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FLYERS at SABRES
-First of three meetings between the Sabres and Flyers this season
-Last meeting: Philadelphia defeated Buffalo, 2-1, in Buffalo on April 5
-The Sabres are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Flyers; 3-5-2 at home
– This is the 158th game all-time between Buffalo and Philadelphia; Buffalo trails the series with a 61-74-23 record. Buffalo is 38-29-10 at home against the Flyers all-time.
- Buffalo opens the season at First Niagara Center for the first time in three years after dropping a 2-1 shootout decision to Montreal on Oct. 3, 2009. The Sabres opened 2011-12 in Helsinki, Finland, defeating Anaheim, 4-1, on Oct. 7, 2011.
- The Sabres will look to rebound after suffering their fifth ever season sweep at the hands of the Flyers in 2011-12, going 0-3-1.
- Jason Pominville leads all Sabres with 24 points (11+13) in 26 career games against the Flyers, including seven (3+4) in his last six.
-Tonight marks the 42nd season opener in Buffalo Sabres franchise history
-The Sabres are 23-14-4 in season openers all-time; 16-6-4 when opening at home
-Lindy Ruff is 8-5-1 (.607) in season openers as Buffalo’s head coach
-Buffalo has opened against Philadelphia once in franchise history; the Flyers won 2-0 in Philadelphia on Oct. 9, 2004
THE BIG TWO
Only Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller have played in all seven of Buffalo’s season openers since the start of the 2005-06 season. Miller has started all seven games and has a record of 5-1-1.
2011-12 SEASON RECAP
Buffalo was 39-32-11 last season, finishing ninth in the Eastern Conference, three points out of the final playoff spot… Jason Pominville led the Sabres in scoring for the first time 73 points (30+43) in 82 games… Ryan Miller posted a career-best six shutouts and overtook Dominik Hasek for the franchise record in wins (252).
A FRESH FACE
At 18 years and 254 days old, Mikhail Grigorenko will become the sixth 18-year-old ever to dress for the Sabres on opening day. Only four players have suited up for the Sabres’ first regular season game at a younger age: Pierre Turgeon (18 years-41 days), Tom Barrasso (18-188), Phil Housley (18-211) and Shawn Anderson (18-244). (Source: Elias Sports Bureau)
HOME ICE ADVANTAGE
Jason Pominville registered at least one point in 32 of 41 home games last season. His 46 home points (17+29) ranked him fifth in the NHL. Pominville hasn’t been held pointless in consecutive home games since Feb. 25 and 26, 2011.
THOMAS THE TANK
Vanek finished last season with 11 points (3+8) in his last 10 games. Vanek recorded three points (2+1) in four games against the Flyers last season.
LET’S PLAY TWO
Tonight’s game opens up Buffalo’s first of nine sets of back-to-back games this season after the team had a league-high 21 sets last season. The Sabres finished last season 13-8-0 in the first game and 7-9-5 in the second. The Sabres’ points breakdown in back-to-back sets was as follows: four points (4), three points (2), two points (10), one point (3) and zero points (2).
Since Lindy Ruff was named Buffalo’s head coach on July 21, 1997, there have been 170 coaching changes in the NHL. Ruff is the second-longest tenured coach in the four major professional sports leagues. Only Gregg Popovich, who began coaching the San Antonio Spurs in 1996, has been head coach of his team longer. Ruff has 565 wins as head coach of the Sabres, second-most by a head coach with a single franchise, trailing only Al Arbour (740). Ruff has more wins than any other coach with his first NHL team.
2012-13 ROSTER NOTES
Of the 23 players on Buffalo’s opening night roster:
*13 were originally drafted by the Sabres — five were first-round Buffalo selections (Vanek, 2003; Stafford, 2004; Myers and Ennis, 2008; Grigorenko, 2012)
*Six were acquired in trades: Hecht, Regehr, Ehrhoff, Hodgson, Sulzer, Ott
*Three were signed as free agents: Leopold, Leino, Scott
*One was acquired from waivers: Ellis
*20 played in Buffalo at some point last season
*Three are new to the Sabres this season: Mikhail Grigorenko was selected by the Sabres 12th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft; Scott signed as a UFA on July 1 after spending last season with the Rangers and Blackhawks; Ott was acquired in a trade with Dallas on July 2 after spending eight seasons with the Stars.
*Three players (Brennan, Foligno and Grigorenko) are opening the season on an NHL roster for the first time in their careers.