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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on February 3, 2020

Buffalo returns to practice today as the team prepares for Tuesday's home game against the Avalanche

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

Jack Eichel, overtime hero. Sound familiar? The Sabres captain scored his third overtime goal of the season Saturday afternoon to lift Buffalo to a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

The win snapped a three-game losing streak. Buffalo will return to action for practice today and they'll play again tomorrow night when the Colorado Avalanche come to town.

Pregame coverage on MSG will start at 6:30 p.m. with the opening faceoff set for 7. Tickets are on sale now.

Here's what you need to know. 

 

A look back at Saturday

Video: CBJ@BUF: Eichel rips overtime winner from circle

From the Postgame Report…

John Tortorella's Columbus Blue Jackets pride themselves on patience. After losing offensive threats Matt Duchene and Artemi Panarin to free agency during the summer, they entered this season with an emphasis on taking care of business away from the puck and waiting for opportunities to strike offensively. 

It has been working for the past two months. The Blue Jackets came to Buffalo on Saturday having earned points in 20 of their past 22 games. They allowed a league best 1.73 goals per game in that span. 

It took overtime, but the Sabres were able to match that patience and grind out a 2-1 victory over the Blue Jackets at KeyBank Center. Jack Eichel scored the overtime winner - his third straight game with a goal - while Carter Hutton made 22 saves for his first victory since Oct. 22. 

Video: Eichel leads Sabres by Blue Jackets for overtime win

Video: Carter Hutton: Postgame Show Interview

Video: POSTGAME: Eichel 

"It was a hard-fought game," Hutton said. "I thought it was a bit of a chess match there. … Both teams didn't really want to be the team to make a mistake. It was kind of, protect the puck.

"That's all right though. That's the hockey you want to play. You want to be in tight games at this time of year. You've got to play good defensively and I thought we did a really good job tonight."

Ralph Krueger thought his team slipped away from its principles in recent losses to Ottawa and Montreal, principles that he felt had begun to form as habits going into the bye week. The Sabres had won three of four games before that break, including road victories in Dallas and Detroit. 

Video: POSTGAME: Rodrigues

Video: POSTGAME: Krueger 

Knowing Columbus' propensity to forecheck aggressively with two forwards, Evan Rodrigues, who scored Buffalo's first goal, said the plan was to quickly chase down pucks, rim them out of the zone, and keep moving north. 

"We committed to a defensive game," Rodrigues said. "We didn't cheat to offense. We didn't try to win the game 5-4. We grinded it out and kept them out of our zone as much as we could. We knew they were a good forechecking team, so tried to move the puck up north and it worked out for us."

Read the full report here.


Latvian Locomotive rolls again

Zemgus Girgensons delivered the hit of the game in the dying seconds of the middle period, sending Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov into the Sabres' bench.

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: oops 🤭@zemgus94 pic.twitter.com/38BfJ9WNXo


Donate to Bald for Bucks today

Video: Bald For Bucks 2020 Launch Video

The Sabres are once again partnering with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and their Bald for Bucks initiative throughout the month of February to raise funds for critical cancer research and patient-care programs.

As part of the effort, the Sabres and Roswell Park will be releasing a limited-edition Bald for Bucks T-shirt with a Sabres Golden Season theme. Donors who contribute $50 or more will receive the T-shirt and have the chance to win autographed merchandise, tickets to future Sabres and Buffalo Bandits games, and meet-and-greet opportunities.

Prior to the Sabres' home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, March 5, Sabres studio analyst Martin Biron and play-by-play announcer Dan Dunleavy will be shaving their heads live on air during the Sabres' broadcast.

Tweet from @martybiron43: Thank you to everyone who got a @BaldforBucks t-shirt at the @BuffaloSabres game today. Mark Kerl and Paul Storfer were the lucky winners of a Rasmus Dahlin Meet & Greet after today���s game. This could be you with Jeff Skinner on Feb 9th when we do this again. Thanks @RoswellPark! pic.twitter.com/UbR37vNLkD

And if you donate $50 or more at the game on Sunday, you could win a postgame meet and greet with Jeff Skinner. 

Donations can be made online at Sabres.com/BaldForBucks or at KeyBank Center during the team's upcoming home games on Feb. 9, and 23, and March 5. All money raised stays in Western New York, with the goal of accelerating promising research projects and supporting programs that assist patients during their cancer journey.
 

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