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Sharpen Up: April 4, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

Alexander Nylander's NHL debut last night was spoiled due to a super slow start from the team. Toronto scored three times in a 43-second span within the first 5:09 of the game and took it from there. Buffalo ended up losing 4-2, their third straight defeat. 

Ryan O'Reilly scored shorthanded early in the second period and Jack Eichel tallied on a breakaway late in the third. For O'Reilly, it's the first time in his career he's scored 20 goals in back-to-back seasons. The shorty was also the sixth of his career and his first since March 29, 2016 at Pittsburgh.

Anders Nilsson made 39 saves on 40 shots in relief. He's eighth in the NHL with a .923 save percentage this season. 

Here's what you need to know.

 

Let's check out the game recap for your postgame reaction:

 Video: BUF Recap: O'Reilly, Eichel score in 4-2 loss

Inconsistency has been a problem all season long for the Buffalo Sabres, and it reared its head again against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.

Facing the same Maple Leafs team that they scored five goals against in an emotional win just nine days ago, the Sabres admitted they came out without the appropriate level of energy. It ended up costing them in a 4-2 loss.

Video: GIONTA: Postgame

"We just came out flat," Sabres captain Brian Gionta said. "We had no intensity to the game, no push-back at all. It's disappointing."

The low point of a first period in which the Sabres were outshot 18-2 came early, when Toronto jumped on Buffalo with three goals - from Leo Komarov, Auston Matthews and James van Riemsdyk - in a span of 43 seconds.

The goals weren't all that different from the ones that cost them their game against the Islanders on Sunday. Komarov's goal stemmed from a turnover on a breakout pass from behind the goal line. Matthews' goal came after William Nylander won a race to a loose puck in the Sabres zone. Van Riemsdyk's came directly off a faceoff.

Video: EICHEL: Postgame

Van Riemsdyk's goal chased Robin Lehner after he had faced just five shots in 5:09 of play. Anders Nilsson replaced him and made 39 saves, with the lone goal he allowed coming from Nazem Kadri on the power play in the third period.

"They were gifts," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said. "They were gaffes. A turnover and it's a 2-on-0 on our goalie and the faceoff goal [is] really no different, we just were standing there, we missed our assignments and it's an easy goal for them.

Video: BYLSMA: Postgame

Buffalo's Nylander finished the game with 14:28 of ice time, no shots, a takeaway and a giveaway. He also found himself on the second power-play unit in the third period.

"I thought he had a couple good shifts, a good shift there in the second period with Evan [Rodrigues] and Marcus [Foligno] and that was probably our best shift in the second period and then some good opportunity with him and Ryan and Evander there in the third period," Bylsma said. "He showed some puck skills, showed some poise with the puck, just not in a winning effort."

Video: NYLANDER: Postgame

"I think we had some scoring chances, found some chemistry there," Nylander said. "Unfortunately the puck didn't go in but just keep going if I play with [O'Reilly] again [I need to] just use my skating to try to create plays with him."


Auctions are live until Sunday

Don't miss your chance to bid on some unique items to benefit the Buffalo Sabres Foundation, Breast Cancer Care in WNY and Carly's Club at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Eichel has provided us with some of his game-used gear. And the Alumni Association is auctioning off their jerseys from the annual Alumni Wine Festival.

Click here to place your bid(s).

And if you didn't attend this year's Wine Fest, here's what you missed:

Video: 13th Annual Alumni Wine Festival


Tomorrow is Fan Appreciation Night

Hope you can make it to the rink tomorrow for our annual Fan Appreciation Night presented by ADPRO Sports.

The night will include:

  • Guaranteed Sabres Foundation 50-50 raffle pot of at least $50,000
  • Jersey Off My Back giveaway to select season ticket holders after the game
  • My One Buffalo auction that will allow fans at the game to bid on the chance to go home with one player's jersey. 
  • One Buffalo sunglasses to the first 10,000 fans, courtesy of KeyBank 

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: On Wednesday, be one of the first 10,000 fans through the doors to receive these One Buffalo sunglasses, courtesy of @keybank! pic.twitter.com/v9AsdjNT09

  • Delta Air Lines will be hosting an on-ice promotion giving one fan the chance to win two round-trip tickets anywhere Delta flies in the U.S. 48
  • Fans registered for My One Buffalo will also be able to register for a raffle at the Buff-A-Nerd table located on the 100-level concourse
  • An entire section will win free pizza courtesy of La Nova Pizzeria
  • New Era Cap will give away 32 caps.
  • Additional prizes for Lucky Row Giveaways.
  • Fan-selected Moe's Hot Players. Vote on the Sabres Facebook page 
  • Special ticket offers will be available for fans coming to the game:
    • Family packs with four tickets, four sodas, four hot dogs and four popcorns are available for $199.
    • Hat packs featuring two 300 Level II tickets and a Sabres New Era cap can be purchased for $99.
  • Ceremonial faceoff featuring the winner of the 7th Man Award, presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: Congrats to Sean on becoming our 7th Man by winning the championship of the @BCBSWNY #LiveFearlessFrenzy! pic.twitter.com/clpRTnwa0x

  • Winners of this season's player awards will also be announced throughout the game, including Sabres Foundation Man of the Year presented by Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Unsung Hero presented by Labatt, Rookie of the Year presented by Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort and Most Valuable Player presented by KeyBank
  • Hot dogs, soft pretzels, popcorn cups and Sabres souvenir cups with soda will be available for just $2.50 each 
  • The Sabres Store will also be giving all fans 40 percent off their entire purchase during each of the team's home games in April

More details can be found here.
 


On tap today

The Sabres are back on the ice this morning at KeyBank Center for practice. We'll have video interviews and a written report for you.

Our weekly Rochester Americans update will be going out for you as well.

 

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