Game Preview: 2/21/16 vs. PIT

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Friday, February 19
Buffalo 4 at Columbus 0
Goals: McGinn (2), Legwand, Reinhart
Goalie: Lehner (38 saves/38 shots)
PP: 1/5; PK: 6/6; Shots: Columbus 38 – Buffalo 25

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 254)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clot, Oct. 8; injured reserve) – 59 games
Tyler Ennis (upper body, Dec. 31; injured reserve) – 22 games
Cody Franson (neck) – 0 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
2/18:
Assigned F Justin Bailey to Rochester (AHL)
2/19: Activated F Daniel Catenacci from IR; Assigned Catenacci to Rochester (AHL)

UPCOMING GAMES
Wednesday, Feb. 24:
Buffalo at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 26: Buffalo at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 27: Buffalo at Los Angeles, 11 p.m.
Tuesday, March 1: Edmonton at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 3: Calgary at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

TODAY’S GAME
PENGUINS at SABRES

  • This is the second of three meetings between the Sabres and Penguins this season.
  • Next meeting: Tuesday, March 29 in Pittsburgh
  • Last meeting: Pittsburgh defeated Buffalo, 4-3, in Pittsburgh on Oct. 29
  • The Sabres are 2-8-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Penguins; 2-7-1 at home.
  • This is the 181st game all-time between Buffalo and Pittsburgh; Buffalo has a 64-75-41 series record.
  • The Sabres are 40-27-22 at home against the Penguins all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 12-8-3 all-time on February 21.
  • February 21, 2008: Thomas Vanek scores his 100th career goal vs. Toronto.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Today’s game is the eighth of 11 afternoon games for the Sabres this season; the next will be on Saturday, March 5 vs. Minnesota.
  • The last 21 meetings between the Sabres and Penguins have been decided in regulation. The last overtime game between these teams was a 2-1 Penguins shootout win on Dec. 19, 2009 in Buffalo.
  • Evander Kane has 16 points (5+11) in 17 career games against the Penguins, including 12 points (4+8) in his last seven matchups.
  • Ryan O’Reilly has four points (1+3) in his last four games against the Penguins.
  • O’Reilly has nine assists in his last nine games.

KILLING IT
The Sabres have gone 53-for-58 (91.4%) on the penalty kill in their last 20 games, including a 14-for-14 run in the team’s last three games. It is the team’s best 20-game penalty kill percentage since the team went 65-for-71 (91.5%) from Dec. 29, 2009 to Feb. 9, 2010.

HIGHLY RANKED

  • Robin Lehner’s .932 save percentage through 12 games played is the third-best in the league among goalies with at least five games played, trailing only Brian Elliott (32 GP, .934) and Carey Price (12 GP, .934).
  • Evander Kane ranks third in the league with 4.2 shots per game.
  • Ryan O’Reilly (57.0%) ranks eighth in the league in faceoff percentage. O’Reilly leads the league with 1,489 faceoffs taken, accounting for 42.3% of Buffalo’s total faceoffs.

All rankings as of Saturday, Feb. 20

HOME SWEET HOME

  • The Sabres have scored at least four goals in each of the team’s last three home games. If they score at least four goals today, the team will have done so in four straight home games for the first time since the first four home games of the 2007-08 season.
  • With 14 total goals in their last three home games, the Sabres have enjoyed their highest three-game output at home since the team scored 14 goals in three games from Nov. 8 to 16, 2011.
  • Ryan O’Reilly has points in each of his last four home games, totaling seven assists in those four games. O’Reilly hasn’t gone two home games without a point since being blanked on Dec. 15 and 17, and has 11 points (3+8) in 12 home games since then.
  • Jack Eichel has a point in each of his last three home games, tallying a goal and two assists in those games.
  • Evander Kane has seven points (6+1) in his last six home games, including points in each of his last four.
  • Sam Reinhart has six points (4+2) in his last five home games.

