Sharpen Up: January 25, 2022 | Sabres back in Ottawa tonight

The Buffalo Sabres are on the road tonight for a game in Ottawa,

Faceoff against the Senators is set for 7 p.m. on MSG and WGR 550, Pregame coverage on MSG begins at 6:30.

Here’s what you need to know.

Yesterday’s practice

Video: After Monday’s Practice: Don Granato

From the Practice Report: 

Don Granato pointed to a December game in Florida to illustrate how the Sabres benefit when Casey Mittelstadt is in their lineup. 

Mittelstadt had returned that night following a two-month absence. He was among the players on the ice when the Sabres, trailing by a goal late, pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. Granato remembered Monday how the 23-year-old commanded the situation.

“He was extremely vocal 6-on-5,” Granato said. “He did not like when we failed to execute, and he let it be known when he came back to the bench. … First game back at that point, but again his standard is he will not accept lack of success, and that’s what we need.”

Mittelstadt played two more games after returning in Florida before having surgery to address his upper-body injury, which originally occurred on opening night. He is expected to return again when the Sabres visit the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday. 

Video: After Monday’s Practice: Kyle Okposo

Video: After Monday’s Practice: Jeff Skinner

Video: After Monday’s Practice: Zemgus Girgensons

Mittelstadt was poised to enter the season as Buffalo’s top-line center following a career-best stretch to end last season. He posted a team-high 17 points over the final 22 games, then parlayed that confidence into a productive offseason and training camp. 

But Granato spoke as much about Mittelstadt’s intangibles as his skill set when discussing his impending return.

“Mittsy just expects to work,” Granato said. “You see him, multiple instances I saw him last year where the top players on the other team, he went after them as he’s going to bench. Various teams in our division. He’s aggressive in mindset. 

“He’s got an extremely high personal standard and he expects to be better than the guy he lines up across from. He is a true competitor. … He wants to be better than the guy that he lines up across from. That’s different than a lot of guys. It’s something that, when he comes in the lineup is something that you can’t have enough of really. That pushes everybody else around him.”

Read more here.

Tonight’s matchup

From the Game Notes:

• This is the second of three meetings between the Sabres and Senators this season. 

• Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Ottawa 3-1 in Ottawa on Jan. 18. 

• Next meeting: Thursday, Feb. 17 in Buffalo. 

• The Sabres are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games against the Senators; 5-4-1 on the road. 

• This is the 147th game all-time between Buffalo and Ottawa; Buffalo has a 71-55-20 series record. 

• The Sabres are 32-31-12 on the road against the Senators all-time.

Video: DAL@BUF: Tuch uses defender as screen, wrists 1 home

• Since making his Sabres debut on Dec. 29, Sabres forward Alex Tuch has recorded 10 points (3+7) in nine games, including a point in each of his last four contests (2+4). 

• Only three players in franchise history have ever had more points than Tuch in their first nine games for the team after being acquired via trade: Doug Gilmour, 13 points (3+10), Steve Heinze,11 points (5+6) and Pat LaFontaine, 11 points (5+6). 

• Tuch has seven points (4+3) in six career games against the Senators. 

Video: PHI@BUF: Thompson scores second PPG of 1st period

Tage Thompson has 12 points (4+8) in his last 11 games played, including five points (2+3) during his current three-game point streak. 

Video: Rasmus Dahlin is going to the NHL All-Star Game

• Rasmus Dahlin has five points (1+4) in his last two games. 

Video: PHI@BUF: Skinner scores on power play for 2nd of game

• In his last nine games, Jeff Skinner has recorded 10 points (7+3). 

Henri Jokiharju has notched four points (1+3) in his last four contests. 

Video: DAL@BUF: Cozens dekes around Holtby to extend lead

Dylan Cozens enters tonight’s game riding a three-game point streak (2+2). 

• He has two points (1+1) in his one career game against Ottawa.

 • In five career games against Ottawa, Victor Olofsson has notched five points (2+3). 

• In his only career start against the Senators last Tuesday in Ottawa, Michael Houser made 43 saves on 44 shots (.977 save percentage) to earn a victory. 


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