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Sharpen Up: March 8, 2018

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

The Sabres will look to shake off last night's 5-1 loss to the Calgary Flames with their road game against the Ottawa Senators. 

Faceoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on MSG and WGR 550. Tune in early for the GMC Game Night pregame show starting at 7 on MSG.

Here's what you need to know.


A look back at last night

Video: BUF Recap: Nelson scores in 5-1 loss to Flames

From the Lexus Postgame Report… 

Video: HOUSLEY: Postgame

Phil Housley emphasized the importance of his team showing up on time against a Calgary Flames team that came to Buffalo on Wednesday fighting for its playoff life. But when game time came, he said, it was clear from the start that the Sabres were unprepared to match their opponent's intensity. 

The Flames scored twice in the first nine minutes and five times in the first two periods of an eventual 5-1 loss for the Sabres at KeyBank Center. The Sabres entered the night with seven wins in their last 13 games, including an emotional win over Toronto at home on Monday. 

Video: JOHNSON: Postgame

"That's just where we're at as a team right now, the consistency to get up for a team that's desperate," Housley said. "You look at games against Tampa, Boston, Toronto - they're easy to get up for. And Calgary comes in here, which is a desperate team, and we didn't match that desperation. That's top to bottom."

Chad Johnson, who entered the game with a 6-2-0 record since winning in Calgary on Jan. 22, was chased after Mark Giordano (on a slap shot from the point) and Sean Monahan (on a one-time feed from Johnny Gaudreau) scored goals 1:01 apart in the second period. 

Video: NELSON: Postgame

Johnson allowed four goals on 22 shots in 24:01, but Housley defended his goaltender after the game. Bennett's goal was the result of lapsed coverage, Jankowski's came on a shot alone from the slot and Giordano's deflected in off Zemgus Girgensons. 

"It was just that kind of night for me," Johnson said. "It happens, and you move on.

"…You want to beat that team. I know where they're at and we know where they're at. But it doesn't matter. Probably the bigger thing is that it's on home ice. That's more important to me. I don't care who I'm playing at the end of the day. I wanted to have a good effort at home. I think we all wanted to."

Robin Lehner stopped 18 of 19 shots in relief.

Video: O'REILLY: Postgame


Either way, Bills receiver Zay Jones had a great time at his first hockey game:

Tweet from @buffalobills: �� It���s lit ��Welcome to your first ever @NHL game, @zayjones11! #OneBuffalo
Tweet from @zayjones11: Hockey is Dope ��
Tweet from @zayjones11: LET THE BOYS FIGHT #GoSabres

Instagram from @buffalosabres: @zay is in the house tonight for his first ever @nhl game! �� #OneBuffalo

Tweet from @zayjones11: Thank you so much !! Awesome experience !!

Tonight's matchup

From the Game Notes… 

  • This is the third of four meetings between the Sabres and Senators this season.
  • Last meeting: Ottawa defeated Buffalo 3-2 (OT) in Ottawa on Feb. 15
  • Next meeting: Wednesday, April 4 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 7-0-3 in their last 10 games vs. the Senators; 4-4-2 on the road.


  • The Sabres enter tonight's game with a 6-1-1 record in their last eight games against Atlantic Division opponents and an 9-7-3 record against the division this season.
  • The Sabres enter tonight's game with points in 10 straight meetings with the Senators (7-0-3) for the first time in the all-time series.
  • Buffalo won all three road games against Ottawa last season. The Sabres are now on a six-game point streak in visits to Ottawa (4-0-2) that spans the last two seasons and are looking to stretch that streak to seven games for the first time in the all-time series.
  • Buffalo and Ottawa have had 19 of their last 25 games decided by a single goal, including 3-2 margins in each of the last three games. Eight of those games were decided in overtime or a shootout.
  • The Sabres are 8-6 all-time in shootouts against the Senators. Their 14 shootouts against Ottawa make up the team's highest total against any opponent.


  • Sam Reinhart has totaled 23 points (9+14) in his last 23 games.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has 24 points (6+18) in his last 30 games dating back to Dec. 29. Ristolainen's 24 points during that span ranked tied-seventh among NHL defensemen after last night's game.
  • Ryan O'Reilly has recorded 12 points (3+9) in his last 12 games.
  • Jason Pominville has totaled seven points (2+5) in his last seven games.

Today in Sabres history

1972: Rene Robert makes his Buffalo Sabres debut in a 6-3 loss at California.
1991: Dale Hawerchuk scores in a 5-3 loss to Chicago, becoming the 31st NHL player to reach the 1,000-point mark.

Bogo's Kan Jam event is Saturday

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: Get your limited edition @TheBogoBunch KanJam hat, signed by @BogosianZach and @JackEichel15 -


Announcing Academy of Hockey summer camps

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: The #Sabres Hockey School, powered by @AcademyOfHockey, is now open for registration.�� 2.5 hours of ice daily�� daily off ice training & skills/activity�� 5 to 1 player to coach ratio�� appearances by alumni & SabretoothRegister here ������

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