The Sabres won't have Okposo this weekend

March 3, 2017
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The Sabres will play this weekend without leading scorer Kyle Okposo. The winger hurt his ribs midway through Thursday’s game against Arizona. He still had time to pick up two assists before leaving.
 
Okposo has 19 goals and 24 assists for 43 points in 63 games. Next is Ryan O’Reilly who has notched 14 goals and 28 assists for 42 points in 54 games.
 
The injury puts an awfully big hole in O’Reilly’s line. Friday he skated with Evander Kane and Brian Gionta. The other lines were,
 
Foligno  Eichel  Reinhart
Moulson  Rodrigues  Ennis
Deslauriers  Girgensons  Bailey
 
Robin Lehner was excused from practice. Dan Bylsma said he is not injured.
 
Marcus Foligno netted two goals against the Coyotes giving him 12 on the season. That projects out to 15 goals over 82 games which is what I’ve always said is a reasonable number to expect out of number 82. Foligno said, “I think 15 goals is good, obviously you want as many as you can get, but it’s a good number and something that isn’t out of sight for me this year.”
 
Foligno is on a streak that’s seen three goals in four games. Before that, he had one goal in 20 games. Before that he scored in three straight games and four out of five games. Before that he had one goal in 19 games. The winger knows it can come in streaks, “I wish it was more consistent, but I’ll take them as they come. I think my timing could be better because we need goals for this team, so I’m hoping this streak ends in 18 games and then we can pick it up in the playoffs.”
 
I think this has been Foligno’s most consistent season as a power forward. It’s rare you walk away disappointed in his game. I wondered if he felt his game was still the same when he wasn’t scoring, “I was a little frustrated, but I think I was doing the little things right, like playing hard and playing physical.”
 
“Playing with Jack and Sammy I’ve got to get open, I’ve got to get to the net and create chances that way.”
 
Foligno’s physical play has been spot on all season long. He has also been there to stand up for teammates more too. He said this is his most consistent physical season, “It is, I feel really healthy this year, so I feel strong, I feel good about my game and it’s something I’ve taken pride in this year.”
 
Dan Bylsma doesn’t disagree at all with Foligno’s assessment, “There’s no question, I don’t know where his hit totals are in the league (3rd with 222), but I think he’s a physical presence out there that other teams are noticing and quite leery of.”
 
Bylsma doesn’t only look at goals and assists. The head coach believes there are other things that made Foligno good when he’s in a scoring slump, “I think the last time playing with Jack and Sam there was a streak in there where he was not getting on the score sheet, but I thought his play was adding to the line in terms of his physicality, a big body in a straight line to the net and that’s what you saw in aces last night. There was seven times he’s standing at the net either occupying space or right in front of the goalie.”
 
“He had eight hits last night, he was physical and making room for those guys, throwing them the puck and going to the net.”