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Sharpen Up: March 12, 2018

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

The Sabres are off today, but that doesn't mean we don't have some updates for you. 

Buffalo was unable to top the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday, falling 2-1 in the shootout. Justin Bailey scored for Buffalo. 

Here's what you need to know.


Looking back at Saturday

Video: BUF Recap: Lehner stops 33 in 2-1 shootout loss

From the Lexus Postgame Report

It took 67 games for the Buffalo Sabres to get a second attempt at a shootout after losing the skills competition at KeyBank Center on opening night. That chance came in Ottawa on Thursday night, and the Sabres seized the opportunity to come away with a win. 

The wait for a third shootout was much shorter. The Sabres played past overtime for the second game in a row against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday, and while it featured some of the same ingredients as their win in Ottawa - a goal from Jacob Josefson and some big saves by Robin Lehner - the result this time was a 2-1 loss. 

Video: HOUSLEY: Postgame Interview

Each team took five attempts in the shootout. Josefson scored the lone goal for Buffalo, mimicking the top-shelf wrister that won the game in Ottawa and improving to 13-for-24 in his career. David Perron and Erik Haula scored for Vegas. 

"I think the guys played a hell of a hockey game today," Lehner said. "I think we played well against one of the better teams. I think they played well too. It's a 1-1 game, we lost in a shootout. That's the unfortunate part, but there was a lot of good things in today's game."

Video: LEHNER: Postgame Interview

Phil Housley was pleased for the most part with the effort his team put forth despite an injury-laden roster against one of the top teams in the NHL. The Sabres were playing without two of their three leading scorers in Jack Eichel (ankle) and Kyle Okposo (concussion), and the lineup featured five players who had been recalled since January.

What disappointed Housley was that, after limiting the second-highest scoring team in the NHL for so much of the game, the Sabres allowed the golden opportunity for Deryk Engelland to tie it late. 

Video: BAILEY: Postgame Interview

"I hope they weren't happy," Housley said. "Obviously you look at our lineup versus their lineup, I think our guys are doing a terrific job, guys that are stepping in. You look at Justin Bailey tonight, contributing. But we had an opportunity to close that game out with four and a half minutes to go.

"Those are areas we have to learn as we move forward, that it's a simple battle and we can't lose inside position."

Video: POULIOT: Postgame Interview

And some stats from @SabresPR

  • The loss dropped the Sabres to 13-4-1 all-time in the first home game against teams that joined the league via expansion after 1970.


  • With his goal, Justin Bailey, who had five points (4+1) in his last five games in Rochester (AHL) before being recalled, now has three goals in eight NHL games this season.


  • Ryan O'Reilly's 27 faceoff wins fell two shy of his franchise-record 29 on Feb. 11 vs. Colorado. He is now on pace to break the NHL single-season faceoff win record (faceoff stats have been recorded since 1997-98).
  • O'Reilly now has 10 games as a member of the Sabres with more than 21 wins, breaking the franchise single-game record previously shared by Curtis Brown and Michael Peca.
  • O'Reilly's faceoff win percentage of 81.8 percent on Saturday tied the third-best percentage of his career.


Saturday's broadcast also featured our friends at the Academy of Hockey and they shared their insights as the game progressed:

 Video: Tablet Talk: Academy of Hockey Edition

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: Justin Bailey wants to make an impact - he's been noticeable already today - @EllisMatt37 of @AcademyOfHockey, @martybiron43 & @duffersabres break it down.

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: VP/Director of @AcademyOfHockey @AdamsKevyn talks about the Academy's offerings & the importance of development for young hockey players.Remember to use the hashtag #AskAOH to send your questions to the Academy team!

Tweet from @AcademyOfHockey: .@CoachMike5 joins the broadcast to take a look at @BuffaloSabres' Scott Wilson's footwork to deceive the defenseman to create some space. #AskAOH

Bogo's Kan Jam event a success

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: Congrats to Team Griffith and @NewEraCap on winning the @BogosianZach @jamkancer KanJam Tourney!

Instagram from @buffalosabres: Thanks to all who supported Bogo's @jamkancer for @thebogobunch @roswellpark & congrats to the winners - we raised thousands of dollars for charity! ��

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: What a fun evening last night - for a good cause!Thanks to all who supported the @BogosianZach @jamkancer - photos:

Amerks wrap up 3-in-3

Watch: Youtube Video

Rochester, meanwhile, went 1-1-1 on the weekend, capping off their three-in-three set with a shootout win over Syracuse. We'll have more on that in tomorrow's Amerks Update, but the Rochester lineup was bolstered by the additions of Bailey and Danny O'Regan. 

We'll see if they rejoin the Sabres for practice tomorrow. That's scheduled to be at HarborCenter in the morning. Buffalo does not play against until Thursday night when they host Toronto on home ice


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