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Sharpen Up: January 24, 2017

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Include Dan Bylsma, Terry Murray and Zach Bogosian among the list of people who have said that they do not recall seeing an NHL lineup featuring five right-shot defensemen in their careers. That is, until Saturday, when the Buffalo Sabres had five righties on the back end in their win over Montreal. 

Whether or not we see that anomaly a second time tonight in Nashville depends on the availability of Dmitry Kulikov. The left-shot Kulikov returned to practice on Monday and traveled with the team for their two-game road trip, and Bylsma has said there is a good chance he returns this week. 

Kulikov is one of three defensemen who have been out for the Sabres along with Joh Gorges (hip) and, most recently, Jake McCabe. Bylsma said on his weekly appearance on WGR 550 on Tuesday morning that the team is hoping for a 10-14 day recovery for McCabe's shoulder injury. 

If Kulikov does play, it will provide more balance on the back end. If he doesn't, well, the Sabres were able to get by just fine with their five righty experiment in Montreal, thanks in large part to players like Cody Franson and Zach Bogosian taking on larger roles and Taylor Fedun playing his off side. Such was the topic of yesterday's Sabres in :90, which you can watch below.

Video: Sabres in :90 (1/23/17)

Remember, it's an 8 p.m. puck drop tonight, so coverage begins at 7:30 on MSG-B. If you're planning to watch the game and also thinking "I could really use a free jersey," 716 Food and Sport will be throwing a watch party with food and drink specials and - lucky you - jersey giveaways. They'll also be giving away club seats to the Sabres game against the Rangers on Feb. 2. 

It's the Queen City versus Music City. Here's what else you need to know on a game day in Nashville.


Much love when we go OT

The Sabres are coming off back-to-back wins in overtime against Detroit and Montreal, so a win in Nashville will give them three in a row (obviously). If they happen to win in overtime again, per Sabres PR, it will be the second time in franchise history they've won three straight games in overtime or a shootout (not obviously). 

The only other time such a streak occurred was Nov. 5, 10 and 11, 2006, when the Sabres beat the Rangers, Panthers and Flyers in overtime … Which brings us to Sharpen Up Trivia! Can you guess who the overtime goal scorers were in those games? Answers will be revealed at the bottom, and your prize will be the satisfaction of knowing you either have a great memory or made good, if not slightly obvious, guesses.

Back to it. Bylsma has said a few times as of late that a couple of overtime wins might be what it will take for the Sabres to finally go on an extended run. They've got them now, and with two games remaining before the All-Star break, there's no better time to try to close the gap in the standings than now. Bylsma spoke a bit about that after practice on Monday:

Video: BYLSMA: After Practice


About the Predators

Nashville comes into the game on its own three-game winning streak, having won six of its last seven games. Ryan Johansen leads the team with 35 points, including five (1+4) in his last two games. Filip Forsberg has also been hot as of late with five goals - including four game-winning goals - in his last six games.

A fun, maybe not so fun, stat about the Predators: they're the only team in the NHL that has not lost in regulation when scoring first. 


A brief oral history on the Lehner save

We watched it again and again over the weekend, but conversations with Evander Kane and Rasmus Ristolainen on Monday were enough to spark a mini oral history of Robin Lehner's spectacular overtime save in Montreal on Saturday night. 

What was happening on the bench? What was Evander Kane thinking as he attempted to block the shot with his eyes closed? Hit this link to find out.


On Tap 

Chris Ryndak and Brian Duff will provide full coverage once the team hits the ice in Nashville this morning, with postgame coverage to follow on In the meantime, also keep a look out for our weekly Amerks Update.


Sharpen Up Trivia Answers

Danny Briere, Thomas Vanek, Danny Briere.

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