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Sharpen Up: October 29, 2016

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

We're back on the ice for a game today. The Florida Panthers are in town and the Sabres are hoping to snap their current 0-2-2 skid. 

Our pregame coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. with TOPS Sabres Gamenight and then it's gametime with puck drop at 1 p.m. on MSG, all produced by our amazing and dedicated broadcast team. 

Here's what you need to know.

Video: Preview of first meeting between Sabres and Panthers

The Sabres will look to build off their second period of Tuesday's game, in which they outshot the Wild 19-4 in the second period and held a 31-11 edge in shot attempts that period.

"Pretty much every aspect of the second period was our best," Bylsma said yesterday. "…We've had three periods with 11 scoring chances or 10 scoring chances so far this season, and that was the most dominant period of hockey we've played."

Dan Bylsma confirmed this morning that Anders Nilsson will start his third game in a row between the pipes. Robin Lehner will serve as the backup. Linus Ullmark has been reassigned to Rochester, but will not join the Amerks in time for their game in St. John's tonight.

The Sabres will go with the same 12 forwards and six defensemen today.

Here's how the team practiced yesterday:

26 Matt Moulson - 90 Ryan O'Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo
82 Marcus Foligno - 22 Johan Larsson - 12 Brian Gionta
63 Tyler Ennis - 23 Sam Reinhart - 28 Zemgus Girgensons
52 Hudson Fasching - 27 Derek Grant - 44 Nicolas Deslauriers

4 Josh Gorges - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
77 Dmitry Kulikov - 47 Zach Bogosian
29 Jake McCabe - 6 Cody Franson
34 Casey Nelson

Lehner returned to practice yesterday. He's missed the last two games with an illness and said he felt ready to go, although the plan was for him to wait to play in Winnipeg on Sunday afternoon. This morning, Bylsma would not confirm that plan.

Video: Sabres in :90 (10/28/16)


Notes for today

Today's game opens up Buffalo's first of a league-high 19 sets of back-to-back games this season, which continues tomorrow afternoon in Winnipeg. The Sabres were 6-9-0 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 6-7-2 in the second game last season. Buffalo's point breakdown in back-to-back sets last season was: four points (1), three points (1), two points (9), one point (1) and zero points (3).

Linesman and Western New York native Tim Nowak will be recognized before his 1,500t h game.


Get ready for the World Junior Championship

 In a press conference yesterday, the Sabres and USA Hockey announced ticket packages for the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship will go on sale to the general public on Nov. 28. 

The 2018 event will be conducted from Dec. 26, 2017-Jan. 5, 2018. KeyBank Center and HarborCenter in downtown Buffalo will stage all but the outdoor game. An outdoor game on Dec. 29. 2017 between USA and Canada will be held at New Era Field.

Fans have three options for tickets: the gold package includes all 31 games of the tournament, while silver and bronze packages include all games at KeyBank Center plus the outdoor game at New Era Field. Fans purchasing any of the three packages will also have the opportunity to purchase three additional tickets for the outdoor game.

Check out for full coverage of the press conference and more information.


On tap today

After the game, stick with us for full postgame coverage. We'll have locker room interviews, highlights and a game recap. 

Buffalo will leave right after the game for tomorrow's 3 p.m. ET match against Winnipeg. From there they head to Minnesota for a game Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center. 

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