Game Preview: 12/23/13 vs. Phoenix Coyotes

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Saturday, December 21
Buffalo 1 at Boston 4
Goals: Girgensons
Goalie: Enroth (35 saves/38 shots); 1 ENG
PP: 0/6; PK: 2/3; Shots: Boston 39 – Buffalo 35

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 92)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (upper body; injured reserve) – 3 games
Cody Hodgson (upper body) – 1 game
Kevin Porter (lower body) – 0 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
12/17:
Activated D Alexander Sulzer from IR; Recalled F Kevin Porter and D Chad Ruhwedel from Rochester (AHL); Assigned F Luke Adam, D Brayden McNabb and D Mark Pysyk to Rochester; Placed F Cody McCormick on IR
12/19: Acquired F Linus Omark from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft
12/23: Recalled D Mark Pysyk and F Johan Larsson from Rochester (AHL); Assigned D Chad Ruhwedel to Rochester; Placed F Kevin Porter on IR

UPCOMING GAMES
Friday, Dec. 27:
Buffalo at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 29: Washington at Buffalo, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 31: Buffalo at Winnipeg, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 2: Buffalo at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 4: New Jersey at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
COYOTES at SABRES

  • This is the first of two meetings between the Sabres and Coyotes this season.
  • Next meeting: Thursday, Jan. 30 in Phoenix
  • Last meeting: Phoenix defeated Buffalo, 4-2, in Buffalo on Nov. 19, 2011
  • The Sabres are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Coyotes; 5-2-3 at home.
  • This is the 69th game all-time between Buffalo and Phoenix/Winnipeg; Buffalo has a 39-21-8 series record.
  • The Sabres are 22-7-6 at home against the Coyotes/Jets all-time.

THIS DAY IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 16-8-4 all-time on December 23.
  • December 23, 1989: Phil Housley records five points (1+4) in a 6-5 win over the Quebec Nordiques, earning his share of the Sabres’ record for most points in one game by a defenseman (John Van Boxmeer is the other).
  • December 23, 2003: Derek Roy scores his first NHL goal, beating Ottawa goaltender Patrick Lalime with a backhand shot.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Coyotes are looking to earn their second straight win against the Sabres for the first time since Jan. 12, 2006 and Jan. 21, 2008.
  • Ryan Miller is 4-0-0 in his career against the Coyotes, with a 0.99 goals against average and a .964 save percentage.
  • Steve Ott leads all Sabres with 16 points (5+11) in 44 career games against the Coyotes.
  • The Sabres are 3-0-1 in their last four home games, getting points in four straight for the first time since they went 3-0-2 in five straight home games from March 2 to March 30, 2013.
  • With a win tonight, the Sabres will have won three consecutive home games for the first time since they won five in a row from Feb. 19 to March 12, 2012.

TRENDING UPWARD

  • In the 16 games since Ted Nolan was hired, the team has taken 48.0% of all shots in their games (a minus-2.2 differential per game), up from 40.2% (a minus-12 differential per game) in the 20 games before his hiring.
  • Five Sabres have a positive on-ice shot differential with the team this season: D’Agostini (54.9%), Ellis (53.5%), Ennis (53.4%), Moulson (52.1%), Leino (51.9%)
  • The Sabres are 43-39-14 (.521) when outshooting their opponent and 66-64-15 (.507) when outshot by their opponent since the beginning of the 2010-11 season.
  • The team has improved its team 5-on-5 Corsi for Percentage* from 35.6% before Ted Nolan’s hiring to 47.0% in the 16 games under his guidance. The 11.4% improvement is a significant mark, larger than the amount (10.9%) that currently separates the third- and 29th-ranked teams in the NHL.

*Corsi for Percentage: The percentage of all shot attempts (shots on goal/missed shots/blocked shots) in 5-on-5 situations which are taken by the team. (Data via ExtraSkater.com)

MEET THE NEW BOSS
After being named interim head coach of the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 13, Ted Nolan began the 20th head coaching tenure in Sabres history. He joins Scotty Bowman as the second head coach to reprise his role with the Sabres in the franchise’s 43-year history after logging a 73-72-19 record in 1995-96 and 1997-98 with the Sabres. For a complete Ted Nolan bio, visit http://www.sabresdigitalpressbox.com/tednolan.

CHANGING OF THE GUARD
Pat LaFontaine
was appointed president of hockey operations for the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 13. In this role, he will work with Sabres assistant general manager Kevin Devine on day-to-day hockey operations while also conducting the search for the Sabres’ next general manager.

