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Sharpen Up: November 7, 2016

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Before we talk about the game in Boston tonight, there's one stone that remains unturned form Buffalo's 2-1, come-from-behind win in Ottawa on Saturday. Kyle Okposo scored the game-tying goal in the third period of that game after the Sabres had been held off the board for the first 40 minutes.

What was the difference?

"I just think we got going," Okposo said after the game. "We sharpened up and I thought we did a really good job taking it to him."

I'd like to imagine that Okposo reads Sharpen Up on a daily basis, maybe while he drinks a morning coffee in the Sabres' dressing room before practice, learning things about himself and his team that he never dreamt he'd learn. But, more plausibly, Okposo's quote is simply confirmation that sharpening up can lead to great things.

The Sabres sharpened up and it got them a third-period win. What might sharpening up do for you?

It's a game day in Boston. Here's what you need to know.


The divisional stretch continues

The Sabres meet the Bruins for the first time this season at TD Garden tonight. It's the third of four-straight games against Atlantic Division opponents and the second in a two-game road trip, which Buffalo has a chance to sweep after its win in Ottawa. 

The Bruins are coming off of a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday after having won its previous three games. They're 6-5-0 this season, which gives them 12 points and has them tied with the Sabres after 11 games. Hey, it's never too early to look at the standings.

Where the Bruins have struggled so far this season is on the power play, where they rank second to last in the League at 7.9 percent. That bodes well for the Sabres, who rank 13th in the League with an 82.8-percent penalty kill. 

Coverage of tonight's game begins at 6:30 p.m. with TOPS Sabres Gamenight on MSG-B. After the game in Boston, the Sabres come home for a game against the Senators at KeyBank Center on Wednesday to conclude their divisional stretch. Buffalo is 2-2-0 against the Atlantic Division this season.


Buffalo is looking for more offense from its defense

Chris Ryndak reported on this from practice in Boston on Saturday, which you can read in its entirety here. The Sabres have yet to get a goal from one of their defensemen this season, but the fact that Jake McCabe and Rasmus Ristolainen both contributed to their goals in Ottawa shows that they're heading in the right direction. 

"We've talked about this for the last couple games is getting more involved in the offense, getting our defense [to be] a part of the five-man offense, stretching out the zone, going low to high and using our defense," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said after practice Sunday. "We need to a better job from our defense of becoming part of that five man [offense]."

You can watch Bylsma's full comments from Sunday below.

Video: BYLSMA: After Practice


100 for Reinhart

Tonight will mark the 100th game in the young career of Sam Reinhart, who's already had quite the weekend. He scored the game-winning goal in Ottawa on Saturday and then celebrated his 21st birthday on Sunday, which got him this nice gift from Marcus Foligno.  

Video: Sam Reinhart's Birthday Surprise (11/6/16)


Another chance at #WonBuffalo

The Sabres and Bills play on the same date for the third and final time this season, with the Bills set to play in Seattle on Monday Night Football. Per Sabres PR, the Sabres and Bills haven't won on the same date twice in the same season since Nov. 5 and Nov. 26, 2006. They already did it once this season on Oct. 16, when the Sabres beat the Oilers and the Bills beat the 49ers. 

On Nov. 26, 2006, J.P. Losman was the starting quarterback and Willis McGahee rushed for two touchdowns while Rian Lindell kicked the winning field goal as time expired on a 27-24 win over Jacksonville. Meanwhile, Maxim Afinogenov scored and Chris Drury won the game in overtime for the Sabres against the New York Rangers.

So, yeah, it's been a while. 


Sabres Style is on Wednesday

The Sabres will hold their first "Sabres Style Girls Night Out" event of the season on Wednesday. The night begins for those attending with a pregame party in the KeyBank Lounge at KeyBank Center at 6 p.m., where fans will be provided with food and drinks as they mingle with Sabres alumni. Then at 7:15 p.m., they'll take their seats for a 7:30 puck drop against the Senators.

Those attending will also be able to enjoy the Gold Carpet Experience during the first or second intermission and cheer on the Sabres as they take the ice.

Tickets for the event are $70 and include a 300-level ticket to the game, admission to the pregame party with Sabres alumni, food and drink, and participation in the Gold Carpet Experience during an intermission.

If you're a season ticket holder and don't want to miss out on the experience, fear not - tickets for the pregame party and Gold Carpet Experience are available for $30. 


On Tap

Chris Ryndak and Brian Duff are on site in Boston and will bring you full coverage of tonight's game, beginning when the team takes the ice for its morning skate at 11:30 a.m. After the game, we'll have full highlights, reaction and a written recap right here on

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