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Sharpen Up: February 4, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

After a day off, the Sabres take the ice again tonight with a game against the Ottawa Senators, kicking off a stretch of three games in four nights. It's a busy month for Buffalo with 13 more games to be played in February, including eight more at home. 

Buffalo is 0-2-1 over its last three games while the Senators wrap up a three-game road trip in which they're 1-1-0 so far.

Here's what you need to know. 

The Sabres know they need two points almost every night to be a legitimate threat in the playoff hunt, and they hope a consistent 60-minute effort will lead to victories on a more regular basis. They stuck with their game against the Rangers in a 2-1 overtime loss, battling back in the final six minutes to tie it up. 

Let's look back on more time on the postgame reaction before moving on to tonight's matchup.

Video: Duffer's Recap

Got it? Good. Here's what's up today.

These little nuggets are from the Game Notes

Tonight marks the fourth of five meetings between the Sabres and Senators this season. Buffalo is 2-0-1 against Ottawa so far this season with their last win coming in a 5-4 fashion on Nov. 29. 

The Sabres enter tonight's game with points in six straight meetings with the Senators (4-0-2) for the first time since Buffalo went 6-0-1 against Ottawa from Dec. 4, 2010 to Dec. 13, 2011.

The Sabres have gone 4-0-1 in their last five home games. With a win or overtime loss tonight, the team would have points in six straight home games for the first time since the team won six in a row from Nov. 28 to Dec. 15, 2014.

Evander Kane has 10 points (5+5) in his last 11 games. Kane hasn't gone three games without recording a point since mid-November.

Ryan O'Reilly has 12 points (2+10) in 13 games since returning from an absence due to an appendectomy.

Cody Franson has six points (2+4) in his last six games.

Brian Gionta has six points (3+3) in his last seven games.
No word yet on who will start in goal, but both of Buffalo's netminders have had success against Ottawa.

Robin Lehner is 2-0-2 in six career appearances against his former club with a .951 save percentage and a 1.42 goals-against average. Anders Nilsson is 2-1-0 with a .927 save percentage in three career games against the Senators.

Zach Bogosian left Thursday's game with a mid-body injury so we'll know more shortly when it comes to his status. Josh Gorges (hip) and Jake McCabe (shoulder) are also both currently out due to injuries.

Showdown begins tonight

Who will be named this year's Sabres Showdown champion? The one-of-a-kind competition returns for its second year tonight during the broadcast on MSG. Eight Sabres go head-to-head in a skills challenge starting with tonight's matchup of Ryan O'Reilly against Marcus Foligno. 

For a chance to win some prizes, you have until puck drop tonight to fill out your own bracket at


Hockey Is For Everyone Month

As part of Hockey Is For Everyone Month, the team will host a screening of Soul On Ice: Past, Present & Future at the Dipson Amherst Theatre on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. Tickets will cost $10 and all proceeds will benefit Hasek's Heroes.

Soul On Ice: Past, Present & Future touches on the many contributions black athletes have made to ice hockey. The film primarily follows Jaden Lindo, a young man working to make his goal of reaching the NHL a reality. Icons like Tony McKegney, Wayne Simmonds, Grant Fuhr and Don Cherry also sit down to offer in-depth interviews and personal insights.

After the screening, Mason will lead a panel discussion that will also include Sabres alumni Tony McKegney and Val James, both of whom are featured in the film.

Tickets for the event can be purchased here

The event coincides with the NHL's Hockey is for Everyone™ (HIFE) month. The HIFE movement is designed to support non-profit youth hockey organizations committed to allowing children of all backgrounds to play hockey. More information about HIFE can be found on

The team has also announced they'll be hosting You Can Play Night on Tuesday during the home game against San Jose. The You Can Play Project was founded to advocate for inclusion, acceptance and respect of LGBTQ athletes in sports. The event will run in conjunction with the NHL's Hockey is for Everyone™ month. More details can be found here.


On tap today

We'll have full pregame coverage for you thanks to Jourdon LaBarber and Brian Duff.

If you want to see the action live, you can get your individual tickets here. We've got some nice ticket packages avaiable including Family Packs and Hat Trick Packs too.

Then tune in to the TOPS Game Night pregame show at 6:30 p.m. on MSG. Martin Biron will be joining Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray on the broadcast so that should be fun when the puck drops just after 7.

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