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The Buffalo Sabres have one more home game before they hit the road for the first time this season.They would like nothing better than to make it three wins in a row Thursday night when they host the Colorado Avalanche at KeyBank Center.It will conclude a four-game homestand that opened the Sabres’ season. They will play their next five games on the road.Article continues below ...After hearing boos when they dropped their season opener 4-0 to the Boston Bruins on Oct. 4 Authentic Josh Manson Jersey , they have defeated the New York Rangers 3-1 on Saturday and the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2 on Monday.Jack Eichel, 21, the Sabres’ newly appointed captain, scored twice Monday to give Buffalo (2-1-0) more wins than losses for the first time since the third game of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. It had been 457 games, dating to Jan. 24, 2013, since Buffalo had more wins than losses.“The things you can control are your compete, your attitude and your work,” Eichel said. “If we do that and stick together and compete for each other, I think there’s a lot of good things that can happen. … I like the direction in which our group is going right now.”The Avalanche (2-1-0) lost 5-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday in their first road game of the season. Colorado will try to come out with more jump from the start at Buffalo.“I don’t want to take anything away from Columbus, because they had a good first period,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “But we stood around. We weren’t ready to start. So, when you stand around Ondrej Kase Jersey , it’s pretty easy to move the puck around you. It’s also the reason why we had three penalties in five, six minutes of the first period. When you’re not moving your legs, and not skating, teams are going to move it around and you’re going to take penalties. That’s what happened.”Philipp Grubauer made his first start in goal for Colorado, with Semyon Varlamov, who had started the two wins, backing up. Varlamov is likely to start Thursday.After falling behind 2-0 in the first period Tuesday, the Avalanche tied the game before the Blue Jackets regained control with three third-period goals, including one into an empty net.“Second period was great,” said Grubauer, who allowed four goals on 34 shots. “First one and third one, that’s where we ran into some trouble. You play the right way in the second (but) you have to play the right way for 60 minutes, not one period.”The Avalanche must be prepared to play a Sabres team that is willing to work with Eichel leading the way.“He’s made a commitment to do it every day Rickard Rakell Jersey , not just when we’re under the bright lights,” Sabres right winger Kyle Okposo said of Eichel. “He’s done a really good job in practice of setting the tone and setting the pace. He’s the best player on our team and if he’s the hardest worker every day, the team is going to follow him.”“It’s really, really early but we’ve put in the work throughout the summer and in training camp,” Sabres right winger Jason Pominville said. “It’s a different vibe, a different atmosphere. It’s definitely nice to be able to get the start that we have had for sure.”Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian (lower-body injury) skated with the team Wednesday for the first time since he was injured Sept. 25 and will need more practice time before he returns to the lineup.Centers Vladimir Sobotka (upper body), who was injured in the season opener, and Johan Larsson (lower body), who has not played this season, have returned to practice but coach Phil Housley said their status has not been determined for Thursday.Avalanche defenseman Patrik Nemeth (upper body) will return to the lineup Thursday and center Vladislav Kamenev will probably make his season debut. Nemeth was injured in the season opener Oct. 4 against the Minnesota Wild.Kamenev was recalled by the Avalanche Sunday after playing two games with the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League. Kamenev has five games of NHL experience, three with the Avalanche last season after being acquired in a trade with the Nashville Predators Nov. 5. He missed 50 games in 2017-18 with a broken arm.