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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on December 26, 2019

Cozens, Samuelsson to face off against each other in World Juniors opening day action

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

The 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship kicks off today from the Czech Republic. 

The Sabres will be back on the ice tomorrow for a game against the Bruins at KeyBank Center. Tickets are on sale now.

Here's what you need to know. 


World Juniors preview

Over the next two weeks, four Buffalo Sabres prospects will be competing at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic in search of a gold medal.

Dylan Cozens (CAN), Mattias Samuelsson (USA), Matej Pekar (CZE) and Erik Portillo (SWE) will each try to help lead their respective countries to a championship.

There are four games on the docket today:

Russia vs. Czech Republic, 9 a.m. (Live on NHL Network)
Switzerland vs. Kazakhstan, 9 a.m. 
Finland vs. Sweden, 1 p.m. 
Canada vs. U.S., 1 p.m. (Live on NHL Network)

Cozens and Samuelsson will go head-to-head today.

Click here for a look at each player and the full schedule.


A look back at Monday's game

Video: BUF Recap: Eichel's point streak ends in 3-1 loss

From the Postgame Report...

If there was one moment to encapsulate the Buffalo Sabres' final game before the holiday break, it was a wrap-around opportunity Evan Rodrigues had in the third period. 

The Sabres trailed, 2-1, and Rodrigues was toward the end of a long shift in the Ottawa zone. The puck slid through the blue paint behind goalie Craig Anderson as Rodrigues wrapped behind the Ottawa net, in perfect position to pounce at the other side. 

Rodrigues timed it perfectly, only to see Anderson making a lunging stop with his blocker. 

"He made the saves he needed to win the game," Rodrigues said afterward.

Video: POSTGAME: Girgensons

Video: POSTGAME: Rodrigues 

That save was one of 43 the veteran Anderson made to lead the Senators to a 3-1 victory. The Sabres outshot the Senators, 44-29, with 19 of those shots coming in the final 20 minutes, yet their only goal came on a feed from Rodrigues to Zemgus Girgensons in the second period. 

Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored twice for the Senators, including the game-winner at 5:16 of the third period. Brady Tkachuk buried an empty-netter to complete a three-point night, which included the primary assists on both Pageau goals. 

Video: POSTGAME: Krueger

Video: POSTGAME: Skinner 

The Sabres entered the contest looking to build on their 3-2 victory at home over Los Angeles on Saturday. They began the night with good stretches of possession in the Senators zone, though coach Ralph Krueger felt they initially lacked the net-front presence to capitalize. 

"The 25 scoring chances and the 44 shots speak for themselves," Krueger said. "I think Anderson had a world-class game today and we had good control early in the game, but we weren't creating the net pressure we should have out of the puck control we had, and they were opportunistic on their chances."

Click here to read the full recap. 

After the game, the Sabres assigned forward Curtis Lazar to the Rochester Americans.  


Skills Challenge is Jan. 5

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.

Click here for the rosters and list of events.

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