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Thursday, February 21
Buffalo 1 at Toronto 3
Goalie: Miller (33 saves/36 shots)
PP: 0/3; PK: 3/5; Shots: Toronto 36 – Buffalo 32
CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 48)
Ville Leino (lower body, Jan. 20; injured reserve) – 18 games
Andrej Sekera (lower body, Feb. 17) – 3 games
Jordan Leopold (upper body, Feb. 21) – 1 game
TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
2/20 Placed C Cody McCormick on waivers
2/21 Recalled C Kevin Porter from Rochester (AHL); Loaned C Cody McCormick to Rochester (AHL)
Tuesday, Feb. 26 Buffalo at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 28 Buffalo at Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 2 New Jersey at Buffalo, 3 p.m.
Sunday, March 3 Buffalo at NY Rangers, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 5 Buffalo at Carolina, 7 p.m.
ISLANDERS at SABRES
-This is the second of three meetings between the Sabres and Islanders this season.
-Last meeting: Buffalo defeated New York, 3-2, in New York on Feb. 9, 2013.
-The teams next meet on Friday, April 26 in Buffalo.
-The Sabres are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Islanders; 5-4-1 at home.
-This is the 152nd game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo leads the series with a 74-55-22 record. Buffalo is 41-23-11 against the Islanders at home.
THIS DAY IN SABRES HISTORY
- The Sabres are 13-5-0 all-time on Feb. 23.
- Feb. 23, 2011: The Sabres defeated the Atlanta Thrashers, 4-1, in the team’s first game under new owner Terry Pegula, a day after Pegula announced his purchase of the team. All three members of the French Connection surprised Pegula on the ice in a pre-game ceremony.
- Tonight is Ron Rolston’s second game as interim head coach of the Buffalo Sabres. Rolston is the 16th head coach in franchise history. The Sabres last replaced a head coach mid-season in 1991-92, when John Muckler took over 35 percent of the way through the season, inheriting a 9-15-4 (.393) team and taking them to the playoffs. When Rolston was hired, the team was 6-10-1 (.382), also through 35 percent of the season.
- The Sabres have lost three straight games for the third time this season. They will look to avoid their first four-game regulation losing streak since they went 0-5-0 from Jan. 14 to Jan. 21, 2012.
- Buffalo hasn’t lost three straight home games in regulation since Feb. 16 to Feb. 20, 2011 and will attempt to avoid matching that streak tonight.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
- Since 2005-06, 24 of 33 teams replacing their head coach mid-season have seen an improvement in their record after replacing the coach; 14 of those teams made the playoffs that season.
- The Sabres are in the midst of an eight-game stretch without any back-to-back games; it is the longest such stretch of the season.
- The Sabres started the 2010-11 season with a 6-9-3 record through 18 games before rebounding to make the playoffs.
- Dating back to last season, Thomas Vanek has 36 points (14+22) in his last 27 games.
HOW THEY STACK UP (Sabres ranked in the top 10 in the NHL before 2/22 games)
Thomas Vanek: 25 points (T-1st), 12 goals (T-1st), 13 assists (T-6th), 5 power play goals (T-3rd), 25 takeaways (1st)
Jason Pominville: 16 takeaways (T-6th)
Steve Ott: 79 hits (1st)
Marcus Foligno: 7 assists (T-3rd, rookies), 8 points (T-6th, rookies), 19 PIM (T-3rd, rookies), 41 hits (4th, rookies)
MEET THE NEW BOSS
After being named interim head coach of the Buffalo Sabres Wednesday afternoon, Ron Rolston became the 16th head coach in Sabres history. Rolston joins the Sabres after spending the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons as head coach of the Rochester Americans (AHL), compiling a 63-44-17 regular-season record. Prior to joining the Americans, Rolston spent seven seasons as head coach with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, where he led the United States Under-18 team to three gold medals and a silver medal in four tournaments as head coach at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
The Sabres hired Ron Rolston to serve as interim head coach on Feb. 18 after the Sabres got off to a 6-10-1 (.382) start. It was the first time the Sabres had replaced their head coach mid-season since John Muckler took over for Rick Dudley on Dec. 11, 1991 after a 9-15-4 (.393) start to the season. The 1991-92 team went 22-22-8 under Muckler, ending the season 31-37-12 and finishing third in the Adams Division to clinch a playoff spot.
