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Thursday, March 21
Toronto 4 at Buffalo 5 (SO)
Goals: Ennis, Foligno, Pominville, Ehrhoff
Goalie: Miller (30 saves/34 shots)
PP: 1/5; PK: 2/4; Shots: Buffalo 36 – Toronto 34
CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 83)
Alexander Sulzer (lower body, Feb. 26; injured reserve) – 12 games
Andrej Sekera (upper body, March 17) – 3 games
Thomas Vanek (lower body, March 21) – 1 game
TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
3/17: Recalled D Mark Pysyk from Rochester (AHL)
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.
Sunday, March 31: Boston at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 2: Buffalo at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.
SABRES at CANADIENS
-This is the fourth of five meetings between the Sabres and Canadiens this season.
-Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Montreal, 3-2 (OT), in Montreal on March 19.
-The teams next meet on Thursday, April 11 in Buffalo.
-The Sabres are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Canadiens; 7-3-0 on the road.
-This is the 257th game all-time between Buffalo and Montreal; the Sabres are 118-101-37 against the Canadiens (49-67-13 on the road).
THIS DAY IN SABRES HISTORY
- March 23, 1999: Traded Mike Wilson to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Rhett Warrener and a 1999 fifth-round draft choice (Ryan Miller).
- Tonight’s game is the third of three straight against Northeast Division opponents for the Sabres. The Sabres dispatched the Canadiens, 3-2 (OT) on Tuesday and rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Maple Leafs, 5-4 (SO), on Thursday.
- The Sabres are 6-3-3 in their last 12 games. During that stretch, they have gone from 15th in the Eastern Conference and six points out of a playoff spot to 11th in the conference and four points out (before 3/22 games).
- Buffalo enters the game on a two-game winning streak and looking for their first three-game winning streak since they won five in a row from March 19 to March 27, 2012.
- The Sabres have not lost a season series against the Canadiens since 2007-08. A win tonight would clinch the 2012-13 series.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
- Cody Hodgson, who tallied a career-best three assists Thursday vs. Toronto, leads all third-year players and all 2011-12 rookies with 27 points (12+15). Hodgson has 24 points (9+15) in his last 25 games.
- The Sabres have more wins against the Canadiens (118) 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.
- Tyler Ennis enters tonight’s game on a three-game point streak (2+3).
- Steve Ott has three points (2+1) in his last two games, adding the shootout-deciding goal Thursday vs. TOR
HOW THEY STACK UP (Sabres ranked in the top 10 in the NHL before 3/22 games)
Thomas Vanek: 14 goals (T-9th), 6 power play goals (T-9th), 29 takeaways (T-6th)
Steve Ott: 130 hits (2nd)
Jason Pominville: 27 takeaways (T-9th)
STOPPING THE HABS
Both of Buffalo’s goaltenders have had success against the Canadiens in their careers. 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 29 wins against Toronto. Jhonas Enroth is 3-0-0 in four appearances against the Canadiens, with a .925 save percentage.
The Sabres improved to 6-5-2 this season against their divisional rivals with a 5-4 shootout win vs. Toronto on Thursday. The team went 13-6-5 against the Northeast division last season. Buffalo has finished at or above .500 against their division every year since going 8-10-6 against Northeast opponents in 1994-95.
LOGGING BIG MINUTES
Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff has averaged 25:09 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 20:57 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 (78), Foligno (68)
Blocked Shots: Ehrhoff (57), Sekera (51), Weber (48)
Shots: Vanek (92), Pominville (85), Ennis/Hodgson (80)
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: 4-3-3 (11), 29/31, 5/36, 26/35
31-40: 1-0-0 (2), 5/4, 1/5, 2/4
OVERTIME RESULTS (1-2; 94-93 all-time)
January 29 vs. Toronto: L, 4-3 (GWG-Frattin, 4:58)
March 16 vs. Ottawa: L, 4-3 (GWG-Turris, 3:54)
March 19 at Montreal: W, 3-2 (GWG-Ott, 2:16)
SHOOTOUT RESULTS (4-2; 47-39 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)
March 21 vs. Toronto: W, 5-4 (GDG-Ott)
MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Steve Ott … 3 games … 600 career games played
Christian Ehrhoff … 4 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 … 200 career points … 3/19 at MTL
Ville Leino … 100 career points … 3/19 at MTL