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Thursday, February 28
Buffalo 4 at Florida 3 (SO)
Goals: Gerbe (2), Ennis; GDG-Vanek
Goalie: Miller (40 saves/43 shots)
PP: 1/1; PK: 3/4; Shots: Florida 43 – Buffalo 25
CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 56)
Ville Leino (lower body, Jan. 20; injured reserve) – 21 games
Jordan Leopold (upper body, Feb. 21; injured reserve) – 4 games
Alexander Sulzer (lower body, Feb. 26; injured reserve) – 2 games
TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
2/25 Recalled D Adam Pardy from Rochester (AHL); Placed D Alexander Sulzer on IR
3/1 Recalled C Brian Flynn from Rochester (AHL); Placed D Jordan Leopold on IR
Sunday, March 3 Buffalo at NY Rangers, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 5 Buffalo at Carolina, 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 Buffalo at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Sunday, March 10 Buffalo at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 12 NY Rangers at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
DEVILS at SABRES
-This is the first of three meetings between the Sabres and Devils this season.
-Last meeting: New Jersey defeated Buffalo, 4-1, in Buffalo on Feb. 14, 2012.
-These teams next meet five days from now, on March 7 in New Jersey.
-The Sabres are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Devils; 3-5-2 at home.
-This is the 137th game all-time between Buffalo and New Jersey; Buffalo is 69-45-22 against the Devils (36-22-10 at home).
- The Sabres enter today’s game looking for their first three-game winning streak since they won five straight from March 19 to March 27.
- Today is Buffalo’s sixth afternoon game of the season. They are 1-4-0 in the first five. The Sabres will play nine afternoon games this season, up from four in 2011-12.
- The Sabres will look to avoid their first four-game home winless streak since Feb. 13 to Feb. 20, 2011 (0-3-1). They haven’t lost four consecutive home games in regulation since Oct. 15 to Nov. 5, 2010.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
- Jason Pominville leads all Sabres skaters with 14 points (7+7) in 24 career games against the Devils.
- Dating back to last season, Thomas Vanek has 38 points (14+24) in his last 30 games.
- Vanek’s eight multi-point games tie for fourth-most in the league.
- Vanek and Cody Hodgson have combined on 13 goals this season, tied for fifth-most in the league.
- 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.
HOW THEY STACK UP (Sabres ranked in the top 10 in the NHL before 3/1 games)
Thomas Vanek: 27 points (3rd), 12 goals (T-4th), 15 assists (T-10th), 5 power play goals (T-4th), 27 takeaways (1st)
Jason Pominville: 19 takeaways (T-8th)
Steve Ott: 89 hits (2nd)
Marcus Foligno: 7 assists (T-5th, rookies), 8 points (T-10th, rookies), 21 PIM (3rd, rookies), 48 hits (4th, rookies)
LOGGING BIG MINUTES
Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff has averaged 24:51 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 20:39 is the highest by a Sabres forward since Miroslav Satan averaged 21:23 in 2002-03.
MEET THE NEW BOSS
After being named interim head coach of the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 20, 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. 20 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.
Tonight’s game opens up Buffalo’s fifth of nine sets of back-to-back games this season after the team had a league-high 21 sets last season. The Sabres are 2-2-0 in the first game and 1-3-0 in the second. Buffalo’s point breakdown in previous back-to-back sets is as follows: four points (1), three points (0), two points (1), one point (0) and zero points (2).
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.
NJD D Henrik Tallinder played 468 games with the Buffalo Sabres from 2001-2010, totaling 108 points (20+88). The Sabres selected Tallinder in the second round of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft (48th overall), and he left the organization on July 1, 2010 when he signed a contract with New Jersey.
NJD F Dainius Zubrus played 19 games for the Buffalo Sabres during the 2006-07 season, tallying eight points (4+4). Buffalo acquired Zubrus and Timo Helbling from the Washington Capitals in exchange for Jiri Novotny and Buffalo’s 2007 first round pick on Nov. 27, 2007.
NJD F Steve Bernier played 17 games for the Sabres during the 2007-08 season after the team acquired Bernier and a 2008 first-round draft pick from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Brian Campbell and a 2008 seventh-round draft pick on November 26, 2008. Bernier recorded nine points (3+6) during his time in Buffalo.
BUF interim head coach Ron Rolston coached NJD D Peter Harrold when Harrold played for Boston College in 2003-04. Rolston served as an assistant coach for the Eagles.
Rolston also coached NJD LW Stefan Matteau in 2010-11, when Matteau was part of the U.S. National Team Development Program and Rolston was serving as the program’s head coach.
BUF F Steve Ott and NJD F Krystofer Barch played together for the Dallas Stars from 2006-2012.
BUF D Christian Ehrhoff and NJD F Steve Bernier played together from 2005-2008 as members of the San Jose Sharks. They also played together for the Vancouver Canucks during the 2009-10 season.
BUF F Thomas Vanek and NJD F Steve Bernier were both drafted in the first round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Vanek was taken 5th overall by Buffalo, and Bernier was taken 13th overall by San Jose.
BUF F Steve Ott played with NJD F Cam Janssen during the 2001-02 season for the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL.
BUF F Mikhail Grigorenko and NJD F Stefan Matteau were both selected in the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Grigorenko was taken 12th overall, and Matteau was taken 29th overall by New Jersey.
NJD F Alexei Ponikarovsky and BUF D Jordan Leopold played together for the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2009-10 season.
BUF F Drew Stafford and NJD F Travis Zajac were both taken in the first round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Stafford was selected 13th overall by Buffalo, and Zajac was taken 20th overall by New Jersey. Stafford and Zajac also played together for the University of North Dakota from 2004-2006. North Dakota was the runner-up in the 2005 Frozen Four, and in 2006 they were national semifinalists.
BUF F Nathan Gerbe and NJD D Mark Fayne were both selected in the fifth round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Gerbe was taken 142nd overall by Buffalo, and Fayne was taken 155th overall by New Jersey.
BUF F Jochen Hecht and NJD D Bryce Salvador played together for the St. Louis Blues during the 2000-01 season. The Blues finished fourth in the Western Conference during the regular season and lost in the Western Conference finals to the eventual-Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.
BUF F Steve Ott and NJD D Anton Volchenkov were both selected in the first round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. Volchenkov was taken 21st overall by Ottawa and Ott was taken 25th overall by Dallas.
BUF F John Scott and NJD D Marek Zidlicky played together from 2008-2010 for the Minnesota Wild.
BUF D Robyn Regehr and NJD G Martin Brodeur both played for the 2006 Canadian Olympic team.
NJD D Andy Greene and BUF F Drew Stafford share a birth date. Greene was born on Oct. 30, 1982, and Stafford was born three years later on Oct. 30, 1985.
BUF F Patrick Kaleta and NJD D Peter Harrold share a birth date. Harrold was born on June 8, 1983, and Kaleta was born on June 8, 1986.
SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ott (89), Foligno (48), Weber (45)
Blocked Shots: Ehrhoff (37), Leopold (31), Sekera (31)
Shots: Vanek (73), Ennis (61), Hodgson (58)
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: 4-6-0 (6), 20/27, 1/36, 35/42
21-30: 1-0-0 (2), 4/3, 1/1, 3/4
OVERTIME RESULTS (0-1; 93-92 all-time)
January 29 vs. Toronto L, 4-3 (GWG-Frattin, 4:58)
SHOOTOUT RESULTS (2-0; 45-37 all-time)
February 7 vs. Montreal W, 5-4 (GDG-Pominville)
February 28 at Florida W, 4-3 (GDG-Vanek)
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