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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on January 31, 2020

Buffalo's homestand continues with a game against Columbus Saturday afternoon

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

For the first time in his career, Jack Eichel is a 30-goal scorer. He hit the mark last night in the Sabres' 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on home ice. 

Buffalo will practice again today before hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday in a 1 p.m. faceoff. Tickets are on sale now, including a special Kids Day offer.

Here's what you need to know. 


Last night's recap

Video: BUF Recap: Eichel scores in loss to Canadiens

From the Postgame Report…

Jake McCabe and his Buffalo Sabres teammates are aware of the importance of their current stretch. 

The Sabres sit 10 points out of the playoffs and are now two games into a chunk of the schedule in which they play nine of 10 contests in KeyBank Center, where they have enjoyed success this season. 

Following their 3-1 loss to the Montreal on Thursday, McCabe recognized the need for urgency if the Sabres are to make up ground.

"We do like to keep the picture small, but the last two games - we've been good on home ice - but we've let ourselves down here and nobody's going to feel bad for us," the defenseman said. 

"And it's not going to get any easier from here on out. We've got [31] games left and do have a few more here at home on this little homestand so it's time to be even more desperate and be the more desperate team every night, especially on home ice."

Video: POSTGAME: Hutton

Video: POSTGAME: McCabe

The Sabres entered the night with a clear sense of urgency on the heels of their loss against Ottawa on Tuesday. Jack Eichel  opened the scoring on the power play to reach 30 goals for the first time in his career as the Sabres generated the game's first nine shots. 

The game turned quickly in the second period. Ilya Kovalchuk pounced on a loose puck at the edge of the crease to put the Canadiens on the board just 44 seconds in, then Brendan Gallagher found space to bury a Tomas Tatar feed less than three minutes later. 

The Canadiens went on to outshoot the Sabres, 14-3, in the second period and Gallagher's goal stood as the game winner. Tatar added an empty-net goal with 1:47 left in the contest, while Carey Price made just 20 saves to earn the victory. 

Video: POSTGAME: Lazar

Video: POSTGAME: Krueger

"We just came out flat in the beginning of the second period," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "It took a while for us to grind ourselves back into the game. I thought there was a reaction in the making, but we just did not get to Price in the way we needed to win this game tonight and it's extremely disappointing where we're standing right now."

McCabe said he felt the Sabres allowed the Canadiens' one-two punch in the second period affect their confidence and, by extension, their game. Where they were on their toes in the first period, they were on their heels in the second. 

"Especially in the second period, turnovers are costly, guys get stuck out there and the next thing you know you're just dumping the puck, changing and they're coming right back at us," McCabe said. 

Read the full recap here.

Forward Kyle Okposo exited the game in the first period due to an upper-body injury. Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said he'd be further evaluated, but was not optimistic that Okposo would be available for Saturday's game.


Chasing history

Video: MTL@BUF: Eichel goes short side for PPG

Some stats from our good friends @SabresPR…  

With his goal, Eichel became the third NHL player to record 30 goals and 30 assists this season. He's the first Sabres player to do so since Jason Pominville (30+43) in 2011-12.

Eichel is 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.

Eichel reached 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).

Tweet from @PR_NHL: Only four different players in @BuffaloSabres history have tallied 30 goals and 30 assists in season in fewer games than @Jackeichel15 (50 GP). #NHLStats

With the primary assist on Eichel's goal, Rasmus Dahlin recorded his 73rd career point, passing Bobby Orr for the fourth-most points by a teenage defenseman in NHL history. He trails only Phil Housley (132), Ray Bourque (79) and Rick Hampton (76).

Tweet from @PR_NHL: Rasmus Dahlin boosted his career totals to 12-61���73 and overtook Bobby Orr for the fourth-most points by a teenage defenseman in NHL history. #NHLStats


A new episode Tablet Talk

Martin Biron recently sat down with defenseman Henri Jokiharju to break down some plays from this season in this installment of Tablet Talk:

Video: Tablet Talk: Henri Jokijarju


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