Game Preview: 12/17/16 at CAR

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Friday, December 16
NY Islanders 2 at Buffalo 3 (OT)
Goals: Larsson, Moulson, Ristolainen
Goalie: Lehner (33 saves/35 shots)
PP: 1/3; PK: 0/1; Shots: Buffalo 37 – NY Islanders 35

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 154)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 29 games
Zach Bogosian (MCL sprain, Nov. 3) – 20 games
Tyler Ennis (groin, Nov. 9; injured reserve) – 17 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
12/13:
Placed D Taylor Fedun on IR (retroactive to 12/3)
12/17: Activated D Taylor Fedun from IR; Assigned Fedun to Rochester (AHL)

UPCOMING GAMES
Tuesday, Dec. 20:
Buffalo at Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 22: Carolina at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 23: Buffalo at NY Islanders, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 27: Buffalo at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 29: Boston at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at HURRICANES

  • This is the first of three meetings between the Sabres and Hurricanes this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Carolina 3-2 in Carolina on March 22
  • Next meeting: Thursday, Dec. 22 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Hurricanes; 4-5-1 on the road.
  • This is the 196th game all-time between Buffalo and Carolina/Hartford; Buffalo has a 102-69-24 series record.
  • The Sabres are 44-38-16 on the road against the Hurricanes/Whalers all-time.

THIS DAY IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 9-9-1 all-time on December 17.
  • December 17, 1978: Danny Gare scores seven seconds after the opening faceoff in a 6-3 win vs. Vancouver.
  • December 17, 1983: Adam Creighton gets his first NHL point in his NHL debut, assisting on the game-winning goal in a 4-1 win at Hartford.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres enter tonight’s game with a 7-3-2 record in their last 12 games.
  • Buffalo was ranked third in the NHL in power play percentage (22.9%), sixth in team faceoff percentage (51.9%) and 10th in goals against per game (2.55) after last night’s game.
  • The Sabres are looking to extend their winning streak against the Hurricanes to five games for the first time since April 18 to Dec. 28, 2006.
  • Brian Gionta enters tonight’s game on a six-game point streak against the Hurricanes dating back to Feb. 8, 2014, and has seven points (3+4) in those games.
  • Matt Moulson has 19 points (6+13) in his last 17 games against the Hurricanes.
  • Kyle Okposo has tallied 12 points (5+7) in 12 career visits to Carolina.
  • Jack Eichel had three goals in three games against the Hurricanes last season, including two of his seven career game-winning goals.
  • Evander Kane had three points (1+2) in three games against Carolina last season.
  • Johan Larsson has three points (2+1) in three career games against the Hurricanes.

MR. 300
With a win tonight, Dan Bylsma would become the 47th head coach in NHL history to record 300 regular-season wins. Among coaches with at least 300 career wins, Bylsma would rank fourth with a 300-164-49 record (.633), trailing only Bruce Boudreau (.659), Scotty Bowman (.657) and Toe Blake (.634).

WHO’S HOT?

  • Rasmus Ristolainen has 13 points (2+11) in his last 11 games, including 12 (2+10) his last seven. He is currently on a career-best five-game point streak that has included two overtime goals.
  • Kyle Okposo has 12 points (4+8) in his last 11 games.
  • Ryan O’Reilly has eight points (3+5) in his last eight games.
  • Jack Eichel has 14 points (6+8) in his last 13 games dating back to last season, including eight points (5+3) in eight games in 2016-17.
  • Evander Kane has seven points (4+3) in his last eight games.

ASSIST-OLAINEN
Rasmus Ristolainen
finished last night’s game tied for 12th among all NHL skaters with 19 assists.

  • Ristolainen has recorded an assist on 31.1 percent of his teammates’ goals*. After last night’s game, it was the fourth-highest such percentage in the league, trailing only Erik Karlsson (35.0%), Connor McDavid (33.8%) and Vladimir Tarasenko (31.4%).
    • This would rank as the second-highest percentage in franchise history, behind only Pat LaFontaine (33.7%) in 1992-93.
  • Only one Sabres defenseman has ever recorded an assist on more than 20 percent of his teammates’ goals: Phil Housley (22.6%) in 1989-90.
    • Ristolainen would need to fail to record an assist on each of the Sabres’ next 25 goals to fall behind this pace.

