DENVER -- The Buffalo Sabres open the post-bye week portion of the schedule Saturday night in Pepsi Center against the Colorado Avalanche, a team they posted a 2-0 victory over Feb. 16 in Buffalo. This one will be a night owl special, as faceoff will be shortly after 10 p.m. Eastern time on MSG.
Here are Five Things to Know about the game:
Tough venue: The Avs are last in the NHL's overall standing by a wide margin but this building has not been kind to the Sabres as Buffalo has dropped five straight here and hasn't won in the Mile High City since 2005. The Sabres finished their pre-bye schedule with a 3-1 record while the Avs are currently on skids of 0-2-1 and 1-7-1.
In the nets: Robin Lehner (17-17-6, 2.54/.925) will face Colorado's Calvin Pickard (10-19-2, 2.88/.909 in a rematch from the game in Buffalo. Lehner has gone 5-4-1 in February but has solid numbers (2.20/.942).
Same #Sabres lines as yesterday: Bailey-ROR-Okposo, Kane-Eichel-Reinhart, Foligno-Girgensons-Gionta, Moulson-ERod-Ennis.
— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) February 25, 2017
Bye week blues: Teams coming off their byes are just 4-12-4 in their first game back. The Sabres tried to combat that with a tough practice Friday at University of Denver and another strong workout today.
"Much better passing group today," said coach Dan Bylsma. "Yesterday's practice was a needed one and got some of the junk out of our legs. It was evident today. I thought we were crisp and I told them we were a much better passing team."
Back in the old homestead: It's the second game back at Pepsi Center for Sabres center Ryan O'Reilly, acquired as the centerpiece of the 2015 draft day trade with the Avs. O'Reilly has four assists in three games against his old team.
'The first time in this arena, sitting in the weight room was really awkward and different," O'Reilly said. "But now I've played them three times already and it's back to that feel that it's just another important game to win."
Renewing the power play: The Sabres have slipped from the NHL lead to third place at 22.5 percent, as they have gone just 2 for 18 in the last five games. Buffalo was 1 for 10 in the two games last weekend against St. Louis and Chicago that Sam Reinhart missed with the flu. Reinhart is back in the lineup tonight along with Zemgus Girgensons, who missed the last eight games with a mid-body injury.