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Sharpen Up: October 28, 2016

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Last night was a special night at KeyBank Center as we celebrated Hockey Fights Cancer Night. On the ice, things didn't go as well. The Sabres fell behind early and ended up losing 4-0 to the Minnesota Wild.

Here's what you need to know.

If you missed any of the pregame ceremony, it was certainly moving and inspirational. Dan Zotara and Colleen Williams, two Roswell Park Cancer Institute patients took the ice for a ceremonial faceoff. Dan rang a bell - a custom at Roswell Park - at center ice to signify the end of his treatment. 

You can watch it here:

Video: Hockey Fights Cancer Pregame Ceremony

There were some smiles after the game. Young Roswell Park patients and their families were able to meet the players outside of the locker room for some photos and a meet and greet. Here are some of Bill Wippert's photos capturing those special moments. 

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: Hockey is about more than a game.We're spending time with @RoswellPark patients postgame. #HockeyFightsCancer

All of our Hockey Fights Cancer coverage can be found here, including an in-game interview with Jack Eichel about his Shine Gold apparel line, which benefits Carly's Club. There is so much good and heartfelt stuff in there so we encourage you to check it all out. 

Game recap

Video: BUF Recap: Despite 38 shots, Sabres fall to Wild, 4-0
The Sabres fell behind early and couldn't climb back into the game. Devan Dubnyk made 38 saves to earn the shutout. He turned aside 19 Sabres shots in the second period alone. 

Needless to say, the Sabres weren't pleased with the result. 

Video: BYLSMA: Postgame Interview vs. MIN

Video: GIONTA: Postgame Interview


A few noteworthy notes…

Rasmus Ristolainen, playing on his 22nd birthday, became the fourth-youngest Sabre to ever dress in his 200th NHL game (thanks, Elias Sports Bureau). He led all Sabres (as he usually does) with 26:43 of ice time. If you're wondering, Pierre Turgeon at 20 years, 136 days was the youngest and Phil Housley (20 years, 343 days) and Tom Barrasso (21 years, 360 days) are sandwiched between Turgeon and Risto. 

Buffalo set season-highs for shots in a game (38) and in a period (19 in the second).

Tyler Ennis tied his career-high for shots in a game with nine. The last time he did that was on Feb. 14, 2014 against Ottawa. 

Video: ENNIS: Postgame Interview

Anders Nilsson made 18 saves on 21 shots in his second-straight start. Robin Lehner missed the game due to illness.

Congrats (again) to Ripper

Last night marked our first home game since equipment manager Rip Simonick hit the 3,500-game milestone. Before the game, he was honored in the locker room with a golden stick. 

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: Congrats to Equipment Mgr. Rip Simonick on 3,500 @NHL games, all with the Sabres. Presented with a golden stick.

During the game, a few of the people whose lives he's impacted at the rink shared some thoughts on the video board about Rip and his illustrious career.

Video: Congrats to Rip on 3,500 games!

On tap today

Buffalo is back on the ice for practice this morning. We'll catch up with the players and coaches in an Ice Level Practice Report by Jourdon LaBarber and a Sabres In :90 video recap by Brian Duff and our extra-talented videographers. 

There will also be a special press conference at the arena today at 4 p.m. as USA Hockey and the Sabres are set to make a few major announcements regarding the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. You can watch it live on NHL Network. 

Then we'll be back with an early morning edition of Sharpen Up tomorrow as the Sabres get ready for their 1 p.m. faceoff against the Florida Panthers at KeyBank Center.

After the game, they'll fly out to Winnipeg because they play the Jets on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET. Stay with us as we'll give you full pregame and postgame reports from the road.  

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