Nick Deslauriers and Zach Bogosian returned to practice today for the Sabres. Bogosian was skating with the team for the first time since he injured his knee in the first weeks of the season. He practiced on a limited basis today and is looking to Thursday to return as a full participant to practice. He has only played 9 games this season and his return will help a depleted defensive unit that has been heavily relying on young players playing more minutes than they have ever been accustomed to. If the youngsters keep playing these extended minutes, there is a chance that they could break down due to being overworked.
Rasmus Ristolainen has averaged over 25:00 minutes of ice time all season and in the last 4 games is averaging almost 30:00 minutes a game. Dan Bylsma called him a workhorse and praised his skating, defensive positioning and puck distribution today at his post morning skate press conference. Jake McCabe too has been averaging close over 20 minutes a game recently and has been up to the task. It has been these contributions from our young defensemen that has led to the Sabres going 4-1-1 in their last 6 home games. Bogosian’s return will help solidify the defensive core just as the offense is beginning to get healthy and heat up.
Robin Lehner is in net tonight getting the start over Anders Nilsson. Bylsma said that the Sabres need to try to give him more goal support, but that they have to not press or slack in other parts of their game in their quest to get Lehner a win.
Ryan O’Reilly said he loves it here in Buffalo and that he is happy living here. He seems like a great guy and we are lucky we were able to snag him from the Avs.
Ryan O’Reilly said he loves it here in Buffalo and that he is happy living here. He seems like a great guy and we are lucky we were able to snag him from the Avs. I think they made a mistake in letting him go and it’s great that we have him for the future of our team. He’s a strong leader and the younger guys really look up to him as the leader of the team. With Gionta’s contract up at the end of the year, don’t be surprised to see the “C” on O’Reilly’s sweater sooner rather than later.
The Kings have 4 more wins on the season than the Sabres do, but they only have 4 more points. This is due to the fact that we have 6 overtime losses, while the kings only have 2.
Tonight, we are going to have to be careful of the Kings’ top players, Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik.
Tonight, we are going to have to be careful of the Kings’ top players, Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik. Kopitar has been on a bit of a scoring drought and Gaborik has recently returned from injury. We will have to body them off the puck and play good zone defense to keep them on their heels and not let them onto the score sheet tonight.
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Sabres vs. Kings, 7:00 PM, Key Bank Center, MSG+, WGR 550