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Sharpen Up: March 7, 2018

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

The Sabres take on the Calgary Flames tonight and it looks like they'll have a new face in the lineup. Buffalo recalled forward Danny O'Regan this morning from the Rochester Americans. If that name sounds familiar, it's because he was the player acquired at the Trade Deadline last week.

We'll see at the morning skate where he may slot in.

Here's what you need to know.

 

More on O'Regan 

O'Regan (5'10", 185 lbs., 1/30/1994) has scored twice in three games with the Amerks since being acquired by the Sabres from the San Jose Sharks on trade deadline day. Prior to the trade, he had appeared in a career-high 19 NHL games with the Sharks in his second professional season, tallying four assists.

A native of Berlin, Germany, O'Regan has totaled five points (1+4) through 22 NHL games in two seasons with San Jose, adding 85 points (32+53) in 97 career AHL games.

The lone goal of his NHL career so far came on April 8...against Calgary.

 

Yesterday's practice

Chad Johnson was named the starter for tonight's game. We also have some injury news.

Video: Sabres Now (3/6/18)

From the Ice Level Practice Report… 

It seems like the injury bug has focused its attention on the centers of the Buffalo Sabres.

Kyle Criscuolo will miss four to six weeks after sustaining an upper-body injury in Monday's tilt with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Sabres announced Tuesday. Criscuolo had been recalled on Sunday to fill in at center for Evan Rodrigues, who has been labeled as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. 

Criscuolo was playing his first shift of the second period on Monday when he went to deliver a hit on Maple Leafs forward Matt Martin along the boards. He skated directly to the bench after the collision and went to the dressing room.

"In the little time that he did play in the game I thought he played a really solid game and brought his speed," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "He's one of those guys that goes to the tough area. He took that hit. It's unfortunate for him, it's unfortunate for us moving forward."

Video: After Practice: HOUSLEY

Johnson stopped 32 of 33 shots in a win over the Flames on Jan. 22. That began a stretch of nine appearances in which he's gone 6-2-0 with a .933 save percentage and a 2.05 goals-against average, including a 38-save performance in the win over Toronto on Monday.

"I think we're playing a lot better, boxing out guys in front of our net," Housley said. "I think he's seeing more pucks. But let's make no mistake, Chad has really given us some keys saves at key moments of the games. He's really stepped up his game. 

"You can see it in the results of the last games he's played. But I really like his demeanor in the net. He looks very comfortable. He doesn't chase anything. He's letting pucks hit him, he's square to the puck."


Reinhart's uptick in production 

We took a closer look at what's been going right for Sam Reinhart lately. Read the full feature here, but here's a taste: 

Video: TOR@BUF: Reinhart tips shot past Andersen for PPG

Now and then, Sam Reinhart is asked what he thinks about when he's out on the ice. The ideal answer, he said, is actually to have no answer at all. 

"If I can tell you, that's probably not a good thing in my game," Reinhart said. "I'm just going out and playing and reading and reacting. The game's so fast that that's the way you've got to play. That's the way I play best."

It's that type of simplicity, combined with renewed confidence, that's helped Reinhart establish one of the most productive stretches of his young career since the beginning of January. He's scored 23 points (9+14) in 22 games dating back to Jan. 18th, tied for 15th in the NHL during that span.

Video: NYI@BUF: Reinhart tucks in a rebound down low

Reinhart only scored 11 points in 38 games prior to his goal at the Winter Classic on Jan. 1. He said after a three-point night against the New York Islanders on Feb. 8 that nothing had changed preparation-wise, but admitted on Monday that he's been thinking less during games as of late. 

With 16 games remaining, Reinhart can still surpass the career-high 47 points he scored last season if he maintains his point-per-game pace, a mark that would have seemed unlikely just two months ago. His goal is to continue learning from his current run, beginning when the Sabres host Calgary on Wednesday. 

"Of course I'm going to," he said. "That's something we're trying to do here. Everyone's trying to do that. We have another chance tomorrow against a team that's fighting for a playoff spot and in a position that we want to put ourselves in as soon as possible."

 

Tonight's matchup

From the Game Notes

  • After going 3-0-1 in their last four meetings, the Sabres have points in four straight games against the Flames for the first time since they went 7-0-2 against Calgary from Feb. 18, 1997 to Nov. 23, 2001.
  • The home team has won 18 of the last 21 games between these teams, dating back to the 1999-00 season. The Flames' last win in Buffalo was on Dec. 14, 2013.
  • With points in their last 13 home games against Calgary (11-0-2), the Sabres have broken their series-record for most consecutive home games against the Flames with a point, originally set from March 11, 1979 to Nov. 10, 1985 (11-0-1).
  • The Sabres are 17-3-2 in their last 22 home games against the Flames, with the last regulation home loss coming on March 15, 1996.

 

  • Sam Reinhart has totaled 23 points (9+14) in his last 22 games.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has 24 points (6+18) in his last 29 games dating back to Dec. 29, including six points (1+5) in his last six games. Ristolainen's 24 points during that span ranked sixth among NHL defensemen entering play Tuesday.
  • Ryan O'Reilly has recorded 12 points (3+9) in his last 11 games. His four-game point streak (1+4) is tied as his longest streak of the season.
  • Chad Johnson is 6-2-0 in his last nine appearances with a .933 save percentage and a 2.05 goals-against average in those contests.

 

Bogo's Kan Jam event is Saturday

Video: Bogo's Kan Jam Event set for March 10

Register your team today!

Tweet from @Jackeichel15: Want to help @BogosianZach @jamkancer and help his @thebogobunch raise $$ for @roswellpark ? Make a tax-deductible donation of $50 or more and receive a Bogo Jam @neweracap signed by Zach & I. Supplies are limited - click here to purchase - https://t.co/og4e6OapiL pic.twitter.com/suv5TTDHOI 

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