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Sharpen Up: November 2, 2016

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

What a difference a week can make. Last week we were talking about…actually, let's not talk about that right now because there are fun things to discuss.

The Sabres won 2-1 in Minnesota last night for their third victory in a row. Ryan O'Reilly and Johan Larsson scored. Robin Lehner made 27 saves.

Here's what you need to know.

Video: Larsson's 3rd-period goal propels Sabres to 2-1 win

Larry's been clutch

Last season, Johan Larsson scored 10 goals - five of them were game winners. This year, he's already 2-for-2 on goals that proved to be the difference, including this tally last night.

Tweet from @SabresPR: With his 2nd GWG of the season, Johan Larsson now has seven GWGs since the beginning of 2015-16. Only 15 NHL players have more in that span.

Drive to the net and good things can happen. 

 Video: BUF@MIN: Larsson redirects Gionta's pass over Dubnyk

Video: LARSSON: Postgame Interview


Top line mojo

Buffalo's offense has been carried by three players who are now playing on the same line: Kyle Okposo, Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Moulson. Of Buffalo's 22 goals, they've accounted for 12 of them (four each).

Video: OREILLY: Postgame Interview
O'Reilly added to it with this goal last night. He leads the team with eight points and Okposo is right behind him with seven. Entering last night's game, the Wild had won three in a row - all in the form of shutouts. O'Reilly's goal snapped Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubnyk's individual franchise record shutout streak at 183:16. 

Video: BUF@MIN: O'Reilly knocks in loose puck for early lead

That line also got the job done at the end of the game, stuck on the ice for the final 2:34 of regulation, but, to quote Dan Bylsma, "they gutted it out." 

Video: BYLSMA: Postgame Interview


Goaltending's been great

The Sabres are now 4-3-2 on the year and through nine games, it's been tough to really pin any of those losses on the goaltending. 

Video: LEHNER: Postgame Interview

Anders Nilsson has been great between the pipes with a 1.96 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage in three games. 

And in his two-straight starts since recovering from an illness, Robin Lehner has been excellent, allowing two goals on 66 shots. He's 3-2-1 so far this season with a 2.34 GAA and a .921 save percentage. 

Video: BUF@MIN: Lehner stops Niederreiter at the doorstep


Bogosian injured

Zach Bogosian got his skate stuck in a rut and tweaked his knee so he had to leave the game in the first period after only five shifts, leaving the defensive corps to play a man down for most of the game. Bylsma did not have an update o Bogosian afterwards.

Jake McCabe, who skated 22:21, joined Brian Duff and Brad May on the postgame show.

Video: McCabe with Duffer and MayDay


On tap today

The team is off today, but they'll be back on the ice tomorrow to prepare for their home game tomorrow night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. We'll set you up for the match with the Morning Skate Report starting at 10 a.m. here at 

Tickets for the game are still available so don't miss out on the chance to be in the arena to experience the action.

Today, we'll also have Dan Dunleavy's first blog of the season. He'll share stories from his experience calling games at the World Cup of Hockey as well as some thoughts on where the Sabres are at so far this season.

And be on the lookout tomorrow for this season's first episode of Beyond Blue & Gold. We'll give you Kim Pegula's perspective from the NHL Draft, which we hosted this summer. 

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