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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on December 23, 2019

The Sabres in Ottawa tonight for their final game before the holiday break

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

It's a game night in Ottawa as the Sabres will play the Senators tonight. 

Faceoff is at 7:30 p.m. with the Buick Game Night pregame show going on the air at 7 on MSG. 

After the game, the NHL goes on holiday break. Buffalo's next game will be Friday at home against the Boston Bruins. Tickets are on sale now.

Here's what you need to know.

 

Tonight's matchup

From @SabresPR's Game Notes…

  • The Sabres have gone 11-3-3 in their last 17 games against the Senators.
  • The home team has won each of the five meetings between these teams since the beginning of last season.

 

  • Victor Olofsson has recorded points in each of Buffalo's last six games (4+4). He has joined John Tucker (1984-85) as just the second Sabres rookie to record two different six-game point streaks in a season.
  • Olofsson has now recorded 24 points (10+14) in his last 22 games, including two-point performances in five of the team's last 10 games. He has failed to record a point in just three of those 22 games.

 

  • Jack Eichel has recorded 23 points (9+14) in 14 career games against the Senators, including at least a point in all but two of those games and eight points (3+6) in six road games. 
  • His 23 points and 1.64 points per game against the Senators represent his best outputs against any NHL opponent.

 

  • Since scoring four goals on Nov. 16 against Ottawa, Eichel has recorded a point in a career-best 18 straight games played. He has tied Gilbert Perreault (Oct. 24 to Dec. 4, 1971) for the most consecutive games played with a point in franchise history. 
  • It's the NHL's fifth-longest personal point streak in the last decade, trailing only Taylor Hall (26 in 2017-18), Patrick Kane (26 in 2015-16), Sidney Crosby (25 in 2010-11) and Patrick Kane (20 in 2018-19).

 

  • Sam Reinhart has totaled 16 points (6+10) in 17 career meetings with the Senators, including two-point games in three of the last four matchups.

 

Sunday's practice

Video: SABRES IN :50

From the Ice Level Practice Report…

With about 3:30 left in Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Kings - after a stretch of nearly six minutes without any whistles - Buffalo Sabres coach Ralph Krueger turned to a small group of players to help seal the victory. 

Ahead 2-1, the line of Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Victor Olofsson were on the ice when Olofsson potted an empty-net goal with 1:33 remaining. The goal proved to be the game-winner in a 3-2 victory. 

"What we love about their game is how connected they are defensively and how hard they work to do the right things without the puck to get it back," Krueger said after practice on Sunday at KeyBank Center. "That's the goal of course: When you don't have it, get it back.

"They are as good as any line as I've seen at working when we don't have the puck and positioning themselves. We just have more and more confidence with them as a line."

That line, along with Marcus Johansson, Zemgus Girgensons, Kyle Okposo, Rasmus Ristolainen, Henri Jokiharju, Zach Bogosian and Jake McCabe were on the ice for nearly every second of Buffalo's late defensive effort. 

Video: AFTER PRACTICE: Krueger

When asked about the development of Okoposo's defensive role, Krueger shed some light on how he manages the end of games in which Buffalo has a lead and what he's looking for when it comes to players he can consistently rely on in those moments.

"We have a lot of confidence in him without the puck. You saw him also part of the Closing Team yesterday. I kind of call it the Closing Group - who's closing the game out, which 10 guys are going to be out there the last four minutes - and Kyle was in that mix again," Krueger said.  

"And it's just because, again, the puck management that he has right now is outstanding. He's making really good decisions under pressure and also defensively, getting into position, working hard, using his body and size and again, also the leadership he gives in the room, you can't buy that. It's fantastic to have Kyle Okposo in the mix and we're excited that he's becoming such an important part of this whole project."

Read more here.  


Spreading holiday cheer

Earlier this month, the Sabres attended Roswell Park Comprehensive Center's holiday party:

Video: Sabres visit Roswell Park for the holidays

 

Today in Sabres history

Watch: Youtube Video

2013: The Sabres top the Coyotes 2-1 in overtime despite dressing only 16 skaters and losing Drew Stafford to a game misconduct in the second period.

You may remember it better as the "Butt Goal Game."

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