Game Preview: 10/5/13 at Pittsburgh


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Friday, October 4
Ottawa 1 at Buffalo 0
Goals: N/A
Goalie: Miller (45 saves/46 shots)
PP: 0/4; PK: 3/3; Shots: Ottawa 46 – Buffalo 35

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 9)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Joel Armia (hand, Oct. 2; injured non-roster) – 2 games
Marcus Foligno (upper body, Oct. 2; injured reserve) – 2 games
Corey Tropp (jaw, Oct. 2; injured non-roster) – 2 games
Nikita Zadorov (finger, Oct. 2; injured non-roster) – 2 games
Ville Leino (rib, Oct. 4) – 1 game

: Assigned F Luke Adam and D Alexander Sulzer to Rochester (AHL)

Tuesday, Oct. 8:
Tampa Bay at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 10: Columbus at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 12: Buffalo at Chicago, 8 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 14: Minnesota at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 15: Buffalo at NY Islanders, 7 p.m.


-This is the first of three meetings between the Sabres and Penguins this season.
-Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Pittsburgh, 4-2, in Pittsburgh on April 23.
-The Sabres are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Penguins; 4-6-0 on the road.
-This is the 174th game all-time between Buffalo and Pittsburgh; Buffalo has a 64-68-41 series record.
-The Sabres are 24-44-19 on the road against the Penguins all-time.


  • The Sabres are 4-2-1 all-time on October 5.
  • October 5, 2000: J-P Dumont scores in his first game with the Sabres, a season-opening, 4-2 win at home against the Chicago Blackhawks.
  • October 5, 2005: Thomas Vanek makes his NHL debut in a season-opening, 6-4 home win against the New York Islanders, recording an assist.


  • October is the Sabres’ second best month since 2005-06; they have a 38-22-6 October record (.621) in that span, including a 0-2-0 record so far this season.
  • With their win the last time these teams met, the Sabres won consecutive regular-season road games against the Penguins for the first time since they won both games in Pittsburgh in 2005-06. It was just the fifth time in franchise history the Sabres have won two or more consecutive games in Pittsburgh. Tonight, the Sabres will look to win a third consecutive road game in Pittsburgh for just the second time in franchise history (last: four straight, 1/5/80 to 2/21/81).
  • Thomas Vanek leads all Sabres with 20 points (12+8) in 28 career games against the Penguins.
  • Several Sabres were point-per-game players against the Penguins last season: Vanek (2 GP, 3+2), Hodgson (4 GP, 2+2), Pysyk (2 GP, 0+3), Ott (3 GP, 3+0), Porter (2 GP, 2+0)

With his goal on Wednesday at DET, Zemgus Girgensons became the first Sabres player to score in his NHL debut since TJ Brennan did so on Nov. 23, 2011 vs. BOS. The Sabres have now had a newly acquired player score in each of their last three season-openers: Steve Ott (Jan. 20, 2013 vs. PHI) and Ville Leino (Oct. 7, 2011 vs. ANA). Each player scored on his first shot of his Sabres career.

With Zemgus Girgensons, Mikhail Grigorenko and Rasmus Ristolainen playing on Wednesday at DET, the Sabres have already dressed three teenagers during the course of a season for the first time since 1995-96, when they had five (Jay McKee, Martin Biron, Wayne Primeau, Vaclav Varada, Curtis Brown) suit up for the team. If Nikita Zadorov (currently sidelined with a finger injury) sees time this season, the Sabres would be the first NHL team to ice four rookies since those 1995-96 Sabres. Florida (4) and Winnipeg (6) also dressed at least four teenagers that season.

Tonight’s game wraps up Buffalo’s first of 13 sets of back-to-back games this season after a 1-0 loss vs. OTT last night. The Sabres were 4-3-2 in the first game of back-to-back sets in 2012-13 and 3-5-1 in the second. Buffalo’s point breakdown in last season’s back-to-back sets was: four points (2), three points (1), two points (2), one point (2) and zero points (2).

Over the course of his career, Thomas Vanek is better than a point-per-game player during the first 10 games of the season, totaling 90 points (45+45) in 82 career games during this portion of the schedule. He has never finished the first 10 games of a season with fewer than seven points.

Vanek began the 2012-13 season with 21 points (10+11) in 10 games and began the 2011-12 season with 15 points (8+7) in 10 games. He finished last season at a point-per-game pace for the second time in his career, with 41 points (20+21) in 38 games.


  • Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott have each been selected to wear the captain’s “C” for the Sabres in 2013-14, becoming the 17th and 18th full-season captains in franchise history (excludes rotating captaincies in 2003-04 and 2007-08).
  • In total, 23 different players have previously served as captain of the Sabres for at least a one-month period; the duo will bring the total to 25.
  • Vanek will serve as captain for the team’s home games and Ott will serve as captain on the road. The Sabres last employed a two-captain rotation in 2005-06 and 2006-07, when Chris Drury and Daniel Briere served as co-captains.
  • Christian Ehrhoff has been named the team’s lone alternate captain; he will wear the “A” in every game, with one of Ott or Vanek wearing the other.


