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Sharpen Up: October 25, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak / Sabres.com

With a 1-0 victory last night against over Detroit, the Sabres have won back-to-back games and have picked up points in four of their last five contests.

Can they keep it going tonight? We'll find out as they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. It's an 8 p.m. faceoff on NBCSN. Dan and Rayzor have the radio call on WGR 550. 

Their next home game is Saturday at 1 p.m. against San Jose (it's also a Kids Day Game).

Here's what you need to know.

 

About last night

Video: Lehner, Sabres blank Red Wings, 1-0

The Sabres leaned on 32 saves from Robin Lehner, a goal from Benoit Pouliot and a more structured, disciplined game to record the win last night. 

From the Lexus Postgame Report by Jourdon:

It took some time, but it seems Buffalo Sabres are starting to reap the rewards of keeping it simple. It's what they did in their comeback victory in Boston on Saturday, and what they aimed to do at home against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.

For the most part, they stuck to the plan. The Sabres only scored one goal - from Benoit Pouliot with 10:15 remaining in the second period - but defended well, limited mistakes in transition and worked hard on the forecheck in a 1-0 victory.

There were chances against, of course, but Robin Lehner was good when he needed to be. He made 32 saves for his first shutout of the season, but said it was the team effort that allowed the Sabres to protect their one-goal lead for more than half the game.

Video: Postgame: LEHNER

"It means that we followed the game plan," Lehner said. "As I've said from day one, I think we have the right game plan. We've just got to do it. We got it deep, we flipped pucks out, we didn't force plays, and look at that third period."

Video: Postgame: HOUSLEY

"I think it's a good example of when you play the right way, you're not always going to get what you want," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "You're just going to have to take what's given and sometimes you're going to have to defend."

Video: Postgame: POULIOT

Housley said he liked the line of Pouliot, Ryan O'Reilly and Jason Pominville as a whole over the last two games and credited them with helping to shift the momentum in the first period.

"I think that line in general was really solid, two games in a row now," Housley said. "Ben provided some physicality. I think they were strong on the forecheck, they had really good wall play in our zone."


Tonight's matchup

From the invaluable Game Notes from the invaluable team at @SabresPR:

With wins in consecutive games for the first time this season, the Sabres are seeking their first three-game winning streak since Feb. 14 to 18.

Buffalo is 2-0-1 in its last three road games; a win tonight would give the Sabres points in four straight road games for the first time since the team went 1-0-3 on the road from Nov. 29 to Dec. 20, 2016.

After last night's shutout vs. Detroit, Robin Lehner enters tonight's game having played 91:35 without allowing a goal. If he plays 35:24 without allowing a goal tonight, he will match his career-best 126:59, set from March 30 to April 13, 2014.

With 11 points each, Jack Eichel, Evander Kane and Jason Pominville all finished last night's game tied for eighth in the league in scoring.

Pominville entered finished last night's game ranked third in the league with five multi-point games. Eichel (four, T-4th) and Kane (three, T-14th) also ranked in the top 15.

Kane has nine points (5+4) in his last eight games against the Blue Jackets while Eichel has totaled six points (2+4) in six career games against Columbus.

Lehner is 5-2-0 in seven career games against Columbus with a .951 save percentage and a 1.81 goals-against average. 

Stick with us to see which goaltender Housley will call on to start tonight.

***

Also today, we'll be keeping the family, friends and colleagues of Buffalo Police Officer Craig Lehner in our thoughts and prayers as his funeral will be held at KeyBank Center this morning.

Video: Sabres remember Buffalo officer Craig Lehner

 

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