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Sharpen Up: October 12, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

Tonight will mark Evander Kane's 500th NHL game if he plays tonight, as he's expected to. Buffalo is in San Jose tonight to begin their four-game road trip on the West Coast. 

Here's what you need to know.

Kane is coming off back-to-back two-goal games. With a multi-goal game tonight, he would become the first player to log three consecutive multi-goal games for the Sabres since Ales Kotalik did so from Jan. 4 to 10, 2003. He has five goals in nine career games against the Sharks. 

The Sabres have had a multi-goal scorer in each of their first three games of the season (Pominville and then Kane twice), marking the first time the team has had a player score at least two goals in three straight games since Nov. 28 to Dec. 4, 2015.

With a multi-goal game tonight, the team will have a multi-goal scorer in four straight games for the first time since March 12 to 19, 2013.


Wednesday's practice

If Kane is going to have continued success, it will likely be with new linemates. 

Here's how the team practiced on Wednesday:

28 Zemgus Girgensons - 15 Jack Eichel - 29 Jason Pominville
9 Evander Kane - 90 Ryan O'Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo
67 Benoit Pouliot - 22 Johan Larsson - 23 Sam Reinhart
25 Seth Griffith - 10 Jacob Josefson - 17 Jordan Nolan

6 Marco Scandella - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
82 Nathan Beaulieu - 5 Matt Tennyson 
4 Josh Gorges - 19 Jake McCabe
93 Victor Antipin - 26 Matt Moulson

Duffer has more on that in yesterday's Sabres Now:

Video: Sabres Now (10/11/17)


From Jourdon's Ice Level Practice Report:

One notable change at forward was the swapping of Kane for Girgensons on the left wing alongside Eichel. Kane has been the team's most productive scorer thus far with four goals in three games, and his speed could inject some life on a line alongside O'Reilly and Okposo, both of whom have been kept off the scoresheet so far this season.

The other most notable change is the move for Reinhart from center to the wing. Reinhart has moved back-and-forth between the two positions throughout his young NHL career, but had played exclusively at center since the start of training camp.

Video: HOUSLEY: After Practice

Reinhart admitted he's been fighting the puck this season, and said his focus is on making quicker decisions and moving his feet faster on the puck. 

"I'm just going to try to relax and have fun," Reinhart said. "There's so many things going on. I know I'm not the only one when I'm saying I'm fighting the puck a little bit. I've just got to relax down low, find my game and that's what I'm going to look to do."

Defensively, the pairing of Antipin with Moulson as a fourth unit suggested they could be scratched for Buffalo's game in San Jose on Thursday. That would open the door for Gorges, a healthy scratch in all three games thus far, to make his debut.

Zach Bogosian, who is dealing with a lower-body injury, was not expected to make the trip. 


From the Game Notes (Thanks for everything @SabresPR)

  • This is the first of two meetings between the Sabres and Sharks this season.
  • Last meeting: San Jose defeated Buffalo 4-1 in San Jose on March 14
  • Next meeting: Saturday, Oct. 28 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Sharks; 6-3-1 on the road
  • This is the 38th game all-time between Buffalo and San Jose; Buffalo has a 24-7-6 series record.
  • The Sabres are 7-6-5 on the road against the Sharks all-time.


A little #ThrowbackThursday for you

 

Another big day for 500. Also, on this day back in 1989, Mike Foligno appeared in his 500th Sabres game. The former captain would finish his Sabres career with 664 games played, tying Ric Seiling for 10th-most in franchise history.


On tap today 

The Sabres are set to take the at around 2:15 p.m. ET today. We'll have a full Morning Skate Report for you today from San Jose as well as Game Preview from Dan

RJ and Rayzor have the call just after 10:30 p.m. Be sure to join us for the GMC Game Night pregame show with Duffer and Petey starting at 10 p.m. on MSG.  

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