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Sabres Notebook: Olofsson snares AHL Player of the Month

OTTAWA -- When the Rochester Amerks make their annual appearance in downtown Buffalo on Wednesday, they will be showing off a major AHL award winner.

Winger Victor Olofsson, a former seventh-round pick who has rocketed up the Sabres' prospect charts in the last year, was named AHL Player of the Month on Thursday after making a spectacular debut in the league in October.

Olofsson, 23, ended the month leading the AHL with 15 points on five goals and 10 assists as the Amerks went 7-2-1 to grab first place in the North Division. They host Cleveland in KeyBank Center Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Monsters are second in the North at 6-3-1.

Olofsson's month included a seven-game point streak and he was one assist off the league lead. Nine of his points have come on the power play, helping the Amerks to a 29.5 percent efficiency through 10 games.

Olofsson was the Sabres' seventh-round pick in 2014 and spent two seasons playing for Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League. He was teammates there last season with Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo's No. 1 overall pick. This is his first season in North America.

According to LetsGoAmerks.com, it's the first time a Sabres prospect has been named AHL Player of the Month since Mark Mancari won the award for Portland in January 2011. The Sabres then reunited with Rochester six months later after Terry and Kim Pegula completed their purchase of the Amerks.

The Amerks return to action with a home-and-home set against the Hershey Bears, starting Friday night in Blue Cross Arena. West Seneca native Sean Malone returned to practice Wednesday after being sidelined since suffering a knee injury in the Sabres' preseason opener Sept. 17 in Columbus.

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Sabres winger Jason Pominville became the 11th player to reach 1,000 NHL games while playing with Buffalo when he met the Ottawa Senators here Thursday night.

The list includes Dick Duff, Gilbert Perreault, Craig Ramsay, Don Lever, Phil Russell, Dale Hawerchuk, Charlie Huddy, James Patrick, Mike Grier and Brian Gionta. Only Perreault and Ramsay played all of those games with Buffalo.

Pominville became the 328th player in NHL history to reach 1,000. No. 327 was Dallas center and former Ottawa standout Jason Spezza, who was drafted No. 2 overall in 2001. From that draft class, only Spezza and No. 1 overall pick Ilya Kovalchuk have more career points than Pominville, who entered Thursday at 706.

Pominville, of course, is most known for his series-clinching short-handed goal in overtime that beat the Senators here in Game 5 of the 2006 Eastern Conference semifinals. So he said it was appropriate to reach the milestone in an arena that had such impact on his career.

"By far my best moment as a player has come here and my biggest goal," Pominville said prior to the game. "It couldn't have been a better spot to have it. And it's also nice for my family and friends."

Pominville's first NHL game was Dec. 27, 2003 at Washington. He has played the full 82-game schedule eight times in his career, tied for sixth all-time.

"Trainers help a lot," he said. "I've always taken a lot of pride in my summer workouts, habits, taking care of myself, whether it's at the rink durring the summer or away from the rink. There were probably games I didn't feel great and trainers helped me out big time. It's just taking care of yourself and what you do away from the rink. It goes a long way."

The Sabres will formally honor Pominville for reaching 1,000 in a ceremony prior to Saturday's 2 p.m. game against the Senators in KeyBank Center.

Pominville on No. 1,000: 'It's what you've worked for your whole life'

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The Senators entered Thursday's game having given up 19 goals in their previous four outings while going 0-3-1. Starter Craig Anderson (4-3-2, 3.48/.909) took the loss in three of them and got the call against the Sabres.

Meanwhile, backup Mike Condon was yanked during Tuesday's 5-1 loss at Arizona -- and then got placed on waivers after a game that saw him give up a 150-foot short-handed goal to Derek Stepan. Ottawa called up 35-year-old Mike McKenna from Belleville of the AHL to serve as backup.

The Sens also called up former Amerks/Sabres defenseman Erik Burgdoerfer from Belleville of the AHL, where he was serving as captain.

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Thursday's game was Ottawa's 1,000th at home since returning to the NHL in 1992. The Senators entered the game with a record of 482-372-60-81. It was also the 1,998th game in franchise history. They've played 998 on the road, with No. 999 coming Saturday in Buffalo and No. 1,000 slated for Nov. 10 at Tampa Bay.

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