Evan Rodrigues
Conor Sheary
Henri Jokiharju
Brandon Montour
Rasmus Ristolainen
Marco Scandella
Linus Ullmark

Campbell Conference

Rasmus Asplund
Kyle Okposo
Victor Olofsson
Sam Reinhart
Jeff Skinner
Jimmy Vesey
Zach Bogosian
Rasmus Dahlin
Jake McCabe
Colin Miller
Carter Hutton

Rosters are subject to change.

A breakdown of events and even more information can be found here.


Today in Sabres history

1975: Rick Martin scores four goals and Fred Stanfield scores three as the Sabres defeat Washington by a score of 14-2, the largest winning margin in franchise history. The Sabres roster combined for 40 points in the game, the most in team history.

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