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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on February 4, 2020

Buffalo and Colorado go head-to-head tonight

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

The Buffalo Sabres are back at it tonight when they host the Colorado Avalanche. It's a 7 p.m. faceoff with pregame coverage on MSG starting at 6:30. Tickets are on sale now. 

Here's what you need to know. 

 

Tonight's matchup

From @SabresPR's Game Notes…  

  • This is the first of two meetings between the Sabres and Avalanche this season.
  • Last meeting: Colorado defeated Buffalo 3-0 in Colorado on March 9, 2019.
  • Next meeting: Wednesday, Feb. 26 in Colorado
  • The Sabres are 3-7-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Avalanche; 3-5-2 at home.

 

  • Brandon Montour has totaled five points (2+3) in five career games against the Avalanche, making Colorado the only NHL team that he has recorded a point per game against.
  • Michael Frolik has recorded a point in six of his eight meetings with the Avalanche since the beginning of the 2017-18 season (5+1).
  • Since the beginning of January, the Sabres have gone 8-for-28 on the power play. Their conversion rate of 28.6 percent during that stretch ranked as the fourth-best rate in the league in 2020 entering play Monday.

 

  • Jack Eichel enters tonight's game seeking the second four-game goal streak of his career (last: Dec. 10 to 17, 2019).
  • Sam Reinhart has totaled 13 points (6+7) in the Sabres' last 13 contests, including at least a point in nine of the last 11 (6+6).
  • Carter Hutton has started both of the Sabres' last two games, stopping 49 of the 52 shots he faced in those contests (.942).

 

Monday's Practice

Video: Monday's Practice Report

From yesterday's Ice Level Practice Report…  

Following Carter Hutton's 23-save victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said the win itself was secondary to the work the goalie had put in to prepare for it.

Hutton had only made three starts since the beginning of December prior to Linus Ullmark's injury, which occurred during the third period against Ottawa last Tuesday. He's stopped 49 of 52 shots in two starts since, good for a .942 save percentage. 

The results, Krueger said, are a testament Hutton's attitude and work with assistant coach Mike Bales. 

"A lot of time talking about solutions," Bales said when asked about the process. "Looking at different things on ice, different stuff from technical, tactical [standpoints[ and a few off-ice things. ... It was definitely a plan and a process in place to help Carter get back to where he wanted to be."

Video: AFTER PRACTICE: Ralph Krueger

Hutton opened the season with a 6-0-0 record, including back-to-back shutouts (one of which set a franchise record), but a road loss to the New York Rangers on Oct. 24 began a stretch of 12 starts without a win for the goaltender. The run coincided with strong play from Ullmark, who took on the No. 1 role. 

There were other factors at play outside of Hutton's individual performance. He had multiple 40-save performances decided in overtime. Team defense is always an influence on a goalie's statistics, which Krueger has noted.

Click here to read more.


#Sabres50 history lesson

Learn more about former Sabres captain Mike Foligno:

Video: Sabres Hall of Fame Profile: Mike Foligno


2020 Duffett Award winner announced

The Buffalo Sabres announced yesterday that Chris Panek has been named the recipient of the 2020 J. Michael Duffett Memorial Award, presented each year to the coach whose contributions to amateur hockey in Western New York "best exemplify the knowledge, teaching, love of the game and gentle humanity of Mike." 

Panek is the 35th recipient of the J. Michael Duffett Memorial Award and will be presented with the award prior to tonight's game.

Panek's coaching career has spanned 25 years, with his experience ranging from the midget to high school levels. Several of his players have gone on to have successful collegiate careers at the Division I and III levels. Additionally, three of Panek's former players have reached the professional level: NHL and AHL alumni Tim Kennedy, Chris Mueller and Mike Ratchuk.

Click here to read more.

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