*Teammate goals are defined as total team goals minus the player’s goals and shootout-winners.

BACK-TO-BACK
Tonight’s game wraps up Buffalo’s fourth of a league-high 19 sets of back-to-back games this season, which began last night with a 3-2 overtime win vs. NY Islanders. The Sabres are 2-0-2 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 2-1-0 in the second game so far this season. Buffalo’s point breakdown in previous back-to-back sets this season is: four points (1), three points (1), two points (0), one point (1) and zero points (0).

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings after last night’s game)

  • Eichel: .63 G/GP (3rd), 1.00 PTS/GP (T-9th)
  • Foligno: 92 hits (T-7th)
  • Moulson: 7 PPG (T-2nd)
  • Okposo: 12 PPP (T-10th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:47 TOI/GP (1st, forwards), 59.0 FO% (6th)
  • Ristolainen: 11 PPA (T-2nd), 26:39 TOI/GP (5th), 12 PPP (T-10th), 19 A (T-3rd, defensemen)

RETURN OF THE JACK

  • Jack Eichel returned to the Sabres‘ lineup on Nov. 29 at Ottawa after missing the team’s first 21 games with a high-ankle sprain. In his first eight games of the season, Eichel has recorded eight points (5+3).
  • The Sabres have a 5-2-1 record this season with Eichel in the lineup and have improved to 28-14-4 (.652) in Eichel’s career when he records a point and 11-3-1 (.767) when he has at least two.

LAST LINE OF DEFENSE

  • Buffalo’s goaltenders had the seventh-best combined save percentage* (.924) in the league after last night’s game. They also had the sixth-best save percentage during 5-on-5 play (.937).
  • The Sabres last finished a season with a combined save percentage* above .920 in the 2009-10 season (.924, Ryan Miller/Patrick Lalime/Jhonas Enroth) and have topped the team’s current mark only four times in franchise history: 1998-99 (.930, Dominik Hasek/Dwayne Roloson/Martin Biron), 1997-98 (.928, Hasek/Steve Shields), 1996-97 (.926, Hasek/Shields/Andrei Trefilov), 2009-10 (.924, Miller/Lalime/Enroth)

*Combined save percentage excludes empty net goals

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits:
Foligno (92), Ristolainen (82), Gorges (60)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (56), Gorges (47), McCabe (39)
Shots: O’Reilly (79), Okposo (76), Ristolainen (70)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10:
4-4-2 (10), 23/24, 8/35, 26/31
11-20: 3-4-3 (9), 15/26, 6/31, 28/36
21-30: 5-3-1 (11), 30/24, 8/30, 12/23

OVERTIME RESULTS (2-3; 104-108 all-time)
Oct. 18 at CGY: L, 4-3 (GWG-Monahan)
Nov. 11 vs. NJD: L, 2-1 (GWG-Greene)
Dec. 5 at WSH: L, 3-2 (GWG-Johansson)
Dec. 6 vs. EDM: W, 4-3 (GWG-Ristolainen)
Dec. 16 vs. NYI: W, 3-2 (GWG-Ristolainen)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (1-3; 68-61 all-time)
Oct. 25 at PHI: L, 4-3 (GDG-Giroux)
Nov. 9 vs. OTT: L, 2-1 (GDG-Ryan)
Nov. 19 vs. PIT: W, 2-1 (GDG-C. O’Reilly)
Nov. 23 vs. DET: L, 2-1 (GDG-Vanek)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Wins

Dan Bylsma … 1 win … 300 NHL wins
Games Played
Marcus Foligno … 4 games … 300 NHL games
Points
Cody Franson … 7 points … 200 NHL points
Kyle Okposo … 9 points … 400 NHL points

RECENT MILESTONES
N/A

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