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Sharpen Up: March 13, 2022 | Sabres play outdoors at Heritage Classic

Sharpen Up: March 13, 2022 | Sabres play outdoors at Heritage Classic

The Buffalo Sabres are outdoors and on the national stage today.

They’ll go head-to-head against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 4 p.m. in the 2022 Tim Hortons Heritage Classic, which will be played at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario.

Catch the action on TNT. Dan Dunleavy and Rob Ray have the call on WGR 550.

And stay tuned for a ton of on-site coverage on the team’s official social media channels. 

Here’s what you need to know.


Yesterday’s practice

Buffalo tested out the ice during practice and their families joined them afterwards. We had full coverage for you here on If you missed any of it, buckle up:

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: Word of the day: special.#LetsGoBuffalo | @1LECOM

From the Practice Report:

Dylan Cozens‘ path to the NHL began in a backyard in Whitehorse, Yukon. His father, Mike, had the impromptu thought to build a rink when Dylan was three years old. The rink became a tradition, growing more sophisticated with each passing year. 

It likely never reached the heights of the outdoor ice surface the father and son skated on Saturday. The Sabres held a family skate following their practice inside Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ont. ahead of the Heritage Classic on Sunday. 

For Cozens, the presence of his father at an outdoor NHL game represented a full-circle moment.  

“He’s the one who got it all started for me building that rink every single year as a kid,” Cozens said. “So, for him to be here for this game is awesome.”
Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: Made some memories today.#LetsGoBuffalo
Cozens skated in temperatures that sometimes dipped into the negatives growing up in The Yukon, experience he hopes proves useful come Sunday. The forecast for the 4 p.m. puck drop calls for temperatures in the low 30s and 27 mph wind gusts. 

The conditions on Saturday were severe enough to delay the Sabres’ practice time by an hour. They practiced for nearly an hour in the frigid, blustery confines of a Canadian Football League stadium tucked within a southern Ontario neighborhood. 

Watch: Youtube Video
Watch: Youtube Video
Sabres coach Don Granato designed the session to get the players moving in both directions up and down the ice to acclimate to the wind.

“It’s a factor, there’s no question,” he said. “The wind today was a factor. There’s a dramatic difference in how you execute. It’s interesting to just watch our guys snap the puck around. There’s a completely different velocity on the puck … It was good to get out there today for our guys, I’m sure for both teams to have that one day of acclimation because you do need to acclimate and adjust to it.”

Today’s matchup

From the Game Notes:

• This is the third of four meetings between the Sabres and Maple Leafs this season. 
• Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Toronto 5-1 in Toronto on March 2. 
• Next meeting: Tuesday, April 12 in Toronto. 

• The Sabres are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games against the Maple Leafs; 4-5-1 at home. 
• This is the 221st game all-time between Buffalo and Toronto; Buffalo has a 118-74-28 series record. 
• The Sabres are 72-30-9 at home against the Maple Leafs all-time.

• 25 of Buffalo’s last 27 games have been decided in regulation, including each of the last 13 contests. 
• Since Jan. 1, the Sabres have gone 11-for-39 on the power play (28.1 percent) and have scored at least one goal with the man advantage in eight of those 13 contests. 

• Today’s game marks Buffalo’s third appearance in an outdoor game as a franchise (2008 Winter Classic vs. Pittsburgh at Highmark Stadium; 2018 Winter Classic vs. NY Rangers at Citi Field). 
• The Sabres will become 12th team in NHL history to play in at least three regular-season outdoor games and the fourth to have three appearances as the designated home team. 
• Buffalo is the first U.S.-based team to appear in a Heritage Classic. 
• Buffalo has earned a point in each of its previous outdoor games. 

Video: Tribute: Craig Anderson wins 300th NHL game
• Craig Anderson has won both of his previous two outdoor games: the 2014 Heritage Classic at BC Place (29 saves w/ OTT) and NHL100 Classic at Lansdowne Park (28 saves w/ OTT). 
• Only Henrik Lundqvist (4-0-0) has more career outdoor wins among NHL netminders. 
• In 34 career games (33 starts) against Toronto, Anderson holds a record of 18-9-4, along with a .918 save percentage and 2.85 goals against average.

Tweet from @BuffaloSabres: “It’s a little chilly, but it’s really fun” 🤣Couldn’t have said it any better, Okie!#LetsGoBuffalo

Kyle Okposo has appeared in two outdoor games in his career, including the 2018 Winter Classic at Citi Field vs. the NY Rangers, where he recorded two assists. 
• Okposo has seven points (4+3) in his last eight games overall.
• He also has six points (3+3) in his last five games against Toronto, including at least a point in each of the last four meetings.
• Okposo has tallied three points (1+2) and holds a plus-3 rating in two games against Toronto this season.

• Seven Sabres have previously appeared in an outdoor game: Craig Anderson (2-0-0 in 2 GP), Kyle Okposo (0+2 in 2 GP), Robert Hagg (2 GP), Vinnie Hinostroza (2 GP), Alex Tuch (1+0 in 1 GP), Anders Bjork (1 GP) and Zemgus Girgensons (1 GP). 

• The Sabres are playing a regular-season home game away from the team’s home arena for the ninth time in franchise history today. 
• Buffalo is 1-4-3 in the eight previous games, with the lone win coming against the Anaheim Ducks in Helsinki, Finland as part of the 2011 NHL Premiere.


Rasmus Dahlin has eight points (2+6) in eight career games against the Maple Leafs and currently holds a five-game point streak against Toronto, registering six points (2+3) in the five contests. Dahlin has registered a plus-2 rating in each of his last three games against Toronto. 

Video: BUF@TOR: Skinner buries a shot on a partial break
Jeff Skinner has five points (3+2) in two games against Toronto this season, recording multi-point performances in both contests. 

Victor Olofsson has five points (3+2) in five career games against the Maple Leafs, including at least a point in each of the last three games. 

Mark Pysyk has seven points (4+3) and holds a plus-9 rating in his last six games against Toronto. 
• Pysyk recorded a hat trick on Feb. 3, 2020 at Toronto as a member of the Florida Panthers. 

Video: BUF@TOR: Thompson gets the puck in slot and scores
Tage Thompson has three points (2+1) in two games against Toronto this season.