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Sharpen Up: November 9, 2016

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Good morning, America (and Canada and France and Sweden and wherever else you may be reading from - maybe even "Good afternoon"). For your entertainment, the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators will play a hockey game tonight at 7:30 p.m. at KeyBank Center.'s coverage starts with the morning skate and we'll carry you through the day up to the TOPS Gamenight pregame show at 7 p.m. on MSG.

The Sabres were off yesterday after a loss to the Bruins on Monday night. They face a Senators opponent they're going to get pretty familiar with. 

Buffalo won a 2-1 game in Ottawa on Saturday, backed by a big game from goaltender Robin Lehner. They'll face the Sens again in Ottawa on Nov. 29. The Sabres are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Senators; 4-3-3 at home.

With a win tonight, the Sabres would have three consecutive wins against the Senators for the first time since they won six in a row from Dec. 4, 2010 to Nov. 11, 2011.


Some other positive notes

Buffalo ranks second in the NHL in faceoff percentage (54.1%). It's in large part to Ryan O'Reilly, who is ranked second in the NHL in faceoffs won (180) and ninth among players with at least 100 faceoffs in win percentage (61.0%). He finished in the top 10 in both categories in 2015-16.

O'Reilly is also second among all NHL forwards with an average ice time of 22:16 per game entering play Tuesday. O'Reilly finished the 2015-16 season ranked first among forwards with 21:44 of ice time per game and has averaged 20:46 per game since the beginning of the 2014-15 season, leading all NHL forwards during that time frame.

The Sabres' power play is 8-for-39 (20.5%) on the season, ranking 10th in the league.


Numbers game

We'll have to see which goaltender will play tonight, but both of Buffalo's netminders have good numbers against Ottawa. 

Robin Lehner is 2-0-1 in four appearances against his former club with a .953 save percentage and a 1.41 goals-against average. Anders Nilsson is 1-1-0 with a .940 save percentage and a 2.02 goals-against average in two career games against the Senators.


Military Appreciation Night set for Friday

It'll be another special night off the ice Friday when Buffalo welcomes New Jersey to town. The annual event will be dedicated to honoring both current and former members of our nation's armed forces and will feature several tributes throughout the night.

Sabres players will wear special camouflage jerseys during warm-ups. The jerseys will be auctioned on from Nov. 11 following the game to Nov. 20 at 9 p.m., and proceeds will benefit the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.

The Buffalo Sabres Foundation, in continuing its effort to support local military organizations, will be donating a total of $10,000 to the Veterans One-stop Center, WNY Heroes, the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, and the Altamont Homeless Veterans Program. 

Sabres players will visit the VA Hospital and the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park on Thursday, Nov. 10.

Sabres captain Brian Gionta will host children of military families in his suite. Those military members will be invited down for a meet-and-greet with the players following the game. 

The Sabres will also donate more than 150 tickets to members of the Veterans One-stop Center and the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park. Fans will have an opportunity to sign thank you boards during the game. The boards will be located on the 100 Level at the top of the escalators and will be sent to military personnel.

Check out more info on what will be happening here. Tickets are on sale now and be sure to click here for a special $25 ticket offer for Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard, Veteran and Retired Military personnel.


Way Beyond Blue and Gold

Michelle Girardi Zumwalt checked in with us for the first time this season yesterday. She's a senior producer over at Pegula Sports and Entertainment and oversees Beyond Blue and Gold, our award-winning 

GZ shared some thoughts on what it was like to film our first episode of the new season, which followed Kim Pegula around during the NHL Draft this summer. You can read that and check out the full episode here.


On tap today

We'll have coverage of the morning skate and Jourdon LaBarber (with the written word) and Dan Dunleavy (with the video preview) today. Then stick around for full highlights and postgame reaction. 

 We'll also have a new edition of #Duffalo from Brian Duff today.


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