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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on February 26, 2020

Buffalo opens up a four-game road trip tonight in Colorado

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

The Sabres are in Denver tonight to face the Colorado Avalanche. Faceoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. on NBCSN and WGR 550. 

We could see Wayne Simmonds and Dominik Kahun make their Sabres debuts.

Here's what you need to know. 

 

Tonight's matchup

From @SabresPR's Game Notes…

  • This is the second of two meetings between the Sabres and Avalanche this season.
  • Last meeting: Colorado defeated Buffalo 6-1 in Buffalo on Feb. 4.
  • The Sabres are 3-7-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Avalanche; 3-5-2 on the road.

 

  • Kyle Okposo enters today's game on his first four-game point streak (4+1) since November 2017. With a point tonight, he would have points in at least five consecutive games for the first time since he tallied points in seven straight from Feb. 4 to 14, 2017.

 

  • Rasmus Dahlin has posted at least a point in 14 of his last 18 games (2+14) dating back to Jan. 4.

 

  • Rasmus Ristolainen has recorded six assists and a plus-8 rating in Buffalo's last five games.

 

  • Dominik Kahun tied his career high with three points (0+3) in his last meeting with the Avalanche on Jan. 10 in Colorado when he was with the Penguins.


Tuesday's practice

Video: Tuesday's Practice: Wayne Simmonds joins Sabres

From yesterday's Ice Level Practice Report…

Wayne Simmonds waived his no-trade clause for an opportunity to help the Buffalo Sabres make a push in the Atlantic Division, the veteran forward said Tuesday following his first practice with the team.

The Sabres acquired Simmonds, 31, from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in 2021. It was one of two deals the team made to revamp its forward group on Monday along with the acquisition of Dominik Kahun from Pittsburgh. 

Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said both moves were made with the goal of best preparing the team to play meaningful games in the month of March. The Sabres trail third-place Toronto by six points with one game in hand and 20 left to play. 

Simmonds was already embracing that challenge on Tuesday. Coach Ralph Krueger said the winger was engaged at practice as if he had been with the team all along.  

Video: AFTER PRACTICE: Wayne Simmonds

"I think they're going in the right direction and I thought that I could be a piece that could ultimately help this team get into the playoffs," Simmonds said. "I'm extremely excited to be here and I can't wait to get started."

Botterill cited Simmonds' leadership, physical game, and willingness to play in front of the opposing net as factors that made him an attractive asset going forward. Simmonds didn't shy away from any of those responsibilities during his introduction to the Buffalo media. 

A veteran of seven playoff runs in 12 seasons, Simmonds won't let his "new guy" status prevent him from speaking up in the dressing room. He's been traded three times prior, including from his longtime home of Philadelphia to Nashville at last year's deadline. 

"The way the league is going there's a lot of younger guys," he said. "A lot of guys haven't been through these games coming down the stretch. It's a lot of tighter hockey. I think I'm a pretty vocal guy and I try to lead by example. That's what I'm going to try to do here and bring that to the table."

Video: AFTER PRACTICE: Ralph Krueger

Kahun did not arrive in Buffalo for practice and will instead meet the Sabres in Denver, where they open a four-game road trip against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. Colin Miller also did not practice due to personal reasons. 

Kahun, who was acquired yesterday in exchange for forwards Conor Sheary and Evan Rodrigues, spoke with the Buffalo media during a conference call Tuesday to express his excitement in joining the team.

"When I got traded yesterday, first of all, I was a little shocked, I didn't see it coming," he said. "But I'm really, really happy to play for Buffalo now."

He has 27 points (10+17) in 50 games this season. He's missed the last two with a lower-body injury and sat out eight games earlier this calendar year with a concussion. He suited up for 82 games as a rookie with the Blackhakws in 2018-19.

He's hopeful he can make his Sabres debut tomorrow night, but his status will be determined after he meets with the team's medical staff.

Read more here.

 

Classic RJ

Check out some of Rick Jeanneret's most memorable calls over his 49 years with the team:

Watch: Youtube Video


 

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