ROBBIN’ LEHNER

  • Robin Lehner stopped all 38 shots he faced on Friday at Columbus to earn his third career shutout and first since Jan. 14, 2014 at Minnesota as a member of the Ottawa Senators.
  • In his last three games, Lehner is 2-0-1 with a .980 save percentage and a 0.65 goals-against average, making it the best three-game stretch of his career by both metrics.
  • Lehner enters today’s game with a shutout streak of 117:50, which is already the longest streak of his career.

LOGGING BIG MINUTES

  • Rasmus Ristolainen was ranked 10th in the NHL before Saturday’s games with an average ice time of 25:19 per game. Only Alexei Zhitnik (four times) has averaged more minutes per game in a full season with the Sabres.
  • Entering Saturday’s games, Ryan O’Reilly (21:51) led all NHL forwards in average ice time per game and Evander Kane (20:57) ranked second. The pair currently own the two highest average career ice times by Sabres forwards. Michael Peca (20:18) is the only other forward with an average over 20 minutes.
  • With an average ice time of 23:33 per game in his 63 games played since joining the Sabres last season, Zach Bogosian owns the third-highest average ice time ever recorded by a Sabres player, trailing only Alexei Zhitnik (531 GP, 25:32) and Christian Ehrhoff (192 GP, 23:55).

Note: The NHL began tracking ice time in the 1997-98 season.

YOUNG GUNS

  • Sam Reinhart leads all Sabres with 18 goals this season and Jack Eichel is tied for second with 17. If either player finishes the season with the team lead, he will be the first Sabres rookie to lead the team in goals since Ray Sheppard did so in the 1987-88 season.
  • Eichel has 27 points (8+19) in his last 27 games dating back to Dec. 17, a stretch which included career-best, four-game point streaks from Dec. 30 to Jan. 5 (2+4) and Feb. 12 to 19 (1+4).
  • Eichel entered play Saturday ranked in the top five among NHL rookies in goals (4th, 17), assists (T-2nd, 24), points (2nd, 41) and shots (1st, 173).
  • If they maintain their current pace, Eichel (17+24) and Sam Reinhart (18+9) would be the first pair of Sabres rookies to surpass the 30-point mark since Thomas Vanek (48) and Jason Pominville (30) did so in 2005-06. The Sabres haven’t had two or more rookies reach 35 points in the same season since Ray Sheppard (65), Pierre Turgeon (42) and Calle Johansson (42) each did so in 1987-88.
  • Reinhart (18) and Eichel (17) are also on pace to become the third pair of rookies in Sabres history to each record 20 goals in the same season. The last pair was Danny Gare (31) and Peter McNab (22) in 1974-75.
  • With 41 points (17+24) in 59 games, Eichel is on pace for 57 points this season. If he reaches the 50-point mark, he will become the ninth Sabres rookie to record more than 50 points in a season. He would be the first since Derek Plante (1993-94) and the second-youngest to do so, trailing only Phil Housley (1982-83).

OUTSHOOTING OPPONENTS
The Sabres have outshot their opponents in 25 of 59 games this season, posting a 7-16-2 record in those games. Last season, the team finished the season 5-5-0 in 10 total games when outshooting their opponents.

POSSESSION PROGRESSION
The Sabres have led their opponent in even-strength shot attempts (corsi) in 23 of the team’s 59 games this season, going 9-11-3 in those games. Buffalo only led their opponents in even-strength shot attempts eight times throughout the entire 2014-15 season, going 3-5-0 in those eight games. (Data courtesy of war-on-ice.com)

BUF-PIT CONNECTIONS
Former Sabres:

  • Kevin Porter played in 43 games for the Sabres from 2012 to 2014 and posted 10 points (4+6) and 12 penalty minutes.

Former Penguins:

  • Dan Bylsma became the Penguins’ head coach during the 2008-09 season and led the team to a 18-3-0 record to close the regular season and eventually won the Stanley Cup. Overall, he posted a 252-117-32 record in Pittsburgh in 401 games coached from 2008-09 to 2013-14. He also won the Jack Adams award while with the Penguins after the 2010-11 season.

