Sabres' Okposo will not be back soon

March 4, 2017
The Sabres got some bad news on Kyle Okposo. It appears the winger has broken or cracked ribs and is now week to week. Dan Bylsma said he’ll get looked at in 7-to-10 days.
Buffalo is also not going to call up a player from Rochester to replace him. That means Nick Deslauriers will be on the left wing with Zemgus Girgensons and Justin Bailey. Dan Bylsma said, “Did we think about a call up, yes, but we have four recalls before the end of the year and we used two of them and Nick’s going to play tonight.”
Call ups are not Bylsma’s decision. Tim Murray controls the roster and who comes up and down.
Bailey was playing on the wing with Ryan O’Reilly, but the past few games, he’s been demoted to the fourth line. Bylsma said, “We’d gone through a handful of games, the line wasn’t getting anything going and had been on the negative end of the stick a couple of times.”
“I feel like Justin can add more to our lineup maybe sliding in and out of some other lines using his speed and effectiveness throughout our lineup.”
If you’re still paying attention to the standings, a regulation win by Buffalo tonight over Tampa Bay would put them one point ahead of the Lightning. An overtime or shootout win would tie the two teams at 67 points.
The Sabres are two in back of the Flyers who visit Washington tonight.
The Lightning went into Pittsburgh last night with a record of 7-1-2 in their last 10 games, but lost 5-2.
Tampa Bay gave up two power play goals to the Penguins and has allowed a power play goal in four straight games. Buffalo has the league’s third best power play while the Lightning’s penalty kill is 21st.
If you want to flip that coin, Tampa Bay as the number one power play in the league and Buffalo’s PK is 29th.  As bad as the Sabres numbers are for the season, they’ve only given up one power play goal in eight games. That’s 18 out of 19 penalties.
The Sabres have picked up three out of four points scoring 10 goals along the way. Evander Kane has five goals in his last seven games.
Jack Eichel has points in eight straight games. He has three goals and 16 assists for 19 points in 14 games.
Eichel’s winger Sam Reinhart has five goals and five assists for 10 points in 12 games.
Jake McCabe has points in three straight games picking up four points.
Robin Lehner will be in goal where he’s given up 17 goals in his last four starts.
Buffalo is 1-9-0 in its last 10 games against the Lightning. The Bolts have won 10 of their last 12 meetings against the Sabres going 10-1-1.
With Tampa Bay trading Ben Bishop to Los Angeles, Andrei Vasilevskiy is their new number one goalie. He’s 13-13-5 with a 2.75 goals against and .911 save percentage. He did not play last night in Pittsburgh as Peter Budaj got his first start with his new team. He gave up four goals on 34 shots.
The Lightning have been without Steven Stamkos since the middle of November.
All-Star defenseman Victor Hedman has been hot lately with points in four straight games. Hedman has five goals and eight assists for 13 points in 10 games. He has 16 points in 13 games.
Nikita Kucherov is having another great season. He’s 10th in league scoring with 62 points in 56 games. In his five game point streak, he has seven goals and six assists for 13 points. He has two four point games in that streak.
Jonathan Drouin has three goals and six assists for nine points in 10 games.   
Bylsma played hockey at Bowling Green and he donned the colors again to see them play basketball Friday against UB. Bylsma said, “I got a few jabs from Buffalo folks wearing the orange.”
Some fans don’t realize that Bylsma played his college hockey there. He said, “A few didn’t, a handful of people came up and said, ‘I hope you went to Bowling Green’ and I said I did, so they let me off the hook.”
Join Brian Koziol for the pregame at 6:00 when he’ll be joined by Dan Bylsma, Marcus Foligno and Josh Gorges.