  • Buffalo finished the preseason with a 4-2-1 record; 2-0-1 at home, 2-2-0 on the road.
  • Foligno (3+1), Girgensons (3+1) and Grigorenko (2+2) tied for the team lead with four points each.
  • Ryan Miller was 1-2-0 with a 2.40 GAA and .929 SV%; Jhonas Enroth was 1-0-1 with a 1.95 GAA and .932 SV%.
  • The Sabres were 1/26 (3.8%) on the PP; and 29/32 (90.6%) on the PK.


  • Buffalo went 21-21-6 last season, finishing 12th in the Eastern Conference.
  • The team was 15-11-5 under head coach Ron Rolston.
  • Thomas Vanek led the Sabres in goals, assists and points for the second time in his career, scoring 41 points (20+21) in 38 games.
  • Ryan Miller played in his 500th NHL game, overtaking Dominik Hasek for the franchise records in games played (500) and saves (14,806).


Of the 23 players on Buffalo’s opening night roster:

  • 13 were originally drafted by the Sabres — eight were first-round Buffalo selections (Vanek, 2003; Stafford, 2004; Myers and Ennis, 2008; Pysyk, 2010; Grigorenko and Girgensons, 2012; Ristolainen, 2013) and three were second-round picks (Tallinder [re-acquired via trade], 1997; Enroth and Weber, 2006)
  • Six were acquired in trades: Ehrhoff, Hodgson, Ott, Larsson, Tallinder, McBain
  • Five were signed as free agents: McCormick, Leino, Flynn, Scott, Porter
  • 18 played in Buffalo at some point last season
  • Five are new to the Sabres this season: Rasmus Ristolainen was selected by the Sabres 8th overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft; Zemgus Girgensons will make his Sabres debut after spending his first pro season with the Rochester Americans (AHL) in 2012-13; Henrik Tallinder, Jamie McBain, and Johan Larsson were each acquired in separate trades. Larsson finished the 2012-13 season with Rochester.
  • Four players (Flynn, Girgensons, Larsson, Ristolainen) are opening the season on an NHL roster for the first time in their careers.

BUF D Mike Weber was born in Pittsburgh.

BUF C Tyler Ennis, BUF RW John Scott, and PIT D Deryk Engelland were all born in Edmonton.

Scott, PIT D Brooks Orpik and PIT LW Chris Kunitz were all born on Sept. 26. Scott was born in 1982, Orpik was born in 1980 and Kunitz was born in 1979.

Scott and PIT RW Chris Conner were teammates at Michigan Tech for four seasons (2002-2006)

BUF C Steve Ott and PIT D Matt Niskanen played together in Dallas for four seasons (2007-2011). PIT LW James Neal (2008-2011) and Connor (2006-2009) also played in Dallas for three of those seasons (2008-2011).

Ott and Orpik were both first-round draft selections in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. Orpik, selected by Pittsburgh, was the 18th overall pick and Ott, chosen by Dallas, was the 25th overall selection.

Ott and PIT LW Jussi Jokinen played together for three seasons on the Dallas Stars (2005-2008).

Jokinen also played alongside BUF AC Teppo Numminen on Team Finland in the 2006 Olympics in Torino.

Orpik and BUF G Ryan Miller both played for Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

BUF LW Thomas Vanek and PIT G Marc-Andre Fleury were both first-round selections in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Fleury was the first overall pick, while Vanek was selected fifth overall.

Vanek and PIT D Paul Martin played together at the University of Minnesota in 2002-03, when the Golden Gophers defeated the Wildcats of New Hampshire, 5-1, in the national championship game to capture the program’s fifth title. Vanek was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and the game was played at his future home ice, HSBC Arena in Buffalo.

BUF D Christian Ehrhoff and PIT LW Tanner Glass played together for two seasons (2009-2011) on the Vancouver Canucks. BUF C Cody Hodgson also played with the Canucks for part of the 2010-11 season.

PIT LW Harry Zolnierczyk and Hodgson were both born in Toronto, Ontario.

PIT C Andrew Ebbett has been teammates with three current Sabres: C Kevin Porter at the University of Michigan (2004-06), Scott (Minnesota, 2009-10), and Hodgson (2011-12).

BUF RW Drew Stafford and PIT C Evgeni Malkin were both first-round selections in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Malkin was the second overall pick and Stafford was picked 13th overall.

PIT RW Beau Bennett and BUF D Mark Pysyk were both first round selections in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.  Bennett was selected 20th overall and Pysyk was chosen three picks later, 23rd overall.

PIT C Brandon Sutter and BUF D Jamie McBain spent four years together as members of the Carolina Hurricanes organization between the Hurricanes and Albany River Rats (AHL).

Ott (11), Porter/Weber (5), Scott (4)
Blocked Shots: Ehrhoff/Weber (6), Pysyk (3), Tallinder (2)
Shots: Vanek (11), Ehrhoff (6), Flynn/Ristolainen (5)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK] 1-10: 0-2-0 (0), 1/3, 0/11, 6/6

OVERTIME RESULTS (0-0; 94-93 all-time)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (0-0; 50-41 all-time)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played

Kevin Porter … 4 games … 200 career games played
Thomas Vanek … 2 goals … 252 career goals (ties Craig Ramsay for 5th in franchise history)
Steve Ott … 6 goals … 100 career goals
Thomas Vanek … 12 points … 500 career points (ties Danny Gare for 9th in franchise history)

Ryan Miller … 500 career games played … 4/26 vs. NYI
Thomas Vanek … 248 career goals (6th in franchise history) … 4/22 vs. WPG

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