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Sharpen Up: September 7, 2019

Here's what you need to know before the Sabres' Prospects Challenge game against Boston

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Rochester Americans coach Chris Taylor had the team ready to go last night. The Sabres came out and defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-4 in the their first Prospects Challenge game at Harborcenter. 

Tonight, Buffalo hosts the Boston Bruins at 7 p.m. We'll be streaming the game on and Facebook Live inside the local broadcast market (per league blackout restrictions). 

Here's what you need to know.


About last night

Video: Prospects Challenge: BUF vs. NJD Highlights

From our recap of the victory…

Chris Taylor issued a challenge for the veterans on Buffalo's Prospect Challenge roster to stand out during the three-game series, particularly those who had a season of experience with him in Rochester already on their resumes. 

To a man, that challenge was met head-on throughout the Sabres' 6-4 win over the New Jersey Devils on Friday. Victor Olofsson led the way with three points (1+2), Andrew Oglevie tallied a goal an assist, and Rasmus Asplund contributed a pair of helpers, one of which set up a goal from William Borgen. 

Video: POSTGAME: Cozens

Video: POSTGAME: Olofsson

"I think we kind of put that expectation on ourselves," Olofsson said. "We want to be leaders in this group. There's a lot of young guys, new guys ... We're trying to lead the way."

Kyle Olson, Dylan Cozens, and Arttu Ruotsalainen also scored goals for the Sabres, who took a 6-1 lead before penalty trouble allowed the Devils to tighten the score in the third period. 

Jonas Johansson, another player with pro experience under his belt, was steady throughout a 29-save outing. 

Video: POSTGAME: Taylor

Video: POSTGAME: Oglevie

Olofsson skated alongside Asplund - his centerman during a 30-goal campaign in Rochester last season - with Oglevie on the right side. The trio pushed the tempo and controlled play in the offensive zone, quickly finding the net when Olofsson buried a laser on a 2-on-1 rush at 5:12 of the first.

While their contributions were evident on the scoresheet, Taylor credited their behind-the-scenes leadership with helping to set the tone in the win as well.

"You want them to stand out, but you also want them to be good leaders for our team and for the organization because that's the culture that they've got brought into the last couple of years," Taylor said. "You want them to create that culture for these guys coming in here.

"I thought they did a great job. In between periods, talking to the young guys on the bench, I thought they all did a good job. But obviously, how they played and what they did, I thought they did a really good job for us."

Video: Chris Taylor: Prospects Challenge speech


Tonight's matchup

It's a 7 p.m. faceoff. Here's a look at who you should watch out for on Boston, who defeated Pittsburgh 4-3 last night in the Challenge's opening game…

Urho Vaakanainen, D (First Round, 2017): A concussion limited Vaakanainen to 32 games - two with Boston and 30 with AHL Providence - during his first North American season, but the 20-year-old defenseman impressed on the world stage. He skated a team-high 25:08 in Finland's World Junior victory over Team USA, where he won gold alongside Sabres prospects Jokiharju, Oskari Laaksonen, and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. 

More names to watch: Jack Studnicka, F (Second Ro, 2017); Jakub Lauko, F (Third Round, 2018); Kyle Keyser, G (Undrafted)

Their full roster is here.


The ice is in

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Training camp opens on Sept. 12. Here's the full schedule.

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