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Sharpen Up: April 10, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

The Buffalo Sabres wrapped up the 2016-17 season last night with a 4-2 loss in Tampa. William Carrier and Evander Kane scored, and Linus Ullmark made 33 saves in his first appearance of the season. 

Today, the team will clean out their lockers to mark the true beginning of the offseason. 

Here's what you need to know. 

Video: BUF Recap: Ullmark stellar as Sabres lose to Bolts

Buffalo allowed a late goal against the Lightning at Amalie Arena last night that broke a 2-2 tie. The goal that ended up being the winner?

"A bounce that kind of sums up our season," Kane said in our game recap

Video: Kane: Postgame Interview at TBL

The bounce that Kane was alluding to was Brayden Point's second goal of the night, which deflected into the Buffalo net off the leg of Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. The goal broke a 2-2 tie with 1:24 remaining, and the Lightning went on to win 4-2.  

Video: BYLSMA: Postgame Interview at Tampa Bay

With back-to-back losses on Saturday and Sunday, the Sabres finished their season with 78 points. Their recent stretch of games, they admitted, was made more difficult by the realization that they had fallen short of their goal to make the playoffs.

"Mentally, very difficult, just because the last three weeks we're out of it and battling through it," Kane, who scored a goal to tie the game in the third period, said. "I think some of us were maybe hoping that this game would maybe mean a little bit more than it did tonight."

Video: Carrier: Postgame Interview at TBL

"I think all of us are dealing with the disappointment of coming up short, being not in the playoff picture, not in that spot," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "It's been difficult on everybody with that realization and feeling like you aren't meeting expectations. You play these last games with that kind of heaped on your shoulders."

Video: Alexander Nylander: Postgame Interview at TBL

Ullmark had been recalled seven times throughout the 2016-17 campaign, but had yet to play in the NHL since last season. Last year, he went 8-10-2 with a .913 save percentage and a 2.60 goals-against average in 20 games.

This year, he was an AHL All-Star and has recorded a .909 save percentage and a 2.86 goals-against average for the Rochester Americans while logging a league-high 3,082:36 of total ice time. The Amerks have three games remaining on their schedule, with the next one coming up on home ice Wednesday.

"It was a fun game for me," Ullmark said. "We didn't get the 'W' like we always want, sadly, but looking at it personally, I felt that I did what I needed to do out there. I just needed to [save] one more shot … That's how the game is."

He joined Brian Duff and Brad May on the Lexus Postgame Report:

Video: Linus Ullmark on the postgame show

The season ends with the Sabres finishing last in the Atlantic Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 33-37-12. They wound up 17 points out of a playoff spot.


Your 2016-17 stats leaders:

Points - Jack Eichel (57)
Goals - Evander Kane (28)
Assists - Rasmus Ristolainen (39)
GP - Brian Gionta (82)
PIM - Evander Kane (113)
PPP - Rasmus Ristolainen (25)
SHP - Ryan O'Reilly and Brian Gionta (2 each)
GWG - Evander Kane (5)
OTG - Rasmus Ristolainen (2)
Shots - Evander Kane (260)
Hits - Marcus Foligno (279)
Blocked Shots - Rasmus Ristolainen (161)
+/- - Taylor Fedun (Plus-3) 
TOI /Game - Rasmus Ristolainen (26:28)

Wins - Robin Lehner (23)
GAA - Anders Nilsson (2.67)
SV% - Anders Nilsson (.923)
SO - Robin Lehner (2)


Beyond Blue and Gold

If you missed the season's final installment of Beyond Blue And Gold yesterday during the broadcast, we have it right here for you.

Video: Beyond Blue and Gold: The Thousand-Game Family Man

For a great written companion piece that delves into the hockey side of Gio's journey to 1,000, Jourdon LaBarber published this feature on the day of the #G1000NTA ceremony.

You can find all of this year's episodes here. These were really fun to be a part of making so I hope everyone enjoyed the stories we were able to share.


On tap today

We'll have full coverage of Locker Cleanout Day. Jourdon will provide you with a written recap and we'll have Brian Duff and Dan Dunleavy in the locker room as well to gather reaction from the players. 

Dan Bylsma will address the media later this morning. Tim Murray is scheduled to hold a press conference on Wednesday at 2 p.m. that will be live streamed on Sabres.com.

Today, we'll have a Sabres Prospects Report for you from Kris Baker too.

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