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Sharpen Up: January 16, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

Will today mark Tyler Ennis' return to the lineup? We'll find out soon. The Sabres are set to take on the Dallas Stars this afternoon. Join us for the TOPS Game Night pregame show starting at 12:30 p.m. on MSG with puck drop scheduled for 1 p.m.

Buffalo hopes to shake off a two-game skid while Dallas is opening up a three-game road trip.

Here's what you need to know.

Video: PREVIEW: Sabres vs. Stars

UPDATE (10:30 a.m.) - The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has recalled forward Cal O'Reilly from the Rochester Americans (AHL).

O'Reilly (6'0", 193 lbs., 9/30/1986) joins the Sabres for his second recall of the season after playing four games for the team in November. The Toronto, Ontario native is currently tied for second in the AHL with 26 assists and is tied for ninth in the league with 34 points overall (8+26).

In 20 games for the Sabres during the 2015-16 season, O'Reilly recorded seven points (3+4) and two penalty minutes.

(This update has been brought to you by @SabresPR)

Now back to your regularly scheduled edition of Sharpen Up: 

Yesterday's Ice Lvel practice report has you covered. Jourdon LaBarber wrote and transcribed these words:

While he has not yet been confirmed to make his return to the lineup for the Buffalo Sabres on Monday, Tyler Ennis certainly practiced like a man on the brink of playing at KeyBank Center on Sunday. Ennis was a full participant on power-play drills, line rushes and 5-on-5 drills playing alongside Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo.

Video: Sabres in :90 (1/15/17)

Dan Bylsma said he'll wait until Monday morning to announce whether or not Ennis will play, but if he does, he did confirm it will be alongside O'Reilly and Okposo. The decision to play Ennis alongside O'Reilly and not Jack Eichel, he said, was based off the shared tendency of Eichel and Ennis to be at their most effective with the puck on their stick.

"He needs players to give and go with and he needs players to create room and space for him when he has the puck," the Sabres coach said in reference to Eichel. "Tyler could be a give-and-go guy with Jack, [but] he's also a guy who likes to have the puck on his stick a lot."

 

Ennis has missed 30 games since undergoing groin surgery on Nov. 10, reparations for an injury that had already been nagging him early in the season. He was limited to just 23 games in 2015-16 due to multiple injuries, including a concussion that ended his season in December.

Robin Lehner also returned to practice. He'd missed the last three games with an illness. Will he be back between the pipes? We'll hear from Bylsma shortly.

 

Who's been productive lately?

  • Rasmus Ristolainen has 18 points (3+15) his last 21 games.
  • Ryan O'Reilly has recorded 16 points (4+12) in his last 17 games, including seven points (1+6) in five games since returning from a four-game absence following an appendectomy.
  • Sam Reinhart has recorded 12 points (3+9) in his last 12 games.
  • Jack Eichel has tallied seven points (3+4) in his last nine games.

 

Who's been especially good on home ice?

  • Ryan O'Reilly has eight points (2+6) in his last seven home games.
  • Sam Reinhart (1+5) and Marcus Foligno (3+1) each enter tonight's game with points in four straight home games.
  • Matt Moulson has recorded seven points (1+6) in his last eight home games.
  • Anders Nilsson is 5-1-1 at home this season, with a .941 save percentage and a 1.84 goals-against average in those games.

 

And who's had success against Dallas?

  • Matt Moulson has 14 points (8+6) in 13 career games against the Stars.
  • Kyle Okposo has nine points (6+3) in eight career games against Dallas.
  • Ryan O'Reilly has five points (2+3) in his last five games against the Stars.

 

On tap today

Look out for Bylsma's comments in a little bit. Then stick around after the game for full postgame coverage, including highlights, locker room interviews and our signature game recap.

We'll also roll out our weekly Sabres Prospects Report courtesy of the honorable Kris Baker. So stay tuned for that.

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