Sabres' Lehner to honor fallen Buffalo Police Officer

November 10, 2017
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Tonight is Military Appreciation Night for the Sabres as they host Florida. The team will wear special military jerseys in warmup and Robin Lehner will honor fallen Buffalo K-9 officer Craig Lehner.

Craig Lehner lost his life October 17 when he drowned during a training exercise. Lehner’s radio call handle was K-9 43, so Robin Lehner will wear number 43. The Sabres goaltender said, “It’s been a huge presence here and you really felt the loss through Buffalo. I’ve had a few friends that told me a lot about him and there have been a lot of fans on social media that sent me some messages and it just feels right.”

Craig is also a veteran having served in the military and Lehner said, “What they do for this country, him being in the Army and then being a Police Officer, so it’s not just for him, it’s for everyone and all he represents.”

NHL rules will not allow Lehner to wear number 43 in the game, “We tried to do that, but it’s kind of tough, we’re using those jerseys in the warmup and it’s the best we could do.”

“We’ll give the jersey to the family after the game and meet some of the family after the game too.”

Today would have been Officer Lehner’s birthday.

The Sabres put together their best team effort on Tuesday in a 3-1 victory over Washington. Lehner will start in goal tonight and he said if they play like that, they’ll be fine. “Yes, 100 percent, it was a big game last game, but that game’s over and we have to replicate, we have to come out and do the same things. Win or lose, I want to see us play the same way.”

Lehner is 4-5-1 with a 3.00 goals against and .902 save percentage.

Buffalo has won two of three games and two out of three at home.

The power play has still been horrendous going 1-for-23. Tonight’s game features the 30th best power play against the 30th best penalty killing.

Evander Kane has scored three goals in two games. Jack Eichel has three assists in four games.

Ryan O’Reilly has five points in four games and Benoit Pouliot has four points in three games.  

Nate Beaulieu returns to the lineup after missing seven games. Josh Gorges missed eight and is ready to go, but Phil Housley didn't want to mess up the defense that played so well against the Capitals. Housley said Gorges might play Saturday in Montreal.

It’s not good news for the Sabres that Roberto Luongo is in town. The Panthers goalie is 18-8-0 against Buffalo with a 1.99 goals against and .933 save percentage. He has shutout the Sabres five times.

This season, Luongo is 1-3-1 with a 3.53 goals against and .912 save percentage.

Luongo missed six games due to injury, but played the last two against the Rangers and Carolina.

The Panthers are coached by former Sabre Bob Boughner. His team has lost five straight games and are two points behind the Sabres in the Atlantic Division.

Montreal and Boston are three in front of Buffalo, while Detroit and Ottawa have a five point lead.

Goal scoring hasn’t been a problem lately for Florida. In their last win they scored eight on Anaheim followed by games of two, five, three and four goals.

Jonathan Huberdeau has been healthy this season and has 16 points in 14 games. Vincent Trocheck has seven goals and nine assist in his 14 games while Aleksander Barkov has 15 points.

Huberdeau has been red hot picking up 11 points in his last nine games.

Trocheck has goals in three straight games.

Former Sabre Mark Pysyk averages 18:27 of ice-time per game. The former number one pick is fourth in defenseman ice-time behind Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle and Mike Matheson.

If you’re not familiar with Matheson, he was the Panthers first round pick in 2012.

Ekblad was the number one overall pick in 2014, one ahead of Sam Reinhart.  

Other high picks playing for Florida are Barkov, second overall in 2013, Huberdeau was third overall in 2011, Nick Bjugstad was 19th overall in 2010. Pysyk was taken by the Sabres 23rd overall in that same draft.

Luongo was the fourth overall pick by the Islanders in 1997.

Join Schopp and the Bulldog for the pregame at 6:00 from 716 when they’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Robin Lehner and Evander Kane.