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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on January 20, 2020

Buffalo's next game is Tuesday, January 28 against Ottawa

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

Welcome to the bye week.

The Buffalo Sabres are off this week and will return to action on Tuesday, Jan. 28 when they take on the Ottawa Senators at KeyBank Center. Tickets for that game are on sale now.

Here's what you need to know. 

 

A look back at Saturday

Video: BUF Recap: Ullmark makes 35 saves in 2-1 loss

The Sabres played three solid road games before the break and came out of them with four of six possible points. The loss came on Saturday when the team fell 2-1 to the Nashville Predators. 

From the Postgame Report…  

Linus Ullmark made 35 saves in net for Buffalo, making big stops throughout the contest, from the first few minutes until the very end. 

Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne made 30 saves. Ryan Johansen tied the game early in the second and then Craig Smith scored the game-winner on the power play with 6:29 left in regulation. 

"It was a good hockey game. Linus made a lot of really, really good saves out there, same with Rinne," Sabres alternate captain Jake McCabe said. "It's one of those things where we didn't capitalize with our chances and that's the way it goes."

Click here to read the full recap. 

Video: POSTGAME: Reinhart

Video: POSTGAME: McCabe

Video: POSTGAME: Okposo

Video: POSTGAME: Krueger

The Sabres entered the game on a three-game winning streak and were just 6:29 from earning another point on Saturday. 

"We're playing well, we're keeping them to the outside for the majority. I thought Linus made five or six unbelievable saves tonight. He's done it all year," Kyle Okposo said. "But I like the way that we're playing. Our identity's there and we're doing it more often than not. I like the way that we're going, it's just tough when you don't get the W."

Through 49 games this season - which included a trip to Sweden and a stretch of six games in nine days - the Sabres are 22-20-7 with 51 points. They're currently in fifth place in the Atlantic Division, six points out of a playoff position.

"It's pretty obvious what we need to do. We've just got to keep chipping away," Sam Reinhart, who scored in the game, said. "We've been setting goals internally and we're just trying to keep meeting those goals and chip away and keep putting points up on the board. This one's a little disappointing, but we've got some time to regroup and re-energize and come back fresh and ready to go."

Sabres coach Ralph Krueger has liked the team's improved defensive game as of late. 

"I'm really happy with the commitment of the guys to play without the puck and to really work together with the group," he said Saturday night. "Of course, every team will commit chances as we do no matter how you play. But for us, it's not the habits now or the team concept that's in doubt, it's just once in a while, details - we could've had better sticks defensively early for instance, there were a couple of shot lanes in the third period we could've gotten into to maybe kill those shifts that got a little long on us. 

"But those are details that you're excited to work on because the fundamentals are there and they're really becoming habits in our game."

Jeff Skinner, who scored 40 goals last season, has been out since Dec. 29 with an upper-body injury. He may be ready to return to the lineup after the bye week. Victor Olofsson, who was named the NHL's Rookie of the Month in both October and December, has missed six games due to a lower-body injury, may be close to a return as well.

"We're going to get some good players back after the break and if we can continue to build on the defensive game with the added firepower that's coming back at us, we should be excited about what's ahead," Krueger said. 
 

Fathers Trip rewind

The Sabres invited dads, fathers-in-law and other family members on the road trip through Dallas and Nashville. Here are some of the highlights.

Video: Krueger addresses Sabres dads in locker room

From Friday's practice Report…

Video: SABRES IN :50

"Being around all these dads, the support, it's nice to see," Jack Eichel's dad Bob said. "It's so accommodating. We went to the Dallas Cowboys training facility yesterday. It's wonderful. And of course, all the food we get to eat. It's been great."

Sam Reinhart's father Paul played 11 years in the NHL so he's familiar with the ins and outs of a professional hockey career, but he still enjoys the ability to spend time with his son during the season. 

"For me, it's a comparison to how things were versus today. The core of what they do is no different than what we did. It's the same routine," he said. "They just do it a lot more professionally and organized than maybe what we did."

Click here for a behind-the-scenes photo gallery. 


Roster moves

With the Buffalo Sabres on their bye week, the team announced this morning that forwards Rasmus Asplund and Scott Wilson, and defenseman Lawrence Pilut have been assigned to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

Pilut and goaltender Jonas Johansson are set to be the Amerks representatives at the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic on Jan. 26 and 27 in Ontario, California.

Pilut is currently fourth in Amerks scoring with 21 points (5+16) in 29 games. Wilson has 14 points (6+8) in 22 games and Asplund has eight points (1+7) in 13 games.

Rochester's next game is Wednesday at Cleveland. 

 

Eichel headed to All-Star Weekend

Sabres captain Jack Eichel will represent the team this weekend in St. Louis at the NHL's All-Star Weekend. The Skills Competition is Friday and the All-Star Game is Saturday. Click here for more details. https://www.nhl.com/fans/all-star 

Eichel leads the Sabres with 62 points (28+34) through 48 games. His 28 goals, which rank fourth in the NHL, already tie his career-best for an entire season. He's currently eighth in the NHL in points, and saw his nine-game point streak come to an end on Saturday.  

Stay tuned to Sabres.com and our social media platforms this week for exclusive content. 

We'll have more on Eichel's season so far later this week. 
 

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