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Sharpen Up: November 24, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

The Edmonton Oilers are in town tonight as they continue a five-game road trip that concludes on Sunday. Buffalo is looking to snap a seven-game winless streak and may be getting healthier on the blue line.

They assigned Casey Nelson to the Rochester Americans this morning, which may mean one of the injured blueliners is ready to return to the lineup.

Here's what you need to know.


From yesterday's practice report

Video: Sabres Now (11/23/17)

The Sabres held a team meeting and an optional skate at KeyBank Center on Thursday morning. Injured defensemen Zach Bogosian, Rasmus Ristolainen and Matt Tennyson skated for the second day in a row along with a group that included Evander Kane, Matt Moulson and Kyle Criscuolo, among others.

Coach Phil Housley said Wednesday that Ristolainen was nearing a return to the lineup, but Bogosian, who has been out since training camp, said he expects to need a few full practices before seeing game action.

Postgame comments following a 5-4 loss to Minnesota for the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night included a call from some veteran players for increased accountability in the dressing room. It's that same brutal honesty, players said Thursday, that the team hopes will lead them out of their current 0-5-2 rut.

"I think we have a better idea of what we need to do," alternate captain Ryan O'Reilly said. "We can think about it as much as we want, but it comes down to that game and the next game doing it. It's something that we're all focused on.

"It was a good reflection meeting. I feel, to a man, everyone knows a little bit more what we need to do and how to change."

The problem for the Sabres, according to players and coach Phil Housley alike, has been their tendency to deviate from their game plan when things don't go their way in a game. Whether it's a bad habit or a sign that the team needs the more mental toughness, the players still believe it can be corrected.

"At the end of the day you can sit here and talk about it but you've got to go out there and you've got to show up and you've got to be ready for that," forward Sam Reinhart said. "I think there's one part of that being physically ready to play, which at times can be easier than being mentally ready. 

"I think we've got to have that mindset that whatever's thrown at you throughout the game to stick with the game plan."

Kyle Okposo's comments are particularly worth checking out:

Video: OKPOSO: Interview

From @SabresPR's Game Notes

  • The Sabres are 9-4-1 with a plus-17 goal differential (48-31) in their last 14 games against Edmonton.
  • With a win tonight, the Sabres will have defeated the in three straight meetings for the first time since Buffalo won each of the six matchups between the teams from Jan. 16, 2006 to Jan. 3, 2012.


  • Kyle Okposo has tallied 10 points (6+4) in 10 career games against Edmonton.
  • Robin Lehner is 2-1-1 in four career games against the Oilers with a .934 save percentage and a 1.97 goals-against average.
  • Ryan O'Reilly has 23 points (9+14) in his last 20 games against the Oilers. He enters tonight's game on a five-game point streak against the Oilers (5+6) that includes three multi-point games.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has eight points (2+6) in seven career games against the Oilers, including three points in both matchups last season.
  • Four other Sabres have a point in each of their last two games against Edmonton: Jake McCabe (0+2), Matt Moulson (1+1), Jason Pominville (0+2) and Benoit Pouliot (0+2)

On this day in 1986…

Gilbert Perreault announces his retirement from the NHL and Lindy Ruff is selected to serve as the sixth captain in franchise history.

Coming up today

We'll have full coverage of the morning skate as we'll let you know who's in and who's out tonight. Then stick with us for the GMC Game Night pregame show starting at 6:30 p.m. on MSG. Faceoff is set for just after 7 on MSG and WGR 550. 


And today at the Sabres Store...

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: Today only at the @SabresStore.

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