Sabres' O'Reilly comes back a new dad

December 27, 2017
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Brooklyn, NY (WGR 550) - The Sabres come out of the three day Christmas break with a game in Brooklyn. With the World Junior Tournament being played in Buffalo, the Sabres have seven straight games on the road.

The Sabres have already played 19 games away from home and 17 at home. Buffalo plays .342 hockey on the road and .353 hockey at home.

The first game of the seven was a 4-2 loss in Raleigh on the 23rd. Tonight, they play the Islanders and then it’s the Devils and Rangers. The team flies home for a day and then the trip continues in St. Paul, Winnipeg and Philadelphia.

Sometimes we forget that the players are people too and what a pleasure it was to talk to Ryan O’Reilly this morning about the birth of his first child. The Sabres center couldn’t stop smiling as he spoke. He said the break came at just the right time, “That made it a lot easier, knowing we had a few days to get home and get settled in and it was nice to get to know the little baby.

“It was an incredible Christmas, obviously the best one I’ve ever had.”

Parents will often say what an amazing experience childbirth is. O’Reilly is no different, “There’s just nothing like it, seeing him born, I was bawling my eyes out watching this little person come to life and seeing this little piece of us, you just can’t explain it, it’s one of the most incredible feeling there is.

“I was just glad I got to be there and share that experience with her family, it’s just life changing.”

O’Reilly was not off for the full four days and skated on Tuesday. He has two goals and five assists for seven points in eight games.

The Sabres have just four wins in 21 games. Goal scoring has been a problem all season, but they do have four goals in two of the last four games. I assumed Phil Housley would’ve wanted his team to forget about hockey and comeback refreshed, but that wasn’t the case, “No, it was totally different, we go to Carolina and I just thought there was some passengers that game and we can’t afford that and I said to have a good Christmas, but make sure you do something during the three days, so we can get right back after it against the Islanders.”

Housley has ridden Robin Lehner a lot this season, but he’s only played two of the last four games giving up just three goals. Lehner is 8-14-4 with a 2.73 goals against and .915 save percentage and will play tonight.

Jack Eichel is starting to heat up with five goals and three assists for eight points in four games. Eichel has six goals and seven assists for 13 points in 10 games.

Sam Reinhart is hoping to come out of the break refreshed as he hasn’t scored in 14 games.

 

Sabres lines on Wednesday:

Kane  O'Reilly  Okposo

Girgensons  Eichel  Reinhart

Pouliot  Rodrigues  Pominville

Larsson  Josefson  Nolan

Wilson

 

Scandella  Ristolainen

McCabe  Bogosian

Falk  Beaulieu

Gorges  Antipin

 

The Islanders come off the break in 5th place in the Metropolitan Division. They’re tied with the Rangers for the two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference.

New York is in a bit of a slide lately with three wins in 10 games. Scoring hasn’t been a problem as the Isles have four or more goals in four out of five games. New York is second in the NHL behind Tampa Bay averaging 3.56 goals per game.

The Sabres are dead last at 2.17 per outing.

The Islanders power play has goals in six straight games going 8-of-20.

Both John Tavares and Josh Bailey have 46 points in 36 games. That’s 13 points more than the Sabres leading scorer in Evander Kane.

The 46 points has them tied for second in league scoring behind Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov.

Bailey has points in eight straight games scoring five goals and 10 assists for 15 points.

Tavares has points in seven straight scoring four goals and 11 assists for 15 points.

Rookie Mathew Barzal is on a roll. The kid has four goals and three assists for seven points in four games. In his last 27 games, he has 11 goals and 21 assists for 32 points.

Yes, New York can score goals, but they can’t keep them out of the net. The Islanders are dead last in the NHL giving up 3.50 goals per game. The Sabres are 29th at 3.31.

Former Sabre Jaroslav Halak will be in goal. He’s 10-8-2 with a 3.01 goals against and .906 save percentage. Halak has given up 11 goals in his last three games and was only in for 29:21 against Dallas.

Join the Bulldog from the pregame starting at 6:00 when he’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Kyle Okposo and Ryan O’Reilly.

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