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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on December 28, 2019

Buffalo will practice today before heading to Boston to close out the home-and-home series against the Bruins

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

The Buffalo Sabres will return to practice today following last night's 3-0 loss to the Boston Bruins. Then they'll head to the airport as they get set for another game against the Bruins tomorrow night.

Sunday's game is scheduled for 7 p.m. from TD Garden. 

Buffalo's next home game is on New Year's Eve when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tickets are on sale now.

Here's what you need to know. 

 

A look back at last night

Video: BUF Recap: Home win streak ends in shutout loss

From the Postgame Report… 

For the first 19 minutes of their game against the Boston Bruins on Friday, Ralph Krueger saw the Buffalo Sabres shake off the early rust of a three-day break and settle into their 5-on-5 game. 

The Sabres outshot the Bruins in that period, 11-8. They outchanced them at 5-on-5, too, by a tally of 9-4 (according to NaturalStatTrick.com). But a holding call against Marcus Johansson in the final minute led to a power-play goal for Boston's Patrice Bergeron, and Krueger felt the game change.   

The Bruins controlled the second period to the tune of a 12-5 shot advantage, which ended with a second goal from Bergeron to make it 2-0. The Sabres pushed hard in the third period, but ultimately fell short in what ended as a 3-0 loss. 

Video: POSTGAME: Eichel

Video: POSTGAME: Johansson 

Though Bergeron's two-goal outing will surely stand out on the score sheet, Krueger's focus afterward had more to do with the chances the Sabres left on the table. 

"There were [enough chances] there to turn this game and we didn't do it, which we have to be angry about," he said. "I thought it was less the two goals against that we were going to dwell on than what can we do to produce more and create more net presence and stick around for second chances and that really cost us the game. 

"Boston didn't need many opportunities. They're an experienced team. They jump in those holes and they do damage very quickly. We've got to get that ruthlessness when we felt in the first period we had the upper hand. We need to get ourselves the lead and we didn't do it. That's gonna definitely be a focus moving into the next game against them." 

Video: POSTGAME: Krueger

Video: POSTGAME: Vesey

The loss snapped a five-game home winning streak for the Sabres, who will head to Boston for a rematch with the Bruins on Sunday. Some focus in the meantime will be on the status of Jeff Skinner, who left with an upper-body injury following a hit from David Pastrnak in the third period. 

Krueger said during his postgame press conference that Skinner was being evaluated and that he'd have more information on the forward's status on Saturday. 

Read the full recap here.


World Juniors update

Watch: Youtube Video

Team USA captain Mattias Samuelsson (2018, second round) skated 19:17 and logged a plus-1 rating in a win over Germany on Friday at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic.

Today, there are four games on the schedule, including two that Sabres fans will have their eyes on. 

First, Matej Pekar (2018, fourth round) and the Czech Republic will face Germany at 9 a.m. ET. Then, Dylan Cozens (2019, first round) will suit up for Team Canada as they take on Russia at 1 p.m. Cozens was held without a point in Canada's win over the U.S. on Thursday, but was a strong presence on three Canadian goals. 

Team Sweden will play Switzerland at 1 p.m. as well and we'll see if Erik Portillo (2019, third round) dresses. The 6-foot-6 netminder served as Sweden's third goalie on Thursday. 

The U.S. will play again on Sunday when they go head to head with Russia.


Amerks win in dramatic fashion 

Watch: Youtube Video

Taylor Leier delivered the game-winning goal with just two seconds remaining in regulation to cap a thrilling 4-3 win over Belleville on Friday at Blue Cross Arena.

From Amerks.com's game recap…

Lawrence Pilut scored the game-tying goal in the third period and then set up the game-winner with only two seconds remaining in regulation to cap a thrilling 4-3 come-from-behind win for the Rochester Americans (20-6-2-2) over the Belleville Senators (18-12-1-0) Friday at Blue Cross Arena.

Pilut tallied his third three-point outing of the season with a goal and a pair of assists while forward Taylor Leier scored in the final seconds in regulation for the third time in last two contests.

Zach Redmond opened the scoring for Rochester with his fifth marker of the season while Eric Cornel rounded out the night with his sixth of slate.

Goaltender Jonas Johansson (10-2-2) earned his eighth straight victory as he made 33 saves. Dating back to Nov. 13, the third-year netminder boasts a perfect 8-0-0 record with two shutouts, a 1.74 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage while allowing just two goals or less in six consecutive starts over that span.

Watch: Youtube Video

Watch: Youtube Video

It only took 30 games for Rochester to reach the 20-win mark this season, the team's fewest since the 2006-07 Amerks needed 27 games.

With the victory, the Amerks became just the fourth AHL team and first from the North Division to reach the 20-win mark this season while improving to 15-3-1-1 over their last 20 games dating back to Nov. 1, earning points in 17 games over that span, and holding a three-point cushion atop the Division standings.

Additionally, Rochester has picked up points in 22 of the last 27 contests overall, going 18-5-2-2, while also earning 43 out of a possible 60 points through its first 30 contests of the season.

The Amerks hit the road for the final two games of the calendar year beginning on Saturday, Dec. 28 with their third trip of the season to the southern tier for a North Division showdown against the Binghamton Devils at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.

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