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Sharpen Up: October 30, 2017

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

The Sabres fell short on Saturday and were back at it for practice on Sunday. Their next game isn't until Thursday, when they'll be in Arizona to face the still-winless Coyotes. 

Here's what you need to know.


Looking back at Saturday

Video: BUF Recap: O'Reilly and Pominville score in 3-2 loss

From Jourdon's Lexus Postgame Report:

If there was any one moment that told the story of the game between the Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks on Saturday afternoon, it may have been the expression on Jack Eichel's face after he missed a one-timer from in front of the net midway through the third period. 

The one-time opportunity came from point-blank range, and could have broken a 2-2 tie. But the puck ran up on Eichel's stick, and after both his shot and Evander Kane's put-back attempt were unsuccessful, he looked toward the ceiling in frustration. 

Video: EICHEL: Postgame

"I think that that's kind of the story of the game," Eichel said. "They get some good bounces and the puck bounces the opposite way for us." 

The only major differences between the two teams in an eventual 3-2 loss for the Sabres may have been the breaks and the ability to capitalize on scoring opportunities. A game that seemed evenly-contested throughout came down to a top-shelf goal scored by Logan Couture with 3:52 remaining.

Video: HOUSLEY: Postgame

The Sabres, meanwhile, had a goal from Eichel called back for goaltender interference in the first period. They had a puck stopped directly in front of the goal line by the outstretched stick of Aaron Dell in the second. In the third, they twice saw loose pucks bounce around in the San Jose crease without actually bouncing into the net. 

The missed chances made it a tough loss to swallow, given the fact that they were otherwise proud of the performance they put forth.

Video: Pominville: Postgame

"I have to give our guys a lot of credit. They did everything but win tonight," coach Phil Housley said. "We certainly would've liked to get into overtime and see where that took us, but we didn't … I thought our guys played very hard, competed, we out-chanced them. Could we have scored more goals? Could we have gotten into the front of the net a little bit more? Yes. But I can't erase the effort that our guys brought today."

Video: O'REILLY: Postgame

After the game, the team assigned defenseman Taylor Fedun to the Rochester Americans.

Sunday's practice

From the Ice Level Practice Report

For a team coming off of a disappointing loss to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday afternoon, practice for the Buffalo Sabres was noticeably loose on Sunday morning. According to coach Phil Housley, that was by design. 

Housley has ample opportunity to work with the team at practice in the four days that separate the Sabres from their game in Arizona on Thursday. With that in mind, the coach used Sunday as an opportunity to rest some players and try to reset the mood of the team.

Buffalo's 12 games this season are tied for the most in the NHL.

Video: HOUSLEY: After Practice

"Today was just coming after it from a different angle," Housley said. "Just have a good practice, get some exercise out there, but we've got to make it fun for these guys as well because they have been grinding."

"I think today was just meant to be a little bit more of a fun day, just do some skill stuff," alternate captain Kyle Okposo said. "Just to kind of keep it light. It's not easy when you're not winning games, it can be a drag coming to the rink and it's going to be a long year if that happens."

At the same time, Okposo stressed the importance of using their next couple of days to reflect on where they need to improve. The Sabres were happy with the way they competed in their loss to San Jose, a game they could have won had they buried their chances. The next step is for strong efforts to translate into wins.

"I think that good teams, they just do it all the time," he said. "They're able to get those results. We've got to figure out a way to turn it around to where we're not saying, 'Oh, we worked hard' and look at the positives. We lost a game and we've got to start finding ways to win."


Road Crew is this Friday

If you're in the Dallas area for Saturday's game, it's not too late to register for Friday's Sabres Road Crew presented by Delta Air Lines with supporting partner Dave & Adam's.

This Tour Stop will take place at Parlay Sports Club (3309 McKinney Ave., Dallas, TX 75204) from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 each, with all proceeds benefiting the Buffalo Sabres Foundation.

As part of the Road Crew program this season, Delta will again be sponsoring the "Fly You Home" promotion. Every fan who attends the event will have a chance to win two round-trip tickets home to Buffalo and two tickets to see the Sabres play at KeyBank Center during the 2017-18 season.

Fans attending the event will get the opportunity to meet Sabres alumni Rene Robert, Danny Gare, Rob Ray and Larry Playfair. The event will also include drink specials, Sabres trivia, giveaways, raffles and much more. Dave & Adam's will also be raffling off merchandise from their Jack Eichel Collection, which will include items signed by Eichel. Everyone who purchases a ticket will receive an official Sabres Road Crew credential and lanyard.

Fans can purchase tickets here or contact Nick Fearby at 716-855-4452 with any questions.


 On tap today

Stay tuned for Kris Baker's Sabres Prospects Report. Buffalo returns to practice tomorrow. 


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