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Sunday, March 17
Buffalo 3 at Washington 5
Goals: Hodgson (2), Flynn
Goalie: Miller (20 saves/25 shots)
PP: 1/3; PK: 3/4; Shots: Buffalo 30 – Washington 25
CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 78)
Alexander Sulzer (lower body, Feb. 26; injured reserve) – 10 games
Andrej Sekera (upper body, March 17) – 1 game
TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
3/15: Activated C Ville Leino from IR; Assigned C Mikhail Grigorenko to Quebec (QMJHL)
3/15: Acquired a fifth-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft from Florida in exchange for defenseman TJ Brennan
3/17: Recalled D Mark Pysyk from Rochester (AHL)
Thursday, March 21: Toronto at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 23: Buffalo at Montreal, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, March 26: Buffalo at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 28: Buffalo at Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 30: Washington at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
SABRES at CANADIENS
-This is the third of five meetings between the Sabres and Canadiens this season.
-Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Montreal, 5-4 (SO), in Buffalo on Feb. 7.
-The teams next meet on Saturday, March 23 in Montreal.
-The Sabres are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Canadiens; 7-3-0 on the road.
-This is the 256th game all-time between Buffalo and Montreal; the Sabres are 117-101-37 against the Canadiens (48-67-13 on the road).
THIS DAY IN SABRES HISTORY
- The Sabres are 11-2-2 all-time on March 19. They’ve won their last three games on this date, scoring at least seven goals each time (2008: 7-4 vs. TBL; 2011: 8-2 vs. ATL; 2012: 7-3 at TBL).
- March 19, 1981: The Sabres defeat the Maple Leafs, 14-4, tying the franchise record for most goals scored, including nine in the second period.
- Tonight’s game is the first of three straight against Northeast Division opponents for the Sabres. After tonight’s game, they’ll head home to host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday before returning to Montreal on Saturday for a second matchup with the Canadiens in five days.
- The Sabres enter tonight’s game looking for their first road win in their last six tries. The team’s last road win was a 4-3 shootout victory vs. FLA on Feb. 28.
- Buffalo has not lost six straight road games since they lost 12 in a row from Dec. 17, 2011 to Jan. 21, 2012. They haven’t lost three straight road games in regulation since that same stretch.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
- The Sabres have had a player score two goals in each of the team’s last three games (Marcus Foligno, Drew Stafford, Cody Hodgson).
- The Sabres have more wins against the Canadiens (117) than any other franchise; they have 116 against the Bruins.
- Dating back to last season, Thomas Vanek has 42 points (16+26) in his last 36 games.
- Rookie Brian Flynn has four points (3+1) in his last five games.
HOW THEY STACK UP (Sabres ranked in the top 10 in the NHL before 3/18 games)
Thomas Vanek: 31 points (T-7th), 14 goals (T-7th), 6 power play goals (T-9th), 29 takeaways (T-4th)
Steve Ott: 125 hits (2nd), 58.6% faceoff percentage (7th)
STOPPING THE HABS
Both of Buffalo’s goaltenders have had success against the Canadiens in their careers despite slow starts against Montreal this season. Ryan Miller is 24-9-6 against Montreal, with a .922 save percentage. The 24 wins tie his output against the Bruins, topped only by his 28 wins against Toronto. Jhonas Enroth is 2-0-0 in three appearances against the Canadiens, with a .917 save percentage.
The Sabres are 4-5-2 this season against their divisional rivals. The team went 13-6-5 against the Northeast division last season. Buffalo’s intra-division points percentage (.649) in 2011-12 tied for the eighth-best in franchise history.
LOGGING BIG MINUTES
Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff has averaged 25:02 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 26:32 per game in the 2002-03 season. Jason Pominville’s average TOI of 20:48 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.
MTL LW Rene Bourque played in Calgary with BUF D Robyn Regehr from 2008-2011. BUF D Jordan Leopold was also a part of the team during the 2008-09 season and MTL LW Brandon Prust played in Calgary from 2006-2010.
MTL LW Erik Cole played for the 2006 United States Olympic team with BUF G Ryan Miller and D Jordan Leopold.
BUF D Christian Ehrhoff and MTL LW Travis Moen played together with the San Jose Sharks during the 2008-09 season.
BUF RW Drew Stafford and MTL C Petteri Nokelainen were both selected in the first round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Stafford was taken 13th overall and Nokelainen was taken 16th overall.
SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ott (125), Weber (73), Foligno (61)
Blocked Shots: Ehrhoff (55), Sekera (51), Regehr (42)
Shots: Vanek (90), Pominville (82), Ennis/Hodgson (75)
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: 3-3-3 (9), 26/29, 4/32, 24/33
OVERTIME RESULTS (0-2; 93-93 all-time)
January 29 vs. Toronto: L, 4-3 (GWG-Frattin, 4:58)
March 16 vs. Ottawa: L, 4-3 (GWG-Turris, 3:54)
SHOOTOUT RESULTS (3-2; 46-39 all-time)
February 7 vs. Montreal: W, 5-4 (GDG-Pominville)
February 28 at Florida: W, 4-3 (GDG-Vanek)
March 2 vs. New Jersey: W, 4-3 (GDG-Pominville)
March 3 at NY Rangers: L, 3-2 (GDG-Nash)
March 7 at New Jersey: L, 3-2 (GDG-Clarkson)
MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Steve Ott … 5 games … 600 career games played
Christian Ehrhoff … 6 games … 600 career games played
Thomas Vanek … 3 goals … 247 career goals (ties Mike Foligno, 6th in franchise history)
Jason Pominville … 6 assists … 275 career assists (ties Dale Hawerchuk, 8th in franchise history)
Jordan Leopold … 1 point … 200 career points
Ville Leino … 1 point … 100 career points
Jason Pominville … 266 career assists (sole possession, 9th in franchise history) … 3/12 vs. NYR