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Sharpen Up: January 27, 2017

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

After that game, I think it's safe to say we can all use a break. 

The end result for the Buffalo Sabres against the Dallas Stars on Thursday night - their last game prior to the All-Star break - was a 4-3 loss, but you could argue that what happened in the NHL's Situation Room in Toronto was arguably just as important as what happened on the ice in Dallas.

Buffalo had three reviews that didn't go their way, beginning with Jamie Benn's goal in the second period. The Sabres challenged for an offside entry, but the video review was ruled inconclusive and thus the goal stood. Sam Reinhart thought for sure he had scored later in the period, but a review of that play was also ruled inconclusive as the puck was buried beneath goalie Kari Lehtonen.

The last play that drummed up some controversy came in the final seconds of the game. The Sabres trailed 4-3, and Jack Eichel rushed into the offensive zone and cut wide to the net before tossing the puck out in front. Initially, it looked like the puck was kept out. The final eight seconds ticked off the clock, and the Sabres left for the dressing room.

After they left the ice, however, a third review began. Video replay showed that the puck had deflected off of Lehtonen's thigh with the goalie deep in the net. Whether the puck fully crossed the goal line or not was another story, made even more difficult to confirm when the black puck was camouflaged by Lehtonen's black gear. 

A lengthy review brought Dan Bylsma back out onto the bench, only to watch the officials eventually rule that the puck did not cross the goal line. You can decide for yourself below.

"I think the answer is they don't definitively know that it crossed the whole goal line," Bylsma said. "I think we can all see it passed the crossbar. That's the answer."

Chris Ryndak was in Dallas for the game, and he has comprehensive breakdowns of all three plays - including the NHL's official explanations - in his game recap. Check that out here.


Let's hear from the locker room

Video: BYLSMA: Postgame Interview

Video: GIONTA: Postgame Interview

Video: O'REILLY: Postgame Interview

 Video: REINHART: Postgame Interview


Kane's pace

Evander Kane scored two goals on Thursday to bring his season total to 14 - all in his last 25 games. He's played 37 games total this season, but was held scoreless in 11 games after returning from the cracked ribs that he sustained on opening night.

Now that he's feeling 100 percent, he's in the midst of one of the most productive stretches of his career. Twenty-five games is a good sample size, and Kane has been consistent throughout. He's only gone three games without a goal once during that span, and hasn't gone more than two games without a point.

If you expand Kane's goals-per-game average during this stretch (.56) over the course of a full 82-game season, he'd be on pace for 45 goals. His career high is 30. 


Nelson reassigned to Rochester

The Sabres announced on Friday morning that the team has reassigned defenseman Casey Nelson to Rochester. Nelson was recalled in the wake of an injury to Jake McCabe and entered the lineup in Montreal on Saturday, but sat as a healthy scratch for the last two games as Dmitry Kulikov returned from injury.

Nelson has four goals and five assists in 27 games for Rochester this season.


On Tap

Kyle Okposo is off to Los Angeles to represent the Sabres at All-Star weekend, and the team will be following him there. Stay tuned throughout the weekend for coverage, beginning with a video detailing Okposo's first season as a Sabre by the numbers this afternoon.

The Sabres will return to action in Montreal on Tuesday night.

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