LOGGING BIG MINUTES
Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff has averaged 24:54 TOI per game this season, the highest average of his career and the highest per-game average by a Sabres skater since Alexei Zhitnik skated 25:01 per game in the 2003-04 season. Jason Pominville’s average TOI of 20:43 is the highest by a Sabres forward since Miroslav Satan averaged 21:23 in 2002-03.
RISING IN THE RECORD BOOKS
With a goal Feb. 5 at OTT, Jason Pominville passed Alexander Mogilny (444) for 12th-most points in Sabres history. Pominville’s assist on Buffalo’s first goal Feb. 3 vs. FLA tied Mike Foligno (264) for 10th-most assists in Sabres history and his next assist will give him sole possession of 10th place in franchise history. He trails Derek Roy by two assists for ninth.
BUF AC Kevyn Adams and NYI C Keith Aucoin played together for parts of two seasons when both were on the Carolina Hurricanes in 2005-06 and 2006-07. The Hurricanes were Stanley Cup Champions in 2005-06.
NYI LW Eric Boulton played for the Sabres for four seasons (2000-01 – 2003-04). Boulton appeared in172 games, scoring 17 points (5+12).
NYI D Joe Finley, who was claimed off waivers by the Islanders prior to the start of the 2012-13 season, played five games with Buffalo in 2011-12, recording 12 penalty minutes.
Finley played with BUF RW Drew Stafford for one season (2005-06) at the University of North Dakota. That season, the Fighting Sioux advanced to the Frozen Four but were beaten by Nathan Gerbe and the Boston College Eagles and took third place in the tournament.
NYI RW Brad Boyes also played for the Sabres, from 2010-11 – 2011-12. During his two seasons in Buffalo, Boyes played in 86 games, recording 37 points (13+24).
Boyes, and BUF C Steve Ott were both first-round draft selections in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. Boyes was selected by Toronto with the 24th overall pick, just one pick ahead of Ott, who was picked 25th overall by Dallas.
BUF D Andrej Sekera and NYI D Lubomir Visnovsky both represented Team Slovakia at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The two also were born less than an hour away from each other. Sekera was born in Bojnice, Slovakia, which is about 49 km from Topolcany, Slovakia, where Visnovsky was born.
BUF LW Marcus Foligno and NYI C Casey Cizikas were both drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Cizikas, selected by the Islanders, was the 92nd overall pick, while Foligno, selected by the Sabres, was picked 104th overall.
BUF D Christian Ehrhoff and NYI RW Michael Grabner were both on the 2009-10 Vancouver Canucks.
BUF LW Matt Ellis and NYI D Radek Martinek were both born on Aug. 31. Martinek, born in 1976, is five years older than Ellis, who was born in 1981.
Ellis played with the Los Angeles Kings in 2007-08 with NYI LW Matt Moulson.
BUF C Jochen Hecht played with NYI C Marty Reasoner from 1998-2001 on the St. Louis Blues, before the pair was traded to Edmonton in 2001. Hecht played only one season (2001-02) for the Oilers, while Reasoner remained until the 2005-06 season, and then again from 2006 until 2008.
BUF D Christian Ehrhoff played with NYI G Evgeni Nabokov from 2003-09 on the San Jose Sharks. NYI RW Brad Boyes was also with the Sharks for the 2003-04 season.
BUF D Tyler Myers, BUF C Cody Hodgson, BUF LW Tyler Ennis and NYI C Josh Bailey were all first-round draft selections in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Bailey was the ninth overall pick, Hodgson – selected by Vancouver – was the 10th overall pick, Myers was picked 12th overall, and Ennis was the 26th overall selection.
SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ott (79), Foligno (41), Weber (40)
Blocked Shots: Ehrhoff (32), Leopold (31), Sekera (25)
Shots: Vanek (63), Ennis (54), Hodgson (51)
SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10: 3-6-1 (7), 30/37, 6/36, 32/40
11-20: 3-5-0 (6), 18/22, 1/29, 26/32
OVERTIME RESULTS (0-1; 93-92 all-time)
January 29 vs. Toronto L, 4-3 (GWG-Frattin, 4:58)
SHOOTOUT RESULTS (1-0; 44-37 all-time)
February 7 vs. Montreal W, 5-4 (GDG-Pominville)
MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Thomas Vanek … 5 goals … 247 career goals (ties Mike Foligno, 6th in franchise history)
Jason Pominville … 1 assist … 265 career assists (sole possession, 10th in franchise history)
Jordan Leopold … 2 points … 200 career points
Ville Leino … 2 points … 100 career points