Video: Sabres Now (11/9/17)
Evander Kane enters tonight's game with nine goals in his first 15 games played this season. With a goal tonight, Kane would be off to the quickest start to career, topping his mark of 10 goals in his first 22 games in 2011-12.
Jourdon has more on Kane's stellar start in the Ice Level Practice Report.
Here's a sampling:
He's on pace to shatter the career-high 30 goals he scored at age 20 back in 2011-12, and he's three goals ahead of any other Sabre this season.
Any evaluation of Kane's current run, however, should start on Dec. 3, 2016. That's when he scored his first goal of last season, after cracked ribs forced him to miss all of October and then lingering discomfort kept his name off the score sheet for all of November.
Since scoring in the third period of that game against Boston, Kane has been among the NHL's most consistent goal scorers. His 37 goals in that span tie him for fourth in the NHL, six behind Nikita Kucherov's league-leading mark of 43. His 30 goals at even strength ranks second to Auston Matthews.
The key to the carry over, he said, is simple.
"It's the first time in four years I've played the first 15 games," Kane said.
Video: Phil Housley (11/9/17)
While there is a lot of season left to play, his health thus far has translated to results. At his current pace, he'd score 49 goals in 82 games.
"I want to prove that I'm an elite player in this league," he said. "You can't just do it for one year, you've got to continue to do it year after year."
Being on the ice consistently has helped, but so has being on the ice with the same center. Kane has played this season almost exclusively on a line with Jack Eichel, and both players have said that their chemistry is at an all-time high.
Chemistry is particularly important with a pair of players like Eichel and Kane, both of whom have unique tendencies that come along with their offensive ability. Kane literally shoots more than any player in the league; his 304 shots since Dec. 3 of last season ranks atop the NHL.
Eichel, meanwhile, can make feeds that few other players in the NHL can. His passes can be so deceptive, in fact, that being on the other end of them can take some getting used to.
"He does such a good job of faking other guys out, sometimes he fakes his own linemates out," Kane said. "He fakes me out. I'm like, 'Oh, I thought you were going to pass that so I went to that hole,' then he hangs onto it or he toe drags a guy. So I think it's just the timing. That's probably the biggest thing we're trying to work on. I think the more we play, the more we're going to trust each other on the ice."
We'll have full coverage for you this morning. Jourdon will have the written Morning Skate Report and Dan will provide you with the Game Preview video.
The Sabres are 2-0-1 against Atlantic division opponents so far this season. After winning both meetings at KeyBank Center last season, the Sabres have a chance to earn wins in three straight visits from the Panthers for the first time since Feb. 10, 2008 to March 25, 2009.
The Panthers are one of five NHL teams (excluding the Sabres) that Jack Eichel has not yet recorded a goal against.
Robin Lehner is 2-1-1 in five appearances at home this season with a .956 save percentage and a 1.37 goals-against average.
Jason Pominville has totaled 38 points (15+23) in 38 career games against Florida, making them one of three NHL teams he's recorded at least a point per game against in his career. Vegas (two points in two games) and Tampa Bay (39 points in 37 games) are the others.
Pominville currently has points in three straight games against the Panthers, including two-point games in both meetings last season.
- Ryan O'Reilly has 15 points (6+9) in his last 14 games against the Panthers, including points in 11 of those contests and four two-point games.
- Sam Reinhart has eight points (5+3) in his last seven games against the Panthers.
- Nathan Beaulieu has four assists in his last four games against Florida.
- Nathan Redmond has two assist in two career games against the Panthers, both of which came in his first career multi-point game on Feb. 5, 2013.
- Taylor Fedun scored his first career goal against Florida in his only previous meeting with the team.
Benoit Pouliot enters tonight's game with five goals in his last seven games.
The Sabres are 4-0-0 when he scores and 5-0-0 when he records a point this season. Three of his five goals have been game-winning goals and three have been lasting-lead goals*.
His three lasting-lead goals* tied him for third-most in the league entering play Thursday, trailing only Evgeni Malkin and Jaden Schwartz (four each). His three game-winning goals tied him for sixth.
*Lasting-Lead Goal: A goal scored during a tied game that gives the scorer's team a lead that it never relinquishes.
More details on Military Appreciation Night
The annual event is dedicated to honoring both current and former members of our nation's armed forces and will feature several tributes throughout the night.
The first 15,000 fans in attendance will receive a Sabres-themed military dog tag.
As a salute to the military, Sabres players will wear special camouflage jerseys during warm-ups. The jerseys will be auctioned on Sabres.com/auctions from Wednesday, Nov. 8 starting at 5 p.m. to Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m., and proceeds will benefit the Buffalo Sabres Foundation, which consistently supports veterans programs.
Sabres alternate captains Ryan O'Reilly and Zach Bogosian will donate a suite to members of the Coast Guard for the game. Those Coast Guard members will be invited down for a meet-and-greet with the players following the game. The Sabres will also donate more than 200 tickets and an additional five suites to military organizations. Sabres players will also do a meet-and-greet with children of military families after their morning skate, families will also be invited to the game.
The Sabres will offer all active, reserve, National Guard and retired military personnel the opportunity to purchase tickets in the Buffalo Creek 300 Level for $25.
These tickets can be ordered at Sabres.com/Military.
Military members will also receive a 25 percent discount at the Sabres Store the day of the game.
Before the game, the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station will display military vehicles in Alumni Plaza. The Blue Aces Air Force band will play pre-game in the 100 level pavilion and lead singer, Christina Bagley, will perform the anthems.
The Buffalo Sabres Foundation also sponsored a Sabres Military Appreciation trip to Washington D.C. With help from Veterans One-Stop Center, the Sabres took veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to tour the Washington D.C. monuments and Arlington National Cemetery on Monday. Accompanying the veterans on the trip were Sabres alumni Danny Gare and Rene Robert. We'll have more on that in the coming days.
Sabres players also visited the Coast Guard Station on Furhmann Boulevard after practice yesterday.
The Buffalo Sabres Foundation will also be donating $7,500 to the Buffalo Blues Benefit for Veterans at the Cove on Saturday, Nov. 25 from 8-9 p.m. Sabres alumni will be in attendance for the benefit. Tickets to the benefit are $10 at the door and more information can be found at Buffaloblues.org. All proceeds for the Buffalo Blues Benefit for Veterans will go to the WNY Veterans Housing Coalition.
In addition to Military Appreciation Night, the Sabres are hosting two programs throughout the 2017-18 season to honor local military members. Matt Moulson will continue to host a veteran each home game with free seats as part of the Tickets for Troops program. The Original Pizza Logs are also donating tickets and honoring a local veteran on the ice during the national anthems at each home game. Military members can sign up for the programs here.