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Sharpen Up: November 29, 2016

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Jack Eichel could be back tonight. 

Here's what else you need to know.

And yes, there are other things you need to know.

Video: Sabres in :90 (11/28/16)

The Sabres are in Ottawa for a 7:30 p.m. faceoff against the Senators tonight. Our TOPS Gamenight pregame show starts at 7 p.m. on MSG and you can also listen to the game live on WGR 550. 

Eichel, who sprained his ankle in practice on the day before the season opener, traveled with the team to Ottawa. He'll take the morning skate today and if that goes as expected, he'll be in the lineup tonight for the first time this year.

From yesterday's Ice Level Practice Report:

Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said there is "a possibility" that Eichel can play on Tuesday, but added that it depends on how his body responds to another day of practice. The fact that he was on the ice following a physical practice day on Sunday was a positive sign.

"Jack looks good on the ice," Bylsma said. "I thought yesterday was a bigger test for him … He responded well to it, came back this morning feeling good about it and today he looks real good, his skating's good, he's beating guys, stepping off guys, creating room and separation. Looks good to me."

Video: BYLSMA: After Practice

As the clock ticks closer to his potential return, Eichel hopes he won't have to stay patient much longer.

"This is the toughest part, right? I mean, you've sat out for as long as you've have and now that you're getting this close to it, you feel like you can go any day now and the patience is starting to wear thin," Eichel said. "But you've got to make sure you're being smart."   


Here's how the line combinations looked in practice yesterday

26 Matt Moulson - 90 Ryan O'Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo
9 Evander Kane - 15 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart
82 Marcus Foligno - 22 Johan Larsson - 12 Brian Gionta
48 William Carrier - 27 Derek Grant - 28 Zemgus Girgensons

4 Josh Gorges - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
29 Jake McCabe - 6 Cody Franson  
41 Justin Falk - 38 Taylor Fedun

40 Robin Lehner
31 Anders Nilsson

Eichel was also out on the first power-play unit with O'Reilly, Okposo, Reinhart and Ristolainen. 

Video: EICHEL: After Practice

"That's the power play we never got to practice in preseason," Bylsma said. "Those are the guys we wanted on the ice and the unit we want to put out there and those are some reps for Jack to be in that spot, feel comfortable in those spots. We'll hopefully we'll see him in those spots soon."

That meant the second power play consisted of Gionta, Moulson, Kane, Fedun and Franson.

Eichel has missed 21 games and Buffalo is 7-9-5 with 19 points in that time. They are currently six points behind the Devils, who hold the second Wild Card spot.

Not to imply or predict anything, but Eichel's first career game was against Ottawa when this happened: 

Video: OTT@BUF: Eichel fires first NHL goal past Anderson


On tap today

We'll have full coverage of the morning skate as Jourdon LaBarber and Brian Duff are on the scene in Ottawa. Then Duffer, Brad May, Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray will get you ready for the game with the pregame show on MSG at 7 p.m. 

Also today, don't miss the second episode of our award-winning behind-the-scenes videos series Beyond Blue and Gold. Marcus Foligno gave our crew a tour of his hometown of Sudbury, Ontario, a place that holds a special place in his (and his family's) heart.

If you somehow missed the first episode of the season featuring Kim Pegula at the NHL Draft, here it is:

Video: BBG: Kim Pegula at the NHL Draft

We'll have our weekly Amerks Update for you today as well. Rochester played three games last week and they're back in action tomorrow in Utica.

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