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Sharpen Up: September 28, 2016

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

"So who exactly is Derek Grant?" you may be asking on this Wednesday morning. He's the man who posted a goal and two assists in last night's 3-2 preseason overtime win against Ottawa. Yeah, that's right, he had a hand in every goal. 

His signing on July 2 may have flown under the radar, but he's definitely on it now after a strong first few days of training camp and Tuesday's breakout performance. 

The 26-year-old forward has 40 NHL games under his belt and has yet to score a regular-season NHL goal. He played in 15 games for Calgary last season, registering an assist and 22 shots. It's in the AHL where he's made his bones. He was that league's leading goal scorer in February until a broken jaw sidelined him for about seven weeks. He finished with 45 points (27+18) in 36 games for the Stockton Heat, a 1.25 points-per-game pace. 

Sabres general manager Tim Murray knows Grant's game well and that more than likely played a big factor into why Grant is now in the Sabres organization. Grant was drafted by the Senators in 2008, when Murray as Ottawa's assistant general manager and Grant played for Ottawa's farm team in Binghamton from 2010 until 2015 with a few cups of coffee in the NHL along the way. 

Let's check in on Jourdon LaBarber's recap from last night.

Dan Bylsma has mentioned Grant's name as one of several players vying for a role on the big club, whether it's as the 13th forward or something more substantial. 

"I think you take every opportunity you can to prove you can play there," Bylsma said Tuesday night. "He's had four days and he's had four good days. So yes, he's gonna get another opportunity because of that."


The Scoring Plays

Check out this pass from Grant to Nicholas Baptiste to open the scoring
Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: Perfect pass from @dgrant57.Fantastic finish from @NickBaptiste.1-1 after 40 mins.

Fasching to Baptiste to Grant ties the game 2-2
Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: Good work by @Hfasching22 behind the net to set up the goal. He got the puck to Baptiste & Grant finished.

Jake McCabe's overtime winner: 
Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: McCabe was sprung by... wait for it... Derek Grant.A goal & 2 assists for @DGrant57 in the 3-2 win. ��


Video Replay

Brian Duff had the radio call and now he has your video recap.

Video: Recap: Sabres 3 - Senators 2 (OT)


More from Derek Grant

Video: GRANT: Postgame


Robin Lehner's full postgame comments

 Video: LEHNER: Postgame


Jake McCabe on the OT winner

 Video: MCCABE: Postgame

Other storylines from last night

Kyle Okposo played his first game as a Sabre. He looks good in that blue and gold. Thank team photographer extraordinaire Bill Wippert for the photo.

Speaking of firsts, Tyler Ennis returned to action for the first time since Dec. 30. He dealt with concussion issues for a big chunk of last year and returned to practice just before the end of the end of the regular season. He finished eight shot attempts (four on goal, one blocked and three wide) in 21:07 of ice time.

And Robin Lehner looked good between the pipes in his first game since March 16, making 37 saves. See for yourself.
Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: What a save! Lehner flashes the glove to keep it a one-goal game.


Today's Practice Groups

The Sabres will take the ice at 9 a.m. for the first of two sessions at KeyBank Center. 
Dmitry Kulikov will skate with the team for the first time since Buffalo acquired him on Day 2 of the 2016 NHL Draft in June. Kulikov had been busy playing for Team Russia at the World Cup of Hockey.

Jack Eichel will also take part in his first practice session after Best Team Team North America was eliminated from the World Cup by Kulikov and those pesky Russians. 

Here are the groups set to take the ice today:

First Group
4 Josh Gorges     
10 Cole Schneider     
12 Brian Gionta
19 Cal O'Reilly     
21 Kyle Okposo
22 Johan Larsson     
31 Anders Nilsson
34 Casey Nelson
35 Linus Ullmark
47 Zach Bogosian
48 William Carrier
54 Brycen Martin     
56 Justin Bailey
63 Tyler Ennis
71 Evan Rodrigues     
77 Dmitry Kulikov    
81 Mac Bennett    
82 Marcus Foligno

Second Group
3 Paul Geiger     
6 Cody Franson
9 Evander Kane
15 Jack Eichel
23 Sam Reinhart
20 Daniel Catenacci     
26 Matt Moulson
27 Derek Grant     
29 Jake McCabe    
33 Jason Kasdorf
40 Robin Lehner
42 Justin Kea
44 Nicolas Deslauriers     
45 Brendan Guhle     
46 Justin Falk     
52 Hudson Fasching
70 Alex Nylander
78 Nicholas Baptiste
86 Eric Cornel     

Zemgus Girgensons, Brady Austin and Erik Burgdoerfer, who played on back-to-back nights to open the preseason, are not scheduled to practice today. 


On Tap Today

We'll have interviews with Eichel and Kulikov after each of their practice sessions.
We'll also start to set you up for tomorrow night's preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. If you want to go, you don't even have to travel all the way to the 6. They'll be playing at Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, Ont. Faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. MSG will carry TSN's broadcast of the game and you can listen on WGR 550. 

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