Game Preview: 1/15/15 vs. MIN

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Tuesday, January 13
Detroit 3 at Buffalo 1
Goals: Weber
Goalie: Neuvirth (27 saves/30 shots)
PP: 0/2; PK: 3/4; Shots: Detroit 30 – Buffalo 26

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 158)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Marcus Foligno (undisclosed, Dec. 23; injured reserve) – 10 games
Brian Gionta (upper body, Dec. 23; injured reserve) – 10 games
Cody McCormick (lower body, Jan. 13; injured reserve) – 1 game
Chris Stewart (illness, Jan. 13) – 1 game

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
1/9:
Activated F Drew Stafford; Assigned F Tim Schaller to Rochester (AHL)
1/10: Assigned F Mikhail Grigorenko and F Phil Varone to Rochester (AHL)
1/12: Recalled F Zac Dalpe and F Phil Varone from Rochester (AHL)
1/13: Recalled F Matt Ellis from Rochester (AHL); Placed F Brian Gionta and F Cody McCormick on IR

UPCOMING GAMES
Saturday, Jan. 17:
Philadelphia at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 18: Buffalo at Detroit, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 27: Buffalo at Calgary, 9 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 29: Buffalo at Edmonton, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 30: Buffalo at Vancouver, 10 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
WILD at SABRES

  • This is the second of two meetings between the Sabres and Wild this season.
  • Last meeting: Minnesota defeated Buffalo, 6-3, in Minnesota on Nov. 13
  • The Sabres are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Wild; 2-5-0 at home.
  • This is the 16th game all-time between Buffalo and Minnesota; Buffalo has a 7-8-0 series record.
  • The Sabres are 2-5-0 at home against the Wild all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 9-7-3 all-time on January 15.
  • January 15, 1982: Buffalo defeats Toronto, 8-2, on the strength of a hat trick by Yvon Lambert.
  • January 15, 1992: The Sabres tie the New Jersey Devils, 8-8, in New Jersey in the highest scoring tie in franchise history. Dale Hawerchuk ties a franchise record with five assists in the game.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Tonight’s game marks the second of a three-game home stand, which opened with a 3-1 loss to Detroit on Jan. 13. After hosting the Flyers on Saturday, the Sabres will not play at First Niagara Center again until Feb. 5 vs. STL.
  • The last time these clubs played, the Sabres scored on each of their first two shots in the game. The teams also combined to score three times in a 17-second span, the fastest combined three goals in franchise history for both teams.
  • Buffalo has played fewer games against Minnesota (15) than any other NHL franchise.
  • Minnesota has won the last three games between the two clubs, marking the first time either team has recorded a three-game streak in the all-time series.
  • Chris Stewart leads all Sabres with 12 points (7+5) in 23 career games against the Wild.

ALL-STAR Z            

  • Second-year Latvian forward Zemgus Girgensons led all NHL players with 1,574,896 votes in the 2015 NHL All-Star Game Fan Vote and will become the 30th player in Sabres history to appear in the All-Star Game when he plays in this year’s installment on Jan. 25 in Columbus.
  • Of the other 29 Sabres All-Stars, only five others were selected to appear in the game in either of their first two NHL seasons: Tom Barrasso, Phil Housley, Rick Martin, Gilbert Perreault, Christian Ruuttu
  • With 11 goals this season, Girgensons has already bested his total of eight from his 70-game rookie season. He is two points from tying his 22-point output from last season.
  • Girgensons leads all Sabres forwards with an average ice time of 18:57 per game this season.

LOGGING BIG MINUTES

  • Entering Wednesday night’s games, Tyler Myers led all Sabres and ranked 10th in the league with an average time on ice of 25:15 per game.
  • He skated a team-high 22:09 on Jan. 6 at NJD in his return from a lower-body injury that sidelined him for seven games and has topped 23 minutes in all three games played since then.
  • Myers has averaged 25:30 of ice time in his last 10 games despite playing only 13:10 in the game in which he sustained his injury. He entered that game having averaged 28:11 in the previous 10 games; it was the highest 10-game average of his career.
  • Myers last led the Sabres in ice time in a season in his rookie season of 2009-10, when he averaged 23:44 per game.

IN THE LINE OF FIRE

  • Josh Gorges ranks second in the NHL with 117 blocked shots despite missing nine games to injury this season.
  • Gorges has blocked 12.7 percent of all opponent shot attempts taken with him on the ice this season, ranking third among NHL defensemen who have played at least 20 games entering play Wednesday. (Shot attempt data via war-on-ice.com)
  • His best full-season on-ice shot blocking percentage was 13.0 percent in 2011-12 with Montreal. No NHL-regular defenseman has topped 14 percent in a full season since the league started counting blocked shots in 2005-06.

