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Sharpen Up: February 23, 2017

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

When the Rochester Americans come to Buffalo, they tend to leave in style. 

The Amerks are now 5-1-0-0 in six all-time games in Buffalo after Cal O'Reilly scored the winning goal in overtime of a 3-2 victory over the Utica Comets at KeyBank Center last night. You can watch the full highlights of the game below, or read the recap from Amerks.com. 

 Watch: Youtube Video

It was a couple of familiar faces who connected on the overtime goal, with Nicholas Baptiste - less than a week removed from a two-point game for the Sabres - stealing the puck in the corner and tapping a pass to O'Reilly as he cut toward the middle. All O'Reilly needed to do was shoot the puck into an open net.

Linus Ullmark, continuing his All-Star season, made 37 saves on 39 shots for Rochester. 

The win was the second in a row for the Amerks, their first set of back-to-back wins since the beginning of January. The game was also a step forward for Hudson Fasching, who's been limited to 18 games in his rookie season as he's dealt with a groin injury. Fasching was the benefactor of an opportune bounce off the boards while the Utica goalie attempted to play the puck behind the net, allowing him to score into an empty cage. 

Here's what Fasching had to say, courtesy of Amerks.com:

"The goal, despite being a weird open net one, was really big for me," said Fasching. "I have been struggling as of late to put up some points, so to get back on the scoresheet was a good feeling. This season, as a team, there has been some bounces that went against us, so tonight it was good to finally get some going in our direction."

Watch: Youtube Video

Vaclav Karabacek also scored for the Amerks, the second goal in as many games for the rookie forward.

 

Scoreboard watching

After a tough bunch of games on Tuesday, Wednesday went about as well as it possibly could have for the idle Sabres. Florida lost to Edmonton, Philadelphia lost to Washington, and Boston lost on the road at Anaheim. 

The only change in the standings was that the New York Islanders, who didn't play on Wednesday, overtook Florida and Boston for the second wild card spot based on points percentage, although all three teams are tied with 66 points. The Sabres sit four points back of those teams and five points back of third-place Toronto in the Atlantic Division.

As for tonight: the Islanders are on the road in Montreal, the Maple Leafs host the New York Rangers and the Bruins continue their West Coast swing in Los Angeles. Tampa Bay - currently tied with the Sabres at 62 points - hosts Calgary.

More good news: after tonight's slate of games, none of those teams will have games in hand on the Sabres. 


Dunleavy's take

Dan Dunleavy covered a lot of topics in his latest blog entry on Wednesday, from the young players who contributed to the Sabres over the past month to his take on whether Robin Lehner has established himself as a true No. 1 in the NHL. 

If you missed it, you can find the post here.

 

On Tap

A press conference will be held this morning to announce the participants in 2017 Super Sunday High School Club Hockey Championships. Stay tuned to @BuffaloSabres on Twitter for more on that.

Sharpen Up will return on Friday. Oh, and so will the Sabres - they practice tomorrow evening in Colorado. 

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