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Sharpen Up: All the Sabres news you need to know on October 11, 2019

The 3-0-1 Buffalo Sabres host Florida tonight at KeyBank Center

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

The Sabres are off to their best start since the 2009-10 season. We'll see if they can keep it going tonight with the Florida Panthers in town. 

Tickets for the game are on sale now. If you can't make it to KeyBank Center, catch the GMC Game Night pregame show at 6:30 p.m. on MSG. RJ and Rayzor will have the call on MSG and WGR 550 at 7.

Full game-day coverage can be found right here on Sabres.com.

Here's what you need to know.

 

Tonight's matchup

 

From the Game Notes…

  • The Sabres are 3-0-1 through four games. It's the first time Buffalo has started a season with points in four straight games since the team went 4-0-1 through its first five games of the 2009-10 season.
  • Buffalo is looking to start the season with wins in each of the team's first three home games for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
  • Through four games, the Sabres have already gotten points from 14 different players this season. Rasmus Dahlin (1+6), Victor Olofsson (4+1) and Sam Reinhart (2+3) have all tallied at least a point in each of the team's first four contests.

 

  • The Sabres enter tonight's game with the second-ranked power play in the league, converting on a league-high eight of their 15 power plays this season (53.3%).
  • According to NaturalStatTrick.com, Buffalo also ranked among the league's leaders in shot generation with the man advantage, averaging 2.94 shots (2nd) and 4.41 shot attempts (2nd) per two minutes of power-play time entering Thursday night's action.
  • With two power-play goals in each of their last three games, the Sabres have scored multiple power-play tallies in three straight games for the first time since March 4 to 7, 2009. With two or more power-play goals tonight, they would stretch that streak to four games for the first time since they went five games with multiple power-play goals from Feb. 21 to March 1, 1996.


Thursday's practice

Marcus Johansson scored the overtime winner on Wednesday so we thought it was a perfect time to ask, What do his teammates call him?

Video: What are some of Marcus Johansson's nicknames?


Gotta love that answer from Dahlin. And speaking of Dahlin, the Ice Level Practice Report took a look at his offensive success so far this season. 

Rasmus Dahlin smirked when asked what's changed for the Sabres on the power play from a year ago. 

"Olofsson is here," the defenseman said matter-of-factly. 

Yes, Victor Olofsson's lethal shot had been a difference maker for a Buffalo power play that leads the NHL with eight goals in four games. Olofsson has six goals in 10 contests dating back to the end of last season, all of which have come with the extra man. 

The addition of Olofsson makes life difficult on penalty killers, who have a variety of threats to keep their eye on. Jack Eichel is usually on the flank opposite Olofsson, and he's a threat to either thread the needle with a pass or bury one himself. Sam Reinhart is there to tip pucks, collect rebounds, or feed his teammates from the net front. Forty-goal scorer Jeff Skinner is positioned in the slot. 

"Everyone is a threat out there," Dahlin said. "Everyone can shoot, so our opponent doesn't really know what to expect."

Video: AFTER PRACTICE: Ralph Krueger

The task of assessing and directing those options falls on Dahlin, who is tied with Eichel for the league lead with five power-play points. His seven points overall lead NHL defensemen and are tied for third among all skaters, one behind leaders Connor McDavid and Mika Zibanejad. 

Dahlin's four-game point streak is the third-longest by a teenage defenseman to open a season in NHL history. He had points in five straight games as an 18-year-old rookie last season. 

"It's just everything kind of running through him from the one side to the other and to the net," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "That's what the playmaker at the top needs to be able to do. We haven't used his shot maybe as much as we could in future games, but overall just his ability to see where the options are. 

"He's still got an upside, which is really exciting. We see opportunity. We're working on learners with him every single day so that's far from a finished product. It's really just his offensive skill set mixed with his vision is what makes him so lethal on the power play."

Read more here.
 

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