FAMILIAR FACES
Three players on each of these teams’ rosters have direct ties to tonight’s opponent:

  • Thomas Vanek was a member of the Sabres for just over eight seasons from 2005-2013. Initially drafted by Buffalo in the first-round (fifth overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft, Vanek finished his career with the Sabres ranked 10th in franchise history in points (497), fifth in goals (254), 13th in assists (243), fourth in power play goals (106) and fourth in game-winning goals (41).
  • Jason Pominville spent the better part of nine seasons as a member of the Sabres (2003-2013), also serving as captain from 2011-2013. During this time, he suited up for a total of 578 games with Buffalo and recorded 456 points (185+271).
  • Keith Ballard was the Sabres’ first selection in the 2002 NHL Draft (11th overall), but did not appear in any games with the team.
  • Torrey Mitchell spent parts of two seasons with the Wild from 2012-2014. He appeared in a total of 103 games and tallied 17 points (5+12).
  • Matt Moulson spent part of the 2013-14 season with the Wild, tallying 13 points (6+7) in 20 games and adding three points (1+2) in 10 playoff games.
  • Cody McCormick also played for the Wild for part of the 2013-14 season, registering two points (1+1) during a span of 14 games. He also contributed one goal in 13 postseason appearances.
  • Each of these three Sabres players were involved in a single trade last year, as Buffalo traded Moulson and McCormick to Minnesota in exchange for Mitchell and two second-round draft picks. Moulson and McCormick returned to the Sabres as free agents on July 1.

BUF-MIN CONNECTIONS
Tyler Ennis:

  • He and Jared Spurgeon were both born in Edmonton, Alberta.

Brian Gionta

  • Played with Thomas Vanek for the Montreal Canadiens during the 2013-14 season.
  • Played with Zach Parise for the New Jersey Devils from 2005-2009.

Josh Gorges

  • Played with Thomas Vanek for the Montreal Canadiens during the 2013-14 season.

Cody Hodgson:          

  • Played with Keith Ballard for the Vancouver Canucks from 2010-2012.

Matt Moulson:

  • Played with Nino Niederreiter for the New York Islanders from 2010-2012. The two were also reunited briefly with the Wild during the 2013-14 season.

Michal Neuvirth:

  • Shares a birthday with Erik Haula. Neuvirth was born on March 23, 1988, and Haula was born three years later on March 23, 1991.

Rasmus Ristolainen:

  • Played with Mikael Granlund for Team Finland at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

Drew Stafford:

  • Played with Jason Pominville, Zach Parise and Keith Ballard for the United States at the 2008 World Hockey Championship.
  • He and Keith Ballard played together in the 2009 Championship as well.
  • Stafford and Zach Parise were teammates at Shattuck-St. Mary’s from 2000-2002 as well as at the University of North Dakota during the 2003-04 season. The two played alongside 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 Championships.

Tyson Strachan:

  • Played with Ryan Carter for the Florida Panthers during the 2011-13 season.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits:
Deslauriers (140), Weber (93), Foligno (92)
Blocked Shots: Gorges (117), Weber (82), Myers (74)
Shots: Ennis (108), Moulson (87), Girgensons (80)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10:
2-8-0 (2), 11/33, 0/32, 33/39
11-20: 3-5-2 (8), 23/36, 4/27, 28/39
21-30: 7-3-0 (14), 22/22, 2/25, 20/25
31-40: 2-7-1 (5), 21/44, 4/27, 19/31
41-50: 0-4-0 (0), 5/14, 1/11, 11/13

OVERTIME RESULTS (1-2; 98-100 all-time)
October 30 vs. Boston: L, 3-2 (GDG-Marchand, 1:20)
December 13 vs. Florida: W, 4-3 (GDG-Zadorov, 0:29)
December 21 at Boston: L, 4-3 (Eriksson, 2:14)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (6-1; 63-47 all-time)
October 14 at Carolina: W, 4-3 (GDG-Girgensons)
November 2 vs. Detroit: W, 3-2 (GDG-Girgensons)

November 5 vs. Montreal: L, 2-1 (GDG-Parenteau)
November 29 at Montreal: W, 4-3 (GDG-Flynn)
December 2 vs. Tampa Bay: W, 2-1 (GDG-Hodgson)
December 15 vs. Ottawa: W, 5-2 (GDG-Moulson)
December 27 vs. NY Islanders: W, 4-3 (GDG-Ennis)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played

Zac Dalpe … 3 games … 100 career games played
Josh Gorges … 5 games … 600 career games played
Points
Torrey Mitchell … 3 points … 100 career points
Brian Gionta … 4 points … 500 career points
Matt Moulson … 8 points … 300 career points
Tyler Ennis … 10 points … 200 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
N/A

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