Game Preview: 10/14/13 vs. Minnesota


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Saturday, October 12
Buffalo 1 at Chicago 2
Goals: Stafford
Goalie: Miller (38 saves/40 shots)
PP: 0/3; PK: 4/5; Shots: Chicago 40 – Buffalo 29

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 31)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Joel Armia (hand, Oct. 2; injured non-roster) – 6 games
Corey Tropp (jaw, Oct. 2; injured non-roster) – 6 games
Nikita Zadorov (finger, Oct. 2; injured non-roster) – 6 games
Ville Leino (rib, Oct. 4; injured reserve) – 5 games
Henrik Tallinder (upper body, Oct. 5; injured reserve) – 4 games

Returned G Matt Hackett to Rochester (AHL)
10/8: Activated F Marcus Foligno from IR; Placed D Henrik Tallinder on IR.

Tuesday, Oct. 15:
Buffalo at NY Islanders, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 17: Vancouver at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 19: Colorado at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 23: Boston at Buffalo, 8 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 25: Buffalo at Florida, 7:30 p.m.


-This is the first of two meetings between the Sabres and Wild this season.
-Next meeting: Sabres at Wild on Thursday, Jan. 2
-Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Minnesota, 3-1, in Buffalo on March 24, 2012.
-The Sabres are 5-5-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Wild; 2-4-0 in six home games against the Wild all-time.
-This is the 13th game all-time between Buffalo and Minnesota; Buffalo has a 7-5-0 series record.
-The Sabres are 2-4-0 at home against the Wild all-time.


  • The Sabres are 7-8-1 all-time on October 14.
  • October 14, 1971: Mike Robitaille scores his first Sabres goal in a 6-2 loss at Boston.


  • If he is in the lineup, tonight will be Kevin Porter’s 200th NHL game.
  • The Sabres’ penalty kill ranks fourth in the league entering play Sunday at 90.0 percent (18-for-20).
  • Buffalo’s 12 games against Minnesota are their fewest against any NHL franchise.
  • The Sabres haven’t lost to the Wild since March 12, 2010.
  • Steve Ott leads all Sabres skaters with 15 points (7+8) in 28 career games against the Wild.
  • Thomas Vanek has eight points (5+3) in six career games against Minnesota, including points in his last four.
  • Marcus Foligno scored the game-winning goal in his only meeting with the Wild, a 3-1 win in Buffalo on March 24, 2012.

Tonight, Jason Pominville will return to Buffalo for the first time since being traded to Minnesota with a fourth-round draft pick in 2014 in exchange for Johan Larsson, Matt Hackett and a first-round pick in 2013 (Nikita Zadorov). Selected by the Sabres in the second round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Pominville spent the better part of nine seasons as a member of the Sabres (2003-13) and served as captain at the time of his trade to the Wild. Over this time, he suited up for a total of 578 games with Buffalo and recorded 456 points (185+271).

Larsson was drafted by the Wild in second round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft (56th overall) and appeared in one game during the 2012-13 season for the club, before joining the Sabres. He will face the Wild for the first time in his career tonight.

Cody Hodgson
has points (1+4) in four consecutive games entering tonight, tying his career-best streak set from Dec. 19-26, 2011 as a member of the Vancouver Canucks.

Ryan Miller
has a save percentage of .941 through four games this season, stopping 144 of the 153 shots he’s faced so far. Miller’s best start through the first five games of the season was his .950 mark in 2011-12.

With his goal on Thursday vs. CBJ, Thomas Vanek tied Craig Ramsay for fifth-most goals in Sabres franchise history (252). He is now 15 goals shy of Danny Gare for fourth and 16 shy of Dave Andreychuk for third. Vanek is currently 15th on the Sabres’ games played list and his .426 goals per game rank him seventh in franchise history, behind Pat LaFontaine (.590), Rick Martin (.561), Alexander Mogilny (.554), Danny Gare (.531), Dave Andreychuk (.440) and Gilbert Perreault (.430) and just ahead of Rene Robert (.423).

Through six games, Christian Ehrhoff has averaged 25:40 TOI per game, topping his career-high average of 25:11 set last season and the highest per-game average by a Sabres skater since Alexei Zhitnik averaged 26:32 per game in the 2002-03 season.

