BUFFALO http://www.lionsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-sylvester-williams-jersey , N.Y. — Forgettable campaigns for both the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators are nearing an end. Before they conclude, the two teams will meet in Buffalo’s home finale on Wednesday night.
The Sabres (25-42-12) have lost eight of their last 11 games as they prepare to finish their first season under head coach Phil Housley. Buffalo is coming off a 5-2 loss to the rival Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday and also had a 6-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings last Thursday.
The Sabres have had a few positive moments sprinkled in between their struggles, particularly in the second half of the season — which included a stunning surprise 7-4 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
In that game, top playmaker Jack Eichel had a career-best five assists in the victory, tying a franchise record. Eichel became the fourth Buffalo player to record five assists in a single game.
The loss to the Maple Leafs, however, was a stark reminder of just how far the Sabres have to go in order to turn things around in the future.
“That’s a good team over there, they brought it,” goalie Chad Johnson said after the loss, according to the team’s website. “Their skilled players or their best players were their best players. At the end of the day you wish you could personally, as a team Dallas Goedert Color Rush Jersey , beat all these top teams all the time and have great numbers, great statistics. It’s tough beating these guys when they’re at their best. There’s a reason why they have as many points as they do. We’re still finding that consistency in our game.”
Eichel leads the Sabres in scoring with 62 points (25 goals, 37 assists) in 64 games. Ryan O’Reilly is second on the team with 58 points (22 goals, 36 assists) in 58 games. Young forward Sam Reinhart has turned the corner in the second half of the season, posting 48 points (24 goals, 24 assists) in 79 games.
One highlight for Sabres fans will be a Dominik Hasek bobblehead giveaway as part of the team’s fan appreciation night. Every fan who attends the game will receive one bobblehead.
The Senators (27-41-11) are also limping to the finish line in what has been a remarkably frustrating and surprising season. Ottawa has lost eight of its last night games, with the lone win coming in overtime against the Florida Panthers last Thursday. Ottawa’s most recent defeat came in a 6-5 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.
“We showed some character coming back,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said, according to the team’s website. “But we made too many mistakes defensively to allow us to win.”
With his future unclear, Senators captain Erik Karlsson did not make the trip with the team to Buffalo. It remains to be seen if Karlsson has played his last game for the Senators. Karlsson picked up the final puck in the loss to Winnipeg before leaving the ice.
Karlsson is under contract through one more season but has been surrounded by trade rumors all season long.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx earned his first victory of the season, shutting down a struggling Kansas City Royals squad that’s wondering when it will get its next win.
Bibens-Dirkx pitched effectively into the seventh inning http://www.raidersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-kolton-miller-jersey , Rougned Odor homered and the Texas Rangers extended their winning streak to a season-high five games with a 3-2 victory Wednesday night.
Bibens-Dirkx (1-1) allowed one run and five hits in 6 2/3 innings for his first win since last Sept. 6 in a relief appearance at Atlanta – and sent the Royals to their ninth straight loss.
”The first two starts didn’t quite go as I had wanted,” Bibens-Dirkx said, ”so to get another opportunity and to come out here and do what I feel like I can do on a pretty consistent basis was nice.”
Kansas City’s slump is its longest this season, and the Royals have dropped 15 of 16 overall and been outscored 102-38 while losing 16 of 18 in June. Their worst June in franchise history was 7-19 in 1970, the team’s second year in existence. The Royals will wind up June with nine games against the Astros, Angels, Brewers and Mariners, clubs above .500.
Bibens-Dirkx, a 33-year-old right-hander, spent 12 years in the minors, including two seasons with independent league teams before making his big league debut last year. He was called up to replace Yohander Mendez Thomas Vanek Red Wings Jersey , who was sent to Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday after violating team rules.
Jake Diekman worked the ninth for his second save, but not before yielding a leadoff homer to Mike Moustakas. The game ended when Hunter Dozier was thrown out at second on a delayed steal.
”It’s perfect timing,” Royals manager Ned Yost said to steal. ”You probably haven’t noticed that we’ve been having trouble bunching some hits together. It’s a chance to maybe hopefully catch them by surprise and get into scoring position and one hit will tie the ballgame up and keep us going.”
Yost acknowledged that Isiah Kiner-Falefa making his first big league start behind the plate factored into the decision to send Dozier. His throw nearly hit Diekman in the head.
”It was kind of scary, a crazy, crazy way to end the game,” Kiner-Falefa said. ”It worked out. Everything worked out. That was close. I was kind of in shock that he was out. I was just glad it didn’t hit Jake, honestly. I tried to adjust my throw last second and saw it bounce, but that was close.”
Diekman just avoided being hit.
”I was shocked – that the ball was thrown, that he was running at all – but it was my bad for not getting out of the way,” Diekman said. ”It ended the game and it didn’t hit me, so we’re good.”
Odor homered into the Royals’ bullpen with two outs in the sixth on a 1-2 pitch from Royals starter Jakob Junis Cassius Marsh Color Rush Jersey , who has lost his last five starts and has not won since May 18. Junis (5-8) has given up 19 home runs to tie for the American League lead. He allowed three runs and five hits with four walks and a hit batter.
”I’ve given up a lot of home runs this year,” Junis said. ”It’s something I’m conscious about. I’m trying to keep in the ball park because when I do that’s when I have more success. I can’t pinpoint on it on one exact thing.”
Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with a single, extending his on-base streak to 34 games. He stole second, moved to third on Elvis Andrus‘ high chopper back to Junis and scored on Nomar Mazara’s fly out to center,
The Rangers loaded the bases with no outs in the second on singles by Jurickson Profar and Odor and Joey Gallo’s first of three walks. The Rangers, however, converted that into only one run when Kiner-Falefa grounded into a double play.
Alex Gordon singled with one out in the Kansas City second and scored on Dozier’s double.
Bibens-Dirkx and Kiner-Falefa became the first starting pitcher and catcher in big league history with hyphenated last names.
After the Royals traded closer Kelvin Herrera to Washington, who will inherit that role? ”All of them,” Yost said of his relievers. ”Opportunity exists down there. We’ll have to see who takes advantage of it. I’ll look at different guys, but I would prefer one guy to emerge, take advantage of the opportunity. But it’s wide-open right now.”
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (elbow discomfort) threw batting practice to C Robinson Chirinos and OF Carlos Tocci. He is hopeful to begin a minor league rehab assignment Monday. ”There were some quality pitches inside the set http://www.cowboysauthorizedshops.com/authentic-michael-gallup-jersey , like a guy that was getting ready to take the next step of the rehab process,” Banister said. … RHP Chris Martin (right calf strain) also threw to hitters. He is eligible to come off the disabled list Friday. ”He’s close,” Banister said.
Rangers: Off on Thursday before opening a weekend series Friday at Minnesota with LHP Mike Minor (4-4, 5.35) starting.
Royals: Travel day on Thursday to Houston, where LHP Danny Duffy (3-7, 5.55) will start the series opener Friday.