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Sharpen Up: January 12, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Anders Nilsson is coming off a 39-save performance in that win on Tuesday over the Flyers and we'll see if he gets the call tonight in Tampa. The Sabres are 3-0-1 in the new year and are taking on a Lightning team tonight that's lost four in a row. The Sabres are looking for their first five-game point streak since March 2012.

Here's what you need to know.

Tonight opens up a back-to-back road trip. After the game tonight, the Sabres will face Carolina tomorrow night in Raleigh.

It'll start the sixth of a league-high 19 sets of back-to-back games for Buffalo this season. The Sabres are 2-1-2 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 2-2-1 in the second game so far this season. 

Buffalo's point breakdown in previous back-to-back sets this season is: four points (1), three points (2), two points (0), one point (1) and zero points (1). 

(More fun facts like that can be found in the Game Notes)

Right now, however, the focus is on Tampa.

Video: BYLSMA: After Practice

The Sabres' 28-15-3 (.641) record in Tampa Bay is the team's best all-time road record against any Eastern Conference opponent. The team's next best road record against an Eastern conference opponent is its 42-25-10 (.610) mark at Washington.

Buffalo's all-time record of 52-32-7 (.610) against Tampa Bay is the team's third-best record against any Eastern Conference opponent, trailing only their 87-48-20 (.626) mark against Washington and their 111-65-26 (.614) record against Toronto.

If they score three goals tonight, the Sabres will have scored at least three goals in five consecutive games for the first time since they did so in six straight from March 23 to April 3, 2015.


Lineup news

Linus Ullmark was called up on Tuesday when Robin Lehner was ruled out due to an illness. Lehner did not travel with the team on the road trip, so it's possible that Ullmark could get his first start of the season in the next two days. 

He was named to the AHL All-Star Team last week and we spoke with Brian Duff yesterday about his season so far:

Video: Sabres in :90 (1/11/17)

Another player who did not make the trip: forward Derek Grant, who was claimed on waivers yesterday by the Nashville Predators. Grant recorded three assists in 35 games with Buffalo this season.

Tyler Ennis, however, is a possibility to play tomorrow night in Carolina. He's missed 28 games after undergoing groin surgery in November. 


Road Crew Denver

Our Road Crew, presented by Delta Air Lines, will make its second "Tour Stop" of the season on Friday, Feb. 24 in Denver, Colorado prior to the team's game against the Colorado Avalanche on Feb. 25. 

 This Tour Stop will take place at Lodo's Bar and Grill Downtown (1946 Market St., Denver, CO 80202) from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 each, with all proceeds benefiting the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.

These events are tons of fun, so if you're in the Denver area or want to make the trip there, we'd love to see ya. 

Our first road crew event will take place on Jan. 23 in Nashville.

You can buy tickets for either (or both!) events here.


On tap today

Stick around for full pregame coverage. Jourdon LaBarber and Brian Duff will have all the updates for you from the morning skate. And then Dan and Rayzor have the call at 7:30 on MSG.

Stay tuned as well for a recap of Zach Bogosian's Casino For A Cause Event. The casino night, organized by his Bogo Bunch Foundation, raised funds the Buffalo Wellness Centers Juicer Fund and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Check out the Bogo Bunch Foundation's website for more details. 

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