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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on January 30, 2020

Buffalo takes on Montreal tonight at KeyBank Center

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

The Sabres and Montreal Canadiens will go at it tonight. Faceoff from KeyBank Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. with the GMC Game Night pregame show 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 second of four meetings between the Sabres and Canadiens this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Montreal 5-4 (OT) in Buffalo on Oct. 9, 2019.
  • Next meeting: Thursday, March 12 in Montreal
  • The Sabres are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Canadiens; 5-3-2 at home.


  • Buffalo is 4-1-0 against Montreal since the beginning of last season. A win tonight would give the Sabres wins in four straight visits from the Canadiens for the first time since they won seven consecutive matchups in Buffalo from Dec. 26, 2001 to March 24, 2004.


  • Sam Reinhart has totaled 22 points (9+13) in the Sabres' last 22 contests, including at least a point in eight of the last nine (6+5). He enters tonight's game on a four-game point streak (3+3).
  • He has totaled five points (2+3) in five meetings with Montreal since the beginning of last season.


  • Jeff Skinner has recorded 20 points (14+6) in 20 games against Montreal since the beginning of the 2013-14 season, including eight points (5+3) in five games against the Canadiens since joining the Sabres in 2018-19.

Wednesday's practice

Video: SABRES IN :50

From the Ice Level Practice Report… 

Carter Hutton repeated a term that Jack Eichel used to describe Linus Ullmark back in December, when he was just beginning to take the reigns as a No. 1 goalie. 

"He's been the backbone so far," Hutton said. "Now I have to get in there and just play my game."

The Sabres expect to be without Ullmark for three to four weeks as he recovers from a lower-body injury sustained during the team's loss to Ottawa on Tuesday. The 26-year-old had started 18 of the team's past 20 games and already earned a career-high 16 wins.

In Ullmark's absence, the Sabres are set to lean on Hutton and rookie Jonas Johansson, who was recalled from Rochester prior to practice on Wednesday. Krueger did not announce a starter for their home game against Montreal on Thursday.

Video: AFTER PRACTICE: Krueger

"We're disappointed for him and us, because he was really building a good season here," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "Again, we have an excellent staff that's going to bring him back as quick as possible. He's in their hands now, he's in that camp. 

"We have Jonas here who's earned this opportunity to join us. He's had a terrific season so far in Rochester, an all-star there, which everybody knows. Now we have to work with Hutts and Johansson and do the best we can with this group going forward."

Naturally, an increase in playing time for Ullmark has meant limited action for Hutton. He's made three starts since the beginning December and is winless since starting the season 6-0-0, though Krueger explained that there are more factors at play than just individual performance. 

"We know that Carter can step up here," he said. "He had an excellent start of the season, some struggles of late. But it was more also the team performing differently in those games. There were some overtimes in there that didn't tip his way, so we're cheering for him as loud as anybody to get back on track result-wise. 

"But he's always worked hard and has had some good weeks now with [assistant coach] Mike Bales. They've done a lot of extra work, and we feel Carter is ready to be the guy to step in here and carry the ball."


Hutton has vocally supported Ullmark along the way while keeping a day-to-day approach behind the scenes. He's seen it all since completing his long climb to the NHL at age 27, from backing up Pekka Rinne in Nashville, to splitting the net in St. Louis and, last year, earning the No. 1 spot in Buffalo. 

"If I don't play well JJ is going to play," Hutton said. "There's no security in what we do. This is the NHL. In that sense, I'm just going to go out there and do what I do. It's hard to really look at the big picture in that sense. I'm not looking down the road or whatever. You just try to stay in the moment. 

"It's just hockey. I leave the rink I've got a family I go to. It's just hockey. I come here, I do my job, I do my best, I put a lot of work into it, but at the end of the day, it's just hockey. I do what I do and put enough work to try to be as successful as possible."

Read the full article here.


30/30 club

Jack Eichel, who has already recorded a career-high 29 goals this season, is one goal away from becoming the first Sabres player to record 30 goals and 30 assists in a season since Jason Pominville (30+43) in 2011-12.

According to @SabresPR, Eichel would become the 23rd different player in franchise history to accomplish this feat at least once. Gilbert Perreault reached the 30/30 mark a franchise-record 10 times in his 17-season career.

With a goal tonight, Eichel would reach the 30/30 mark in 50 games played, matching Perreault's personal best for fewest games needed to get to 30 goals and 30 assists (1974-75). Only five Sabres have tallied 30 goals and 30 assists in a season in fewer than 50 games played:

  • Pat LaFontaine, 1991-92: 31 GP
  • Pat LaFontaine, 1992-93: 42 GP
  • Rick Martin, 1974-75: 47 GP
  • Alexander Mogilny, 1992-93: 47 GP
  • Rene Robert, 1972-73: 48 GP


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