“It is a good time to give him an opportunity,” Bednar said. “He’s played a couple games over the weekend, he’s been up and practiced for a few days and is energized and ready to go.” WASHINGTON (AP) Brooks Orpik went 824 days between goals before scoring the winner in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.In that span Womens Ryan Getzlaf Jersey , the bruising defenseman blocked 446 shots and dished out even more hits. That won’t make him look more valuable on the stat sheet but certainly builds up respect among Washington Capitals teammates.”He plays extremely hard,” forward Tom Wilson said. ”They don’t make `em like Brooks Orpik anymore.”They really don’t.As the NHL shifts toward speed and skill and away from size and physicality, defensemen like Orpik and Deryk Engelland of the Vegas Golden Knights are becoming rare species in hockey. Mobile puck-movers like Erik Karlsson are prized and behemoths like Hal Gill are gone.And yet Orpik and Engelland have helped their teams reach the Stanley Cup Final and shown there’s still value in having a big defensive defenseman along for the ride – especially this time of year.”In the playoffs, teams get to the net a lot harder,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. ”Everybody’s jamming things at the net and everybody’s getting numbers to the net and trying to create chaos around them. Sometimes those stay-at-home guys are very valuable. They can box you out, they can protect your goaltender in terms of not have to have second and third shots, those type of things. So they’re quite valuable in series where there’s a lot of net pressure and a lot of low play.”Analytics don’t tell that story. Defensemen like Orpik routinely start in the defensive zone and are placed in positions to be on the ice for more shots against than shots for, so the numbers aren’t pretty.Orpik has the eighth-worst Corsi percentage – a measure of shot attempts that simulates puck possession stats – among defensemen to play in at least 10 playoff games. Yet he has been incredibly effective at age 37 by clearing space in front of the net, delivering hits and clearing the puck out of the defensive zone.”I know Brooksie from Pittsburgh and he stays in tremendous shape,” Engelland said. ”You try not to have guys standing around in front of the net too much and give your goalie some room. He’s a physical presence back there and maybe gives guys a second less to think with the puck, I guess you could say, and maybe rush a play or something if they don’t want to get hit. It’s always good to have that on the back end.”Orpik scored the Game 2 winner – his first goal of any kind since Feb. 26, 2016 and first in the playoffs with the Capitals – and didn’t even remember celebrating. He’s not known for scoring http://www.officialducks.com/authentic-adidas-ryan-kesler-jersey , which made Washington’s T.J. Oshie all the more excited for Orpik putting the puck in the net.”I haven’t yelled that loud for someone to score a goal since (Alex Ovechkin) scored one of his milestones,” Oshie said. ”To see him get rewarded with a goal at a big time, it makes me feel good.”Washington goaltender Braden Holtby said defensemen like Orpik are usually his favorite players because of what they do in front of the net. Gifted two-way defensemen like the Capitals’ John Carlson and Golden Knights’ Nate Schmidt find a way to do a little bit of everything, but they don’t have the size and strength of the 6-foot-3, 217-pound Orpik, who knows what his job is.”I don’t think necessarily you want to change a lot,” Orpik said. ”I think if you try to get six defensemen that all play the exact same way, in my opinion you’re not going to be a very balanced team or you’re not going to go very far. You try to do what you’ve always done, not just with the way the game has changed. I think as you get older too if you don’t change certain things like the way you train or the way you play, you’re going to get pushed out, so you have to be able to adapt.”Maybe a decade from now there will be less of an emphasis on hulking defensemen hired to hit more than score. But Orpik and Engelland still represent the kind of throwback players teammates want to have around.”They compete, they make it hard on guys in front of the net,” Holtby said. ”They’re always thinking defensively with how they can help the team that way.”Off the ice Ryan Miller Jersey , there’s more players like Orpik and Engelland can do. Schmidt, who broke into the NHL as Orpik’s teammate in Washington, said Engelland has helped young Shea Theodore develop.”They help guys on the mental aspect of things more than anything,” Schmidt said. ”I think that’s where they really come into play. That really translates to guys being able to flourish on the ice.”Orpik has had the same impact on defensive partner Christian Djoos, who has been stable during this playoff run. Then there’s the importance Orpik has as an alternate captain and leader in the Capitals’ locker room in his fourth season with the team.”The amount of leadership, the amount of everything that Brooks Orpik brings to this team, you can’t describe it,” Wilson said. ”We’re pretty privileged to have him around. He’s a rock back there.”—More Stanley Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/StanleyCupFinals—

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