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Sharpen Up: January 20, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

The Sabres are back at it tonight as they host the Detroit Red Wings at KeyBank Center. After the team's win on Dec. 27 at Detroit, the Sabres are looking for wins in consecutive matchups with the Red Wings for the first time since March 6, 1994 and Nov. 1, 1995.

So a win tonight would be a long time coming. And very much welcome.

Here's what you need to know.

Buffalo returned to practice yesterday. Here's where Buffalo stands as far as injuries go (from Jourdon LaBarber's Ice Level Practice Report):

Anders Nilsson was sick with the flu and did not practice. Bylsma said he was not yet sure whether the goalie will feel well enough to dress against Detroit on Friday. Linus Ullmark was recalled from Rochester to serve as the second goalie at practice.

"The night after the Toronto game I got the text that he was not feeling well, I guess that was the morning of the next day," Bylsma said in regards to Nilsson. "He's gone through a cycle, so to speak, yesterday and he has kept some food down today so it's too early to tell."

Video: Sabres in :90 (1/19/17)

After sitting as a precautionary scratch in Toronto on Tuesday, Tyler Ennis returned to practice and was a full participant. Ennis scored in his return from a 30-game absence against Dallas on Monday, but the Sabres did not want him to play back-to-back games so soon after a long recovery and thus kept him out of the lineup in Toronto. 

With the Sabres set to begin another back-to-back set at home against Detroit on Friday, Bylsma said there is a chance Ennis is able to play in both games this time around.

"It's more likely that he'll play this back-to-back than the first one," Bylsma said. "I kind of anticipated the first one. The plan right now is for him to play in the Detroit game and hopefully he can keep going forward in the Montreal game [on Saturday]."

Bylsma said that defenseman Josh Gorges, out with a hip injury, was scheduled to undergo an MRI to determine his progress on Thursday afternoon. 

Dmitry Kulikov (lower back) continued to skate on his own on Thursday and had elements of physicality added to his session.

 

From the Game Notes

If they dress, Matt Moulson (600th game) and Justin Falk (200th game) will each reach a career milestone tonight.

A win tonight would give the Sabres wins in four straight home games since the team won six in a row at home from Nov. 28 to Dec. 15, 2014.

A win would also give the Sabres two wins in a season against the Red Wings for the first time since they won both matchups in the 1989-90 season.

With at least a point tonight, the Sabres would have points in three straight matchups with the Red Wings for the first time since Oct. 13, 2009 to Feb. 26, 2011 (1-0-2).

Evander Kane has scored each of his 12 goals this season in his last 21 games, including a team-high 11 even-strength goals. In the period since scoring his first goal of the season on Dec. 3 vs. Boston:

  • He has not gone three consecutive games without scoring a goal.
  • He is tied for sixth among all NHL skaters in goals (12).
  • He is tied for the league lead in even-strength goals (11).
  • He ranks 10th in the NHL in goals per 60 minutes (1.84).
  • All rankings before Jan. 19 games

Four of William Carrier's six points this season have come in the last six games, including three of his four goals.

Ryan O'Reilly has eight points (2+6) in his last eight home games.

Sam Reinhart enters tonight's game with points in five straight home games (1+6), the longest home point streak of his career.

 

Watch Party on Tuesday at (716)

After tonight's game, the Sabres will head to Montreal for a game against the Canadiens tomorrow. We'll have full coverage for you here at Sabres.com. And then make sure you stop by (716) Food and Sport while the team is in Nashville on Tuesday.

For the road game, we'll be hosting a viewing party sponsored by Labatt, who will be providing giveaways and running a hockey jersey raffle. The game starts at 8 p.m. so reserve your seats and we'll see you there. 

 

On tap today

Stay tuned for full gameday coverage from the Morning Skate. If you aren't coming to the game tonight, we'll be on the air at 6:30 p.m. with the TOPS Game Night pregame show on MSG. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. RJ and Rayzor have the call and you can also listen live on WGR 550. 

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