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Sharpen Up: February 9, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

The Quack Attack is back for their annual visit to Buffalo. The Sabres host the Anaheim Ducks tonight at KeyBank Center, where the Sabres will look to build off Tuesday's thrilling comeback against San Jose. 

Here's what you need to know. 


If you need to see that third-period rally one more time…

Video: Sabres come back from three-goals down, win in OT

Some lineup changes tonight

The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has recalled forwards Derek Grant and Evan Rodrigues from the Rochester Americans (AHL).

Grant (6'3", 212 lbs, 4/20/1990) joins the team for the second time this season. In 41 games for the Sabres and Nashville Predators this season, the Abbotsford, British Columbia native has four assists and 24 penalty minutes. 

This is the second recall of the season for Rodrigues (5'10", 183 lbs., 7/28/1993), who currently ranks third on the Amerks with 18 assists and fifth with 27 points. In four career NHL games for the Sabres, Rodrigues has recorded two points (1+1) and a plus-1 rating.

(We'll know more about who is in and who is out after the Morning Skate.)


From the Game Notes…

The Sabres have gone 6-0-1 in their last seven home games, marking the team's longest home point streak since the team went 6-0-2 in eight home games from Dec. 10, 2013 to Jan. 9, 2014.

Robin Lehner has stopped 73 of 76 shots (.961) shots in two career meetings with the Ducks. Lehner has also not allowed a 5-on-5 goal in his last 198:42 of ice time, including 168:40 of 5-on-5 play. He's stopped each of the last 91 shots he's faced at 5-on-5.

Lehner entered play Wednesday ranked eighth in the NHL with a .932 save percentage at even strength, joining Anders Nilsson (fifth, .934) in the top 10. Before Wednesday's games the pair were also the only qualifying teammates (min. 17 games played) to rank in the top 10 in overall save percentage: Lehner (.923) - seventh; Nilsson (.922) - 10th

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Sabres last had two qualifying goaltenders ranked in the top 10 in save percentage at the end of the season in 1992-93 (Dominik Hasek and Grant Fuhr). Buffalo hasn't had two qualifying goaltenders finish in the top 10 after spending an entire season with the team since 1989-90 (Daren Puppa and Clint Malarchuk).

Also, Lehner is 5-2-1 with a .930 save percentage this calendar year. Not too shabby.

Kyle Okposo has eight points (5+3) in eight career games against Anaheim.

Tyler Ennis has recorded five points (4+1) in seven career games against the Ducks, including goals in each of his last two. He's also riding a four-game point streak with one goal and three assists.

Duck hunters

The Sabres have shut out the Ducks seven times in the 32 all-time games between the clubs (Dominik Hasek-3, Martin Biron-2, Chad Johnson-1, Ryan Miller-1). This amounts to one shutout for every 4.57 meetings, the Sabres' highest shutout-to-games ratio against any NHL team.

This ratio is so much higher against the Ducks than the next closest opponent that the Ducks would have to score a goal in each of the next 22 meetings between the teams for the ratio to fall behind the next highest current ratio (Columbus, three shutouts in 23 games - 7.37 games per shutout).

The Sabres' last shutout against the Ducks occurred two meetings ago (Dec. 17, 2015 in Buffalo).
(Isn't @SabresPR the best for this kind of info?)


Showdown continues

The first round concludes tonight when Sam Reinhart takes on Rasmus Ristolainen. Who will advance to face Jake McCabe in the semifinal? Watch during the first intermission of tonight's game on MSG to find out.

And visit for all of the previous matchups.

On tap today

Stick with us for full pre and postgame coverage including Jourdon LaBarber's updates from the Morning Skate, Brian Duff's video preview, locker room reaction and highlights. 

We're on the air at 6:30 p.m. for the TOPS Game Night pregame show featuring Duffer and MayDay. Dan, Rayzor and Marty will have the call just after 7. 

As Lauren Hall noted in her blog yesterday, Reeds Jenns is provided a special giveaway tonight in the spirit of Valentine's Day. 

As you enter the arena tonight, we'll be handing out gift cards good for $50 toward your next jewelry purchase of $95 or more at Reeds. Make sure you save your card and take it in to one of their locations before Valentine's Day (Tuesday, Feb. 14) and have it scanned. You could be one of five lucky fans to win a half-carat diamond!  

Lauren has more details here:

Video: Reeds Jenss Diamond Giveaway

Speaking of Valentine's Day, we'll be sharing this year's set of Valentine's Day cards later today. 

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