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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on November 20, 2019

The Sabres return to practice today and then head out for a 3-game road trip

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

The Buffalo Sabres are getting ready to hit the road for a three-game trip that starts tomorrow night in Boston. They're coming off a 4-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild last night. 

The team will hit the ice for practice today so stay tuned to Sabres.com and our social media platforms for news and updates.

Their next home game is Wednesday against Calgary.

Here's what you need to know. 

 

A look back at last night

Video: BUF Recap: Montour scores lone goal in 4-1 loss

From the Lexus Postgame Report…

With the Sabres trailing 3-0 in the second period at KeyBank Center on Tuesday night, Jack Eichel tossed his gloves and began throwing punches at Minnesota Wild forward Joel Eriksson Ek. 

Eichel received a double minor penalty for roughing on the play, but the message from the Sabres captain was clear. 

"What Jack did there was a sign of leadership, was a sign of passion and a willingness to change this," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said afterward. "We have to get that right through our lineup, and everybody just build on that." 

Video: POSTGAME: Eichel

Video: POSTGAME: Montour

The Sabres killed the penalty and pushed from that point on but were unable to score until Brandon Montour buried a bounce at the back door with 3:49 remaining. Jason Zucker buried an empty-net goal less than two minutes later to seal a 4-1 win for the Wild. 

Afterward, the players who spoke talked about following the example of their captain as they try and navigate their way out of a difficult stretch. The team is now 2-7-2 in its last 11 games after starting the season 8-1-1.

"He's our leader and he showed it tonight," alternate captain Jake McCabe said. "He's been showing it the last few games. It should be a wakeup call to everyone in this room, especially myself. You need to look at yourself in the mirror, everyone in this room, and we all need to be better. 

"Obviously, a real tough stretch right now, but with saying that, that's why you bank points when you bank points in the beginning of the year. It turns out that there's going to be ebbs and flows in the beginning of the season and right now we're facing a really large test. It's a saying, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. That's what we're grasping onto here."

Video: POSTGAME: Krueger

Video: POSTGAME: McCabe

The tests remain, with a three-game road trip against Atlantic Division contenders in Boston, Florida, and Tampa Bay up next. Having spoken volumes with his play already, Eichel again set the tone with his words after the game. 

"Listen, we're all in this together," he said. "No one's feeling sorry for us. We can't feel sorry for ourselves. It's frustrating, the position that we're in. But it's just going to test our character right now and our will to compete on a nightly basis and just our will to win. 

"That's what it comes down to. But we're all in this together. It's important we just stick together in this tough time and get through the adversity. That's all you can do."

Read the full recap here. 

 

Botterill addresses recent stretch

Video: JASON BOTTERILL

General manager Jason Botterill met with the media before last night's game.

From our story on Sabres.com...

The organization currently has eight injured forwards on NHL contracts between Buffalo and Rochester, detailed in the injury report below. Meanwhile, the Sabres have been practicing with nine bodies on defense as Zach Bogosian continues to recover from offseason hip surgery. 

Botterill said the organization is optimistic that Bogosian will be available at some point on the team's upcoming three-game road trip, which begins Wednesday in Boston. He is actively seeking trade options to add to the forward group but also stressed the importance of maintaining depth on defense. 

Though the back end is healthy as of Tuesday, the Sabres have already seen Bogosian, Brandon Montour, and Marco Scandella miss time this season and are navigating through a condensed schedule as the result of their recent trip to Sweden.

"We understand that we're going to face some injuries on defense here and we want to make sure we have that capability," Botterill said. "Those are things that we continue to look at, to see if there's a mix with another team that we can maybe add to our group at forward, but we also really like the way we've tried to build up our defense in the last couple years here. 

"It's something that, if we are going to remove anyone from there, we've got to make sure it's helping our team out."  

Read the full story here.


#Sabres50 History Lesson

Learn a little bit more about Sabres Hall of Famers Joe Crozier, Milt Ellis, Jack Gatecliff, Wayne Redshaw, Dick Johnston, and Jim Kelley.

Video: Sabres Hall of Fame Profile: Joe Crozier

Video: Sabres Hall of Fame Profile: Milt Ellis

 Video: Sabres Hall of Fame: Sportswriters

 

Luukkonen, Portillo honored with weekly awards

Tweet from @ECHL: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen of the @CincyCyclones named @WarriorHockey #ECHL Goaltender of the Weekhttps://t.co/9cAT2vZaNc

Two Sabres goalie prospects were honored by their respective leagues for recent performances on Tuesday. 

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (second round, 2017) has been named the ECHL Goalie of the Week. The 6-foot-4 goaltender posted back-to-back shutouts for Cincinnati, during which he stopped a combined 55 shots. 

Luukkonen has gotten off to a strong start to his pro career after earning OHL Goaltender of the Year honors in Sudbury last season. He's made five starts since recovering from offseason hip surgery, ranking second in the ECHL in goals-against average (1.79) and fifth in save percentage (.925).

Tweet from @USHL: Brendan Brisson (@brendan_brisson / @ChicagoSteel), Noah Beck (@FargoForce) and Erik Portillo (@fightingsaints) are the USHL Players of the Week! https://t.co/etXolfenyi#WhosNext pic.twitter.com/k44S0Vq2E2

Erik Portillo (third round, 2019), meanwhile, was named the USHL's Goalie of the Week after stopping a combined 43 of 45 shots in a pair of victories for the Dubuque Fighting Saints. The 6-foot-6 native of Sweden is in his first North American season and ranks second in the USHL with a 2.17 GAA. 

Portillo, 19, is committed to the University of Michigan for next season.

Read more in our weekly Amerks Update.

 

Turkeys for Tickets

Thanks to everyone who donated turkeys this year. All of the donated turkeys will directly benefit the Buffalo City Mission and FeedMore WNY.

Click here to redeem your ticket voucher!

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