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Sharpen Up: November 20, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Buffalo's four-game homestand continues tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets. We'll have full morning skate coverage for you today and we'll keep you up to date when the GMC Game Night pregame show kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on MSG. Faceoff is scheduled for just after 7 on MSG and WGR 550. 

Here's what you need to know.


Looking to rebound from Saturday

Video: BUF Recap: Kane's goal not enough in 3-1 loss

A 1-1 tie in the third period turned into a 3-1 Carolina victory on Saturday. Buffalo thought they had taken the lead 10 seconds after they had tied the game on Evander Kane's second goal of the night. But upon review, it was determined that Kane kicked the puck into the net and the goal was overturned.

Tweet from @PR_NHL: #HockeyOps explains "no goal" video review at 7:43 of the third period in the @NHLCanes/@BuffaloSabres game. #CARvsBUF

From the Lexus Postgame Report

Video: Phil Housley Postgame

"It's a 1-1 game late in the third period," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "We battled back in the game, but we make a mistake and it ends up in our net. I think the bottom line is they took advantage of our mistakes and we didn't take advantage of theirs."

Sebastian Aho scored the game-winning goal for Carolina with 5:15 remaining in regulation, followed by an empty-net tally from Joakim Nordstrom with 40.9 seconds on the clock. Justin Williams also scored a goal to put Carolina on the board late in the second period.

Video: Justin Falk Postgame

To Housley's point, the Sabres saw several chances of their own go unfulfilled throughout the night. Jordan Nolan and Johan Larsson were unable to convert on breakaways, while Kyle Okposo and Jack Eichel both saw point-blank opportunities stopped by Carolina goalie Scott Darling.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, capitalized when given the opportunity. Williams scored after exiting the penalty box upon the conclusion of a Buffalo power play, carrying the puck on a 2-on-1 rush until he faked a pass across the net, stepped back and shot across the body of Sabres goalie Chad Johnson.

Video: Evander Kane Postgame

Aho's goal came after a puck bounced over defenseman Justin Falk's stick in the defensive zone, freeing the Carolina forward with a clear path to the net.

Johnson ended his night having allowed two goals on 32 shots.

"They flipped the puck," Justin Falk said. "When I went to go pick it up it had landed and I thought it had settled enough to trust picking it up with my stick. Soon as I went to go for it, the puck went over. Bad break."

Video: Chad Johnson Postgame

"We've had our chances, but we definitely need to generate more offense," Kane said. "As a team, a lot of that has to do with execution, a lot of that has to do with taking the puck to the net instead of playing along the perimeter. I think we play along the perimeter way too much."

Buffalo is now 0-3-2 in its last five games.

"It is testing my patience," Housley said. "I thought the last game in Detroit was really the end of my wick as far as being patient and making some adjustments and addressing that … I still feel that we're not all on the same page and we're going to continue to work on that."

Tonight's action against Columbus

From the Game Notes….

  • This is the second of three meetings between the Sabres and Blue Jackets this season.
  • Last meeting: Columbus defeated Buffalo 5-1 in Columbus on Oct. 25.
  • The Sabres are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games vs. Blue Jackets; 4-5-1 at home
  • The Sabres are 6-7-1 at home against the Blue Jackets all-time.


  • Ryan O'Reilly has seven points in eight games so far in November. With a multi-point game tonight, he would be on track for his first point-per-game month since April 2016.
  • Robin Lehner is 2-2-1 in six appearances at home this season with a .952 save percentage and a 1.49 goals-against average.
  • Lehner is 5-2-0 in his career against the Blue Jackets with a .951 save percentage and a 1.81 goals-against average.


  • Evander Kane has nine points (5+4) in his last nine games against Columbus, dating back to the beginning of the 2013-14 season.
  • Matt Moulson has totaled six points (2+4) in his last six games against the Blue Jackets.
  • Kyle Okposo has seven points (3+4) in his last seven games against Columbus.
  • Jack Eichel has totaled six points (2+4) in seven career games against Columbus.


Hockey Fights Cancer highlights

It was certainly a memorable night at KeyBank Center with all of the events centered around Hockey Fights Cancer Night presented by the Courage of Carly Fund at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

(And be sure to bid on the special Hockey Fights Cancer warmup jerseys here!) 

Here are some of the touching moments that took place at KeyBank Center during the game and on the broadcast.

Video: Hockey Fights Cancer Faceoff 2017

Video: RJ on Hockey Fights Cancer Night

Video: Dr. Candace Johnson Interview 

Video: Courage of Carly Fund's Impact

 Video: Players "Fight For" Part 1

 Video: Players "Fight For" Part 2

Video: Players "Fight For" Part 3 

Video: Players "Fight For" Part 4 

Video: Players "Fight For" Part 5 

You can find a lot more at

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