As a player, LaFontaine enjoyed an illustrious 15-year NHL career, including six seasons with the Sabres, before retiring from the league in 1998 as the second highest-scoring American-born player in NHL history with 468 goals and 1,013 points in 865 games. Today, he ranks sixth among all Americans in goals and ninth in points, and his 1.17 points-per-game average ranks 11th among the 79 1,000-point scorers in NHL history. For a complete Pat LaFontaine bio, visit http://www.sabresdigitalpressbox.com/patlafontaine.

BUF-PHX CONNECTIONS
BUF AC Teppo Numminen played for the Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise for 15 seasons, moving with the team from WPG to PHX before the 1996-97 season. He held a then-franchise record 1,098 games played for the club and still holds the record for points by a defenseman, with 534. Phoenix retired his jersey (#27) on January 30, 2010.

Numminen played with PHX RW Shane Doan for the Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise from 1995-2003.

BUF interim HC Ted Nolan coached PHX D Keith Yandle for the Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL) during the 2005-06 season.

PHX LW Tim Kennedy was born in Buffalo and was a member of the Sabres for two seasons (2008-2010). Appearing in a total of 79 games, he tallied 26 points (10+16) while playing for his hometown team.

BUF C Kevin Porter was drafted in the fourth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft (119th overall) by the Coyotes. He went on to appear in 38 games for the Coyotes from 2008-2010, tallying 10 points (5+5).

BUF RW Matt D’Agostini (190th overall) and Kennedy (181st overall) were both chosen in the sixth round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

BUF C Steve Ott played under PHX HC Dave Tippett for the Dallas Stars for six seasons from 2002-2009. Numminen was also a member of the club during the 2003-04 season.

BUF C Cody McCormick and PHX D Derek Morris were both on the 2003-04 Colorado Avalanche squad.

McCormick (144th overall) and PHX G Mike Smith (161st overall) were both chosen in the fifth round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

BUF D Tyler Myers (12th overall), BUF C Cody Hodgson (10th overall), BUF C Tyler Ennis (26th overall) and PHX LW Mikkel Boedker (8th overall) were all chosen in the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Ennis, BUF LW John Scott, Morris and PHX D David Schlemko were all born in Edmonton, Alberta.

Ennis and Schlemko both played for the Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.

BUF D Chad Ruhwedel and Schlemko were both born on May 7. Ruhwedel was born on May 7, 1990, while Schlemko was born three years earlier on May 7, 1987.

Scott and PHX C Rob Klinkhammer were teammates briefly with the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2010-11 season.

BUF AC Joe Sacco and PHX C Jeff Halpern played together for the Washington Capitals from 1999-2002.

BUF C Steve Ott played with PHX C Mike Ribeiro for the Dallas Stars from 2006-2012. Halpern and Smith were also members of the club from 2006-08.

BUF RW Drew Stafford (13th overall), PHX LW Lauri Korpikoski (19th overall) and PHX C Kyle Chipchura (18th overall) were all first-round selections in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

BUF D Christian Ehrhoff was teammates with PHX G Thomas Greiss for the San Jose Sharks briefly during the 2007-08 season.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Shots:
Stafford (86), Moulson (84), Hodgson (80)
Hits: Ott (119), Foligno (91), Girgensons (70)
Blocked Shots: Ehrhoff (56), Myers (51), Weber (43)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10-GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10:
1-8-1 (3), 13/28, 3/35, 27/32
11-20: 3-7-0 (6), 23/35, 5/24, 29/37
21-30: 2-7-1 (5), 15/28, 4/26, 20/28
31-40: 3-2-1 (7), 13/13, 2/28, 15/16

OVERTIME RESULTS (1-3; 95-96 all-time)
October 10 vs. Tampa Bay: L, 3-2 (GWG-Killorn, 1:50)
November 29 vs. Toronto: W, 3-2 (GWG-Ehrhoff, 0:38)
November 30 at New Jersey: L, 1-0 (GWG-Bernier, 4:19)
December 14 vs. Calgary: L, 2-1 (GWG-Stajan, 0:42)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (4-0; 54-41 all-time)
October 17 at NY Islanders: W, 4-3 (GDG-Ennis)
November 5 at San Jose: W, 5-4 (GDG-Hodgson)
November 12 vs. Los Angeles: W, 3-2 (GDG-Moulson)
December 10 vs. Ottawa: W, 2-1 (GDG-Girgensons)                                       

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played

John Scott … 2 games … 200 career games played
Mike Weber … 4 games … 200 career games played
Marcus Foligno … 6 games … 100 career games played
Tyler Myers … 8 games … 300 career games played
Goals
Steve Ott … 2 goals … 100 career goals
Assists
Tyler Myers … 9 assists … 100 career assists
Points
Matt D’Agostini … 3 points … 100 career points
Cody Hodgson … 4 points … 100 career points
Christian Ehrhoff … 8 points … 300 career points

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