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 94 points (47+47) in 86 career games during this portion of the schedule. He has never finished the first 10 games of a season with fewer than seven points. He has four points (2+2) in six games so far this season.

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.

With Zemgus Girgensons, Mikhail Grigorenko and Rasmus Ristolainen on Buffalo’s roster, 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 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.


  • 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 LW Tyler Ennis, BUF LW John Scott and MIN D Jared Spurgeon were all born in Edmonton.

Scott played with MIN LW Mike Rupp for the New York Rangers during the 2011-12 season.

MIN RW Nino Niederreiter (5th overall), MIN C Mikael Granlund (9th overall), BUF D Mark Pysyk (23rd overall) and MIN C Charlie Coyle (28th overall) were all selected in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Granlund, BUF D Rasmus Ristolainen and BUF RW Joel Armia all represented Finland at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

Armia (16th overall) and MIN D Jonas Brodin (10th overall) were both first round selections in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Brodin played alongside BUF LW Johan Larsson for Team Sweden at the 2012 World Junior Championship, capturing the gold medal after a 1-0 overtime victory over Russia in the final game.

BUF AC Teppo Numminen and MIN C Mikko Koivu played together on the 2006 Finnish Olympic Team.

Koivu and Ristolainen were both born in Turku, Finland and played together for a portion of the 2012-13 season with TPS Turku (SM-liiga, Finland).

Pominville, MIN LW Zach Parise, MIN D Keith Ballard and BUF RW Drew Stafford all represented the United States at the 2008 World Hockey Championship. Ballard and Stafford played together in the 2009 Championship as well.

Parise and Stafford were also teammates at the University of North Dakota during the 2003-04 season. The two played alongside MIN D Ryan Suter for the United States during the 2004 World Junior Championship, while Suter and Stafford both donned the red, white and blue during the 2005 World Juniors as well as the 2006 and 2009 World Hockey Championship.

Parise, Suter and BUF LW Thomas Vanek were all first round selections in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Vanek was chosen 5th overall, while Suter and Parise were taken 7th and 17th, respectively.

Suter and BUF C Kevin Porter skated together representing the United States at the 2005 World Junior Championship and as members of the USNTDP during the 2002-03 season.

Suter, Parise and BUF G Ryan Miller were all members of the silver-medal winning United States squad at the 2010 Olympics.

Vanek played two years at the University of Minnesota alongside Ballard as a member of the Golden Gophers (2002-2004).

Ballard was the Sabres’ first selection in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft (11th overall), but did not appear in any games as a member of the team.

Ballard played with BUF C Cody Hodgson (2010-2012) and BUF D Christian Ehrhoff (2010-11) for the Vancouver Canucks.

MIN C Torrey Mitchell and Ehrhoff were teammates with the San Jose Sharks during the 2007-08 season.

MIN AC Rick Wilson coached BUF AC Teppo Numminen in 2003-04, when Numminen played for the Dallas Stars and Wilson was an assistant coach for the team.

MIN D Mathew Dumba and BUF RW Corey Tropp share the same birthday. Tropp was born on July 25, 1989 and Dumba was born five years later on July 25, 1994.

Dumba and BUF C Mikhail Grigorenko were both first round selections in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Dumba was chosen 7th overall, while Grigorenko was taken 12th.

BUF D Jamie McBain was born in Edina, Minnesota.

Ott (24), Weber (15), Porter (14)
Blocked Shots: Ehrhoff (15), Weber (10), McBain (8)
Shots: Vanek (29), Hodgson (18), Stafford (16)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK] 1-10: 0-5-1 (1), 6/16, 2/21, 18/20

OVERTIME RESULTS (0-1; 94-94 all-time)
October 10 vs. Tampa Bay: L, 3-2 (GWG-Killorn, 1:50)

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

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played

Kevin Porter … 1 game … 200 career games played
Tyler Ennis … 8 games … 200 career games played
Thomas Vanek … 1 goal … 253 career goals (passes Craig Ramsay for 5th in franchise history)
Steve Ott … 6 goals … 100 career goals
Thomas Vanek … 8 points … 500 career points (ties Danny Gare for 9th in franchise history)

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