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Sharpen Up: April 6, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Buffalo wrapped up the home portion of their schedule last night with a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Rasmus Ristolainen and Tyler Ennis tallied for Buffalo as they improved their record at KeyBank Center to 20-15-6. 

With the win, the Sabres improved to 26-15-6 all-time in the final home game of the season.

Here's what you need to know.

Video: Lehner, Sabres stave off Canadiens for 2-1 win

The Sabres rebounded from an ugly loss on Monday against Toronto, in which they fell quickly into an early hole and they couldn't climb out of. Last night, they took the lead 6:01 into the game on Ristolainen's goal and didn't look back. 

 Video: BYLSMA: Postgame Interview

"Obviously I liked the result but I also liked how we played the game and we played for the 60 minutes," coach Dan Bylsma said. "I thought we played where we had to play, outcompeted them. They certainly had a couple opportunities but I liked the way our guys played."

Video: OREILLY: Postgame Interview

"This was a more complete game," alternate captain Ryan O'Reilly added. "I thought we did a lot of things better. We played more together, we supported each other and yeah, it was a nice win."

Ennis, who has been limited to 49 games so far this year, was named the game's first star.

Video: Ennis on the postgame show

"It's been a while, coming off the concussion for a while and having the groin surgery, it's been tough and frustrating and it's been a long time [since] I feel like I could play healthy hockey and enjoyed making plays and being out there and being quick," he said. "Tonight was fun."

Jack Eichel's first-period assist gave him career-high totals in assists (33) and points (57) in 22 fewer games than he played in 2015-16.

Video: EICHEL: Postgame Interview

Anders Nilsson sustained an injury in practice on Tuesday and was unable to back up Lehner last night. Linus Ullmark filled that role and this morning, the Sabres returned him to Rochester. The Amerks play three games in three days this weekend, starting tomorrow night at home against Hershey. 

2016-17 Team Awards

As voted on by the players
MVP: Ryan O'Reilly
Unsung Hero: Jake McCabe
Rookie of the Year: Evan Rodrigues
Sabres Foundation Man of the Year: Zach Bogosian

For more on each award, check out last night's game recap.

Statement on Kyle Okposo

The first-year Sabre has been out since March 28 due to an illness, which has left him unable to play or practice. He's missed the past four games and will likely be out for the final two games as well. 

The organization issued the following statement during the game:
"Kyle continues to be under the care of our doctors as he deals with symptoms from an illness. Out of respect to Kyle and his family, we will have no further comment at this time."

On tap today 

The Sabres have a scheduled day off and will return to practice tomorrow at HarborCenter. Marcus Foligno left last night's game after the second period due to a knee injury so we'll get an on his status then.

Buffalo will take on the Panthers and the Lightning this weekend, starting Saturday at Florida for the final two games of the season. And that means you should…

Tune in to Fan Appreciation Goes Digital

Fans tuned in to MSG for the team's final two road games against the Florida Panthers on April 8 and against the Tampa Bay Lightning on April 9 will have a chance to win prizes throughout both broadcasts when Fan Appreciation Night Goes Digital.

Registered My One Buffalo members will be able to access a form to enter the contest to win a variety of prizes including:

  • An overnight stay package from Buffalo Marriott HarborCenter
  • Two (2) round-trip tickets courtesy of Delta Air Lines
  • Four (4) 200 Club-level tickets for Sabres 2017-18 home opener
  • $200 Key Possibilities gift card, courtesy of KeyBank
  • (716) Food and Sport VIP Happy Hour for you and 11 guests (Ages 21+)
  • Sabres prize pack (including an autographed jersey, stick and puck)

To participate in this contest, fans can find a FAN Goes Digital tile under the My Tickets area of the app. Winners will be announced by Brian Duff during both intermissions and the postgame show on MSG.

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