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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on December 3, 2019

Buffalo practices today as they prep for a road trip through Western Canada later this week

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

The Sabres will practice today following their big 7-1 over the New Jersey Devils last night at KeyBank Center.

Lots happened in that one.

Here's what you need to know. 

 

A look back at last night

Video: Sabres rout Devils behind five-goal 1st period

From the Lexus Postgame Report…

Ralph Krueger felt the Buffalo Sabres had begun to establish consistent habits away from the puck during their past six games entering Monday. Their strong defensive play had led to chances offensively, but those opportunities had not yet led to goals on a consistent basis. 

That changed against the New Jersey Devils. The Sabres buried five goals in the first period against goaltender Louis Domingue and never looked back in what ended as a 7-1 victory at KeyBank Center.

It was a fitting performance for a franchise celebrating a birthday. Members of the Knox family were in attendance to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the day Buffalo was awarded an NHL franchise: Dec. 2, 1969. 

"The last six games before this really had been games of good habits and a lot of the offense that we were starting to create hadn't really functioned that well with goals," Krueger said. "I thought we had a deserved first period, kind of like the fruit of the labor from the week before almost seemed to pay off."

Jack Eichel (1+2) and Johan Larsson (0+3) both had three-point games. Conor Sheary scored a pair of goals in the first period, while Jeff Skinner, Rasmus Asplund, Victor Olofsson, and Henri Jokiharju all found the back of the net. Asplund's was the first goal of his NHL career. 

Linus Ullmark made 44 saves for his third win in his past four outings. 

Video: Rasmus Asplund after scoring 1st NHL goal

Video: POSTGAME: Krueger 

Video: POSTGAME: Olofsson 

Video: POSTGAME: Sheary

The game was reminiscent of the Sabres' outburst against the Devils in their home opener, a 7-2 victory that also featured a pregame ceremony and saw the Sabres wear their commemorative golden jerseys. 

The Sabres have seen highs and lows since then, from an 8-1-1 start to a lull during the first half of November. Their recent play, beginning with a hard-fought loss to Boston on Nov. 21 and continuing through a stretch of five games in seven days last week, has them believing they're headed in the right direction. 

"The language within the room is we really feel like we've settled into a game that's pretty consistent without the puck and that's what all the hard work was about, was making sure that we understand what we need to do defensively to be strong as a team and give ourselves a chance every night," Kreuger said. 

"Now it looks like habits are starting to show up versus always having to process every single step during a game. It's happening more naturally now and that does definitely free you up on the offensive side. Hopefully we can continue to build on this feel thing we have now."

The win marks Buffalo's second straight home performance of at least six goals, following a 6-4 victory over Toronto on Friday. It's the first time they've strung together two such home games since Feb. 5 and 13, 2011, the latter of which featured a hat trick from Drew Stafford.

For a full breakdown of the numbers, click here.


Founders' Night Recap

To honor the 50th anniversary of the NHL granting the Knox Brothers and the City of Buffalo and expansion franchise, the Sabres honored the families of Seymour and Norty Knox in a pregame ceremony last night:

Video: Founders' Night Pregame Ceremony

Video: Founders' Night Birthday Celebrations

For more on what it took to get an NHL team in Buffalo, check out "Beyond Blue and Gold: Founding of the Franchise" here:

Video: Beyond Blue and Gold: Founding of the Franchise

Mike Robitaille also returned to the broadcast booth to provide some guest color commentary during the second and third periods:

Video: Mike Robitaille back on the broadcast


Roster move

This morning, the Sabres assigned Curtis Lazar to the Rochester Americans. 

We'll have more on what's happening down on the farm in our weekly Amerks Update later today. 

Stay tuned for Sabres practice coverage this afternoon. Buffalo begins a three-game road trip on Thursday with a game againt Calgary. They'll then play Vancouver on Saturday and Edmonton on Sunday before returning home for a game against St. Louis next Tuesday.

 

Skills Challenge tickets go on sale today

Video: Beyond Blue and Gold: Skills Challenge

Join us for the second annual Sabres Skills Challenge presented by New Era Cap 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
• Passing Challenge presented by LECOM

Tickets will be available for $10 and can be purchased starting at 10 a.m. by clicking here.

Here are some highlgihts from last year's event:

Video: Skills Challenge Highlights
 

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