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Sharpen Up: November 2, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

Stay up late with us tonight as the Sabres take on Arizona in the desert. Faceoff is scheduled for 10 p.m. with the GMC Game Night pregame show starting at 9:30 on MSG. 

Because of the Bills game (an 8:25 p.m. start against the Jets), the radio call of the Sabres game will be on ESPN 1520. 

Here's what you need to know.

Video: SABRES NOW (11/1/17)

Yesterday in the Ice Level Practice Report, Jourdon took a deep look at the success Buffalo's top line has had through the first 12 games this season. 

If you were to evaluate the top lines in the NHL from a productivity standpoint, it's hard to argue that the trio of Evander Kane, Jack Eichel and Jason Pominville has been among the League's best this season.

The three were together to start training camp in September, and while they haven't played together exclusively, they've been Buffalo's most consistent line in terms of both productivity and ice time. The trio also happens to be in a three-way tie for the Sabres lead with 12 points each. 

But they stack up well when looked at through a broader scope as well. According to corsica.hockey, the line has been on the ice for six goals at 5-on-5 strength this season. That mark ties them for 11th in the NHL with a handful of lines, including two they'll see on their upcoming road trip: Arizona's trio of Max Domi, Derek Stepan and Clayton Keller and Dallas' line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov. 

Video: Phil Housley After Practice (11/1/17)

Their six goals have come in 86.08 minutes of shared ice time. For comparison, Philadelphia's line of Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Jakub Voracek leads the NHL with 12 even-strength goals in 144.05. In fact, eight of the 10 lines that rank ahead of Kane, Eichel and Pominville have skated 115-plus minutes together.

"I think we've got some chances, I just think we need to capitalize better on them, myself included," Eichel said. "I'd like to see us be more consistent on a shift-to-shift basis of getting that sustained pressure in the offensive zone, continuing to successfully make our plays that we're trying to make. 

"It just takes time. You don't build chemistry overnight, you don t build it over the course of there week. It just takes time to figure out somebody's ins and outs of what they're thinking on the ice. I think we're trying to still do that now, and practice is a good time to get used to each other."

 

More on Eichel and Pominville from SabresPR's Game Notes

Eichel has totaled eight points (3+5) in four career games against Arizona, including at least a point in each game. It ties his best per-game output against any opponent, matching his total of two points in one career meeting with the Vegas Golden Knights.

Eichel has more than eight career points against just two NHL teams: Ottawa (10 points in seven games) and Toronto (nine points in seven games).

Pominville has 15 points (3+12) in his last 15 games against the Coyotes.


Who else has had success against the Coyotes?

Kyle Okposo has 10 points (3+7) in 10 career games against the Coyotes, who are one of eight teams Okposo has totaled at least a point per game against in his career (Anaheim, Arizona, Calgary, Dallas, Edmonton, Nashville, San Jose, Vancouver).

With two points tonight, Okposo's per-game output against the Coyotes would outpace his current best against any opponent (14 points in 12 games against San Jose).

Rasmus Ristolainen has six points (2+4) in six career matchups with Arizona. The Coyotes are one of three NHL teams that Ristolainen has tallied at least a point per game against in his career, joining Edmonton and Vegas.

With two points tonight, Ristolainen's per-game output against the Coyotes would match his current best against any opponent (eight points in seven games against Edmonton).

Chad Johnson is 5-2-0 in seven career games against Arizona with a .924 save percentage and a 1.95 goals-against average. The five wins are second only to his seven against Carolina for his highest total against any opponent.

Ryan O'Reilly has 13 points (5+8) in his last 13 games against the Coyotes.

Jordan Nolan scored three goals in three games against the Coyotes last season.

Jake McCabe had an assist in each of the team's meetings with the Coyotes last season.

 

On tap today

Stick with us for morning skate coverage later this afternoon. Will Justin Falk make his season debut? Will Nicholas Baptiste be in the lineup tonight? Who's starting in net? Jourdon and Dan will have all the answers here on Sabres.com.

And Go Bills.

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