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Sharpen Up: November 1, 2016

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

The Sabres are back at it tonight with a game in Minnesota. Buffalo will be looking for its third win in a row. Our coverage starts during the morning skate at 12:30 p.m. ET. The puck drops at 8 p.m. on MSG but join us first for the pregame show starting at 7:30.

Here's what you need to know.


A familiar opponent

The Sabres last saw the Wild on Thursday, when Minnesota skated out of Buffalo with a 4-0 win. 

Minnesota's last three games?
Win: 5-0 in Boston on Oct. 25
Win: 4-0 in Buffalo on Thursday
Win: 4-0 at home against Dallas on Saturday

Yeah, they've been hot. Devan Dubnyk has been in net for all three of those games. He's 5-1-1 on the year with a 1.43 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage.

But Buffalo has been much better since their last game against the Wild. They beat Florida 3-0 on Saturday (Anders Nilsson picked up the shutout) and won 3-1 in Winnipeg on Sunday (Robin Lehner made 37 saves).

Kyle Okposo and his line with Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Moulson have stepped up in a big way and they expect more offense to come. Jourdon LaBarber has more on that in yesterday's Ice Level Practice Report.

Video: BYLSMA: After Practice

And maybe some good news for the Sabres? The road team has won 14 of the 19 games all-time between the Sabres and Wild, including each of the last four.


Injury update

Hudson Fasching missed practice yesterday after exiting Sunday's game early with a groin injury. Bylsma considered Fasching day-to-day when asked about his status this morning on WGR 550, but he will not play tonight. Bylsma confirmed that Justin Bailey has been recalled, so he will be in the lineup tonight for the first time this season. 

Bailey has three goals and an assist in seven games for the Amerks this year. 

With 45 points (20+25) for the Americans in his first professional season in 2015-16, the Buffalo native tallied more goals, assists and points for Rochester than any other skater. He played in eight NHL games for the Sabres last year. 


Empty netters

If you stuck around until the end of Sunday's game, you know Buffalo had no less than six chances at an empty net to close out the 3-1 game. So what did the Sabres work on during practice yesterday? You guessed it…hitting the open cage.

Brian Duff asked the room, "Which one player would you trust to score on an empty net?"

Video: Sabres in :90 (10/31/16)
Poor Moose.


On tap today

The same, full gameday coverage you've come to love and expect: Freshly shaven Jourdon has your Morning Skate Report after the team's practice today. Duffer will have a video preview for you shortly thereafter. 

The TOPS Gamenight pregame show starts at 7:30 p.m. on MSG and RJ and Rayzor will have the call shortly after 8 p.m. from Xcel Energy Center.

Also on, the weekly Amerks Update will be coming your way. 

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