Game Preview: 1/21/13 vs. TOR

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Package Sabres Daily Clips

LAST GAME
Sunday, January 20
Philadelphia 2 at Buffalo 5
Goals: Vanek (2), Ott, Myers, Hodgson
Goalie: Miller (27 saves/29 shots)
PP: 3/6; PK: 3/4; Shots: Buffalo 41 – Philadelphia 29

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 3)
Nathan Gerbe (back, Jan. 20; injured reserve) – 1 game
Cody McCormick (hand, Jan. 20; injured reserve) – 1 game
Ville Leino (lower body, Jan. 20) – 1 game

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
1/18        Placed LW Nathan Gerbe and C Cody McCormick on IR
1/19        Assigned D Adam Pardy, F Kevin Porter and F Nick Tarnasky to Rochester (AHL)

UPCOMING GAMES
Thursday, Jan. 24                Buffalo at Carolina, 7 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 25                     Carolina at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 27                   Buffalo at Washington, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 29                 Toronto at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 31                Buffalo at Boston, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at MAPLE LEAFS

-This is the first of four meetings between the Sabres and Maple Leafs this season.
-Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Toronto, 6-5 (OT), in Buffalo on April 5, 2012.
-The Sabres are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Maple Leafs; 4-6-0 on the road.
-This is the 185th game all-time between Buffalo and Toronto; Buffalo leads the series with a 102-60-22 record. Buffalo is 41-35-15 on the road against the Maple Leafs all-time.

STORYLINES

  1. The Sabres are looking to bounce back after losing three games in Toronto (0-3-0) for the third time in franchise history last season. The other two times were 1999-00 (0-2-1) and 1973-74 (0-3-0).
  2. Buffalo is 17-23-1 all-time in road openers, including a 1-2-0 record at Toronto. The Sabres last opened their road schedule in Toronto with a 4-3 loss on Oct. 13, 1984.

LEADING THE WAY AGAINST THE LEAFS
Thomas Vanek
has 45 points (22+23) in 44 career games against Toronto… Jason Pominville has 44 points (15+29) in 46 career games against the Maple Leafs, including eight (2+6) in six games last season… Ryan Miller is 27-14-0 all-time against Toronto with a 2.44 GAA and a .922 SV%; Miller has more wins (27) and shutouts (4) against the Maple Leafs than any other team.

WELCOME TO BUFFALO
Steve Ott
scored yesterday on his first shot with the Sabres, matching a feat last accomplished by Ville Leino in last year’s season-opener vs. Anaheim (10/7/11).

THOMAS THE TANK
Thomas Vanek
recorded a career-best five points (2+3) yesterday vs. PHI, becoming the first Sabres player to notch five points since Drew Stafford (3+2) vs. ATL on Jan. 18, 2008. Dating back to last season, Vanek has 16 points (5+11) in his last 11 games.

A FRESH FACE
At 18 years and 254 days old, Mikhail Grigorenko became the sixth 18-year-old ever to dress for the Sabres on opening day yesterday. Only four other players had 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)

LET’S PLAY TWO
Tonight’s game wraps 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. They opened the set with a 5-2 win last night at home vs. PHI. 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).

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).

LINDY’S LONGEVITY
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 566 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.

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