Carlo Colaiacovo:

  • Played with Ian Cole for the St. Louis Blues from 2010-2012 and again during the 2013-14 season.

Cody Franson:

  • Played alongside Patric Hornqvist for the Nashville Predators from 2009-2011 and again at the end of the 2014-15 season. Matt Cullen was also on the team during the 2014-15 season.
  • Teammates with Phil Kessel for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2011-2015.

Josh Gorges:

  • Played with Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury for Team Canada at the 2004 World Junior Championship.

Johan Larsson:

  • Represented Sweden alongside Patric Hornqvist at the 2012 World Championship.
  • Played with Matt Cullen for the Minnesota Wild during the 2012-13 season.

David Legwand:

  • Legwand, Kevin Porter and Jeff Zatkoff were all born in Detroit, Michigan.
  • Played alongside Patric Hornqvist for the Nashville Predators from 2008-2013.

Matt Moulson:

  • Drafted by the Penguins in the ninth round (263rd overall) of 2003 NHL Draft but never suited up for Pittsburgh.

Ryan O’Reilly:

  • Played with Kevin Porter for the Colorado Avalanche from 2009-2012.
  • Represented Canada alongside Sidney Crosby at the 2015 World Championship.

Rasmus Ristolainen:

  • Represented Finland alongside Olli Maata at the 2012 and 2013 World Junior Championships.

Mike Weber:

  • Weber was born in Pittsburgh.

NHL Draft:

  • Cody Franson (79th overall) and Kris Letang (62nd overall) were both taken in the third round of the 2005 NHL Draft. They also both played for Team Canada at the 2007 World Junior Championship.
  • Ryan O’Reilly (33rd overall by Colorado), Robin Lehner (46th overall by Ottawa) and Brian Dumoulin (51st overall by Carolina) were all second-round picks in the 2009 NHL Draft.
  • Zemgus Girgensons (14th overall) and Olli Maata (22nd overall) were both first-round picks in the 2012 NHL Draft.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits:
Kane (129), Deslauriers (128), Foligno (120)
Blocked Shots: Gorges (116), Ristolainen (98), McCabe (73)
Shots: Kane (203), Eichel (173), Ristolainen (139)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10:
3-7-0 (6), 23/32, 9/35, 19/27
11-20: 5-3-2 (12), 21/21, 5/27, 23/29
21-30: 4-5-1 (9), 29/28, 8/29, 20/23
31-40: 3-6-1 (7), 20/27, 4/35, 17/21
41-50: 5-5-0 (10), 22/26, 6/25, 26/28
51-60: 4-2-3 (11), 26/26, 4/31, 26/29

OVERTIME RESULTS (2-2; 100-103 all-time)
Oct. 27 at PHI: W, 4-3 (GWG-Girgensons, 2:29)

Nov. 14 vs. SJS: L, 2-1 (GWG-Marleau, 2:59)
Dec. 12 vs. LAK: W, 2-1 (GWG-O’Reilly, 3:19)
Feb. 6 at BOS: L, 2-1 (GWG-Marchand, 2:32)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (1-5; 66-56 all-time)
Oct. 21 vs. TOR: W, 2-1 (GDG-Moulson)

Nov. 19 at STL: L, 3-2 (GDG-Steen)
Dec. 1 at DET: L, 5-4 (GDG-Richards)
Dec. 19 vs. CHI: L, 3-2 (GDG-Kane)
Feb. 4 vs. BOS: L, 3-2 (GDG-Spooner)
Feb. 16 at OTT: L, 2-1 (GDG-Ryan)

UPCOMING MILESTONES (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played

Robin Lehner … 2 games … 100 career games played
Assists
Josh Gorges … 2 assists … 100 career assists
Points
Ryan O’Reilly … 5 points … 300 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
Brian Gionta … 900th NHL game … Feb. 16 at OTT

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