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Sharpen Up: January 6, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

The Sabres are back home following a two-game road trip that featured strong play, career firsts, pleasant surprises and bitter disappointment

The good news is that Buffalo picked up three of four points in tough matches in New York against the Rangers and in Chicago. However, it's how they lost that fourth point - in a Blackhawks comeback in the final two minutes of regulation that led to an overtime loss - that stings.

Here's what you need to know.

Video: RECAP: BUF at CHI (1/5/17)

"It's tough to swallow that one. You're two minutes away from beating the Blackhawks in their building on a road trip," Jack Eichel said after the game. "…We get a point, but we should've had two."

Video: EICHEL: Postgame Interview

Other good news?

Ryan O'Reilly returned to the lineup after missing four games after undergoing a successful appendectomy on Christmas Day. He picked up two assists against the Blackhawks.

But in not-so-great news? He's taking responsibility for Patrick Kane's overtime winner by not hanging onto the puck to get a full line change. 

Video: BYLSMA: Postgame Interview

The Sabres did do a lot of things to like in that game - and if you look at the Rangers game, there are even more - but it's the way the game ended that really stuck with the club after the game. They held the lead on three separate occasions, but weren't able to hang on.

The Sabres haven't won in Chicago since Jan. 10, 2007. Their seven straight road losses to the Blackhawks are the most in their history against one opponent.

Anders Nilsson was strong in net, making 39 saves. He started both games on the trip. 

Video: NILSSON: Postgame Interview


Casey Fitzgerald and Team USA topped Canada in a shootout last night to win gold at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. Fitzgerald finished his tournament with three assists and six shots in seven games.

Alexander Nylander and Rasmus Asplund did not earn medals as Sweden fell to Russia in the Bronze Medal Game. Nylander tied for the tournament lead in points with 12 (5+7).

For more on all of that, here's Kris Baker's recap.

And don't forget that we're hosting tournament in December. For more information including ticket packages that guarantee you a seat for the outdoor game between the U.S. and Canada at New Era Field, visit


On tap today

The Sabres will be back at practice this afternoon as they prepare to take on the Winnipeg Jets tomorrow at 1 p.m. Stick with us for full coverage and reaction. 

After two national broadcasts, Saturday's game will be back on MSG starting with the TOPS Game Night pregame show at 12:30 p.m. RJ and Rayzor will have the call.

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