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Sharpen Up: November 8, 2018

Here's what you need to know before Buffalo faces Montreal tonight

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

The Sabres are in Montreal tonight for a game against the Canadiens. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on MSG and WGR 550, but join us first for the GMC Game Night pregame show at 7 on MSG.

Our coverage really kicks off with our Morning Skate Report here on so check in later for that.

Here's what you need to know. 


Tonight's matchup

From the Game Notes... Thanks, @SabresPR!

  • This is the second of four meetings between the Sabres and Canadiens this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Montreal 4-3 in Buffalo on Oct. 25
  • Next meeting: Friday, Nov. 23 in Buffalo


  • The Sabres have recorded at least 40 shots in five of their last seven games, including each of their last three. It's the first time the team has done so in three consecutive games since March 20 to 25, 2009. With 40 shots tonight, they would extend that streak to four games for the first time since Jan. 19 to 26, 1975.


  • After their 4-3 win the last time these teams met, the Sabres are seeking wins in consecutive matchups with the Canadiens for the first time since Feb. 3 and 12, 2016.
  • Conor Sheary is expected to appear in his 200th NHL game tonight.
  • Patrik Berglund has six points (4+2) in his last six games against the Canadiens.
  • Jeff Skinner has recorded 15 points (9+6) in 16 games against Montreal since the beginning of the 2013-14 season. Jason Pominville has totaled 11 points (9+2) in 12 games against the Canadiens during the same span.


  • Carter Hutton has appeared in five career games against Montreal, posting a 2-0-2 record with a .931 save percentage and a 1.79 goals-against average.
  • Linus Ullmark stopped 21 of 22 shots (.954) in his only previous meeting with the Canadiens.

Wednesday's practice

Video: Sabres Now (11/7/18)

There's a lot of talk about the Swedish connections within the Sabres organization, but yesterday, we took a look at the Minnesota connections…  

There's an inside joke in the Buffalo Sabres' dressing room about the guys from Minnesota. We'll let Casey Mittelstadt explain.

"I think if you're from Minnesota, you love Minnesota more than anything," Mittelstadt said after practice on Wednesday. "It's pretty much what it comes down to. All the guys make fun of us, but we talk it about how good it is. It's kind of a joke in the locker room but I think we're serious."

It's a sentiment shared by Mittelstadt and Kyle Okposo, two natives of the St. Paul area who just happen to sit next to each other in the Sabres room. Both players attended the University of Minnesota under coach Don Lucia. Both were top-10 picks who came into the NHL as 19-year-olds.  

Come to think of it, maybe their arrangement in the dressing room isn't just a matter of coincidence. The Sabres resituated the locations of players' stalls prior to this season, spreading their veteran leaders out and placing them alongside younger players. Okposo fell between Mittelstadt and Evan Rodrigues. 

Video: HOUSLEY: After Practice

They certainly have no shortage of things to talk about. Okposo laughed when asked what he's learned about his young teammate.

"He's just a fun-loving guy," Okposo said. "He's got a good head on his shoulders. He's confident in his abilities, which makes him really good. He's really slippery as a player. Just as a person, he's young, he's a young guy. He's got a lot of growing up to do. 

"Playing in the NHL at 19, that's not easy. I was right there in the same position. He's going to come into his own, but he's got a lot of guys around him to help him do that."

Okposo recalls how helpful it was to have veterans at his side when he broke into the league with the New York Islanders. Guys like Richard Park, Doug Weight and Bill Guerin helped him learn to deal with the highs and lows of an 82-game season. 

Mittelstadt credits Okposo with having that same kind of presence.

"I think he's been through a lot of the same things I have," Mittelstadt said. "He's been really good. I think overall as a group, all the veterans have been really good, but I think he's definitely gone out of his way to check on me and make sure I'm doing OK, help out with things."

You can read the full story here.

Amerks win in Buffalo

Watch: Youtube Video

From the Game Recap…

Justin Bailey and Wayne Simpson each scored twice as the Rochester Americans (9-3-1-0) came away with a 5-2 victory over the Cleveland Monsters (7-5-1-0) Wednesday night at KeyBank Center in downtown Buffalo.

With the victory, Rochester now has a four-point lead over Cleveland for the top spot in the American Hockey League's North Division standings while the Amerks have collected 19 of a possible 22 points in their last 11 contests.

In addition to Bailey and Simpson each scoring twice, veteran defenseman Zach Redmond recorded his ninth marker of the season for the Amerks, who dating back to the start of the 2011-12 season, hold a 21-5-2-3 record in the season series. Goaltender Scott Wedgewood stopped 24 of 26 shots he faced to improve his record to 6-3-0.

The Amerks are back at The Blue Cross Arena for their lone contest of the weekend on Friday, Nov. 9 when they take on the intrastate rival Syracuse Crunch on Military Appreciation Night. 

As in years past, the team will again wear special Military-themed jerseys along with matching socks as a tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces. Game time is slated for 7:05 p.m. All of the action can be heard live on The Sports Leader AM 950/ 95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.

Military Appreciation Day is Saturday

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: On Saturday, we'll salute our military.We can't thank you enough for your service. 🇺Be there for Military Appreciation Day:

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