Game Preview: 12/20/16 at FLA


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Saturday, December 17
Buffalo 1 at Carolina 2 (SO)
Goals: Kane
Goalie: Nilsson (21 saves/22 shots)
PP: 0/0; PK: 1/1; Shots: Buffalo 24 – Carolina 22

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 156)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 30 games
Tyler Ennis (groin, Nov. 9; injured reserve) – 18 games

Activated D Taylor Fedun from IR; Assigned Fedun to Rochester (AHL)

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.
Saturday, Dec. 31: Buffalo at Boston, 1 p.m.


  • This is the second of four meetings between the Sabres and Panthers this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Florida 3-0 in Buffalo on Oct. 29
  • Next meeting: Monday, March 27 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 3-7-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Panthers; 4-4-2 on the road.
  • This is the 90th game all-time between Buffalo and Florida; Buffalo has a 47-35-7 series record.
  • The Sabres are 21-19-3 on the road against the Panthers all-time.


  • The Sabres are 7-8-5 all-time on December 20.
  • December 20, 1996: Tony Tanti records his only hat trick as a member of the Sabres in a 4-4 tie vs. Edmonton.
  • December 20, 2011: Marcus Foligno makes his NHL debut in a 4-1 loss at Ottawa.


  • The Sabres enter tonight’s game with a 7-3-3 record (.654) in their last 13 games.
  • Buffalo was ranked fourth in the NHL in power play percentage (22.9%), seventh in team faceoff percentage (51.6%) and 10th in goals against per game (2.50) before Monday’s games.
  • With a win tonight, the Sabres would have wins in consecutive meetings with the Panthers for the first time since they won three in a row from Feb. 10 to Oct. 20, 2011.


  • Ryan O’Reilly has 13 points (5+8) in his last 11 games against Florida, including points in nine of those contests and four two-point games.
  • Evander Kane has 15 points (10+5) in his last 14 games against the Panthers, but hasn’t recorded a point in his last three visits to Sunrise.
  • Kyle Okposo has recorded a point in nine of his last 11 games against Florida (4+5), including a goal in each of his last two.
  • Sam Reinhart has totaled five points (4+1) in his last four games against the Panthers.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has five assists in his last five games against Florida.

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 300-164-50 record (.632), trailing only Bruce Boudreau (.660), Scotty Bowman (.657) and Toe Blake (.634).
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Bylsma would become the second-fastest coach in NHL history to reach the 300-win mark:


300th Win

Bruce Boudreau


Feb. 28, 2014 vs. St. Louis

Dan Bylsma


Dec. 20, 2016 at Florida*

Todd McLellan


Feb. 13, 2015 at Arizona

Toe Blake


Jan. 3, 1963 vs. Boston

Mike Babcock


Dec. 17, 2009 vs. Tampa Bay

*With a win tonight


  • Rasmus Ristolainen has 13 points (2+11) in his last 12 games, including 12 points (2+10) his last eight.
  • Kyle Okposo has 12 points (4+8) in his last 12 games.
  • Ryan O’Reilly has eight points (3+5) in his last nine games.
  • Jack Eichel has 14 points (6+8) in his last 14 games dating back to last season, including eight points (5+3) in nine games in 2016-17.
  • Evander Kane has eight points (5+3) in his last nine games.

Rasmus Ristolainen
entered play Monday tied for 14th among all NHL skaters with 19 assists.

  • Ristolainen has recorded an assist on 30.6 percent of his teammates’ goals*. Entering play Monday, it was the third-highest such percentage in the league, trailing only Connor McDavid (33.3%) and Erik Karlsson (33.3%).
    • 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 his teammates’ next 23 goals to fall behind this pace.

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

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before Dec. 19 games)

  • Eichel: .56 G/GP (5th), 1.75 G/60 (8th)
  • Foligno: 94 hits (T-7th)
  • Moulson: 7 PPG (T-3rd)
  • Nilsson: .956 EV SV% (1st), .933 SV% (6th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:43 TOI/GP (1st, forwards), 58.0 FO% (7th)
  • Ristolainen: 11 PPA (T-2nd), 26:37 TOI/GP (5th), 12 PPP (2nd, defensemen), 19 A (T-3rd, defensemen), 21 PTS (T-6th, defensemen)


  • 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 nine games of the season, Eichel has recorded eight points (5+3).
  • The Sabres have a 5-2-2 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.

Buffalo’s goaltenders had the seventh-best combined save percentage* (.925) in the league entering play Monday. They also had the fifth-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 three times in franchise history: 1998-99 (.930, Dominik Hasek/Dwayne Roloson/Martin Biron), 1997-98 (.928, Hasek/Steve Shields) and 1996-97 (.926, Hasek/Shields/Andrei Trefilov)

*Combined save percentage excludes empty net goals

Former Sabres:

  • Mark Pysyk was selected by the Sabres in the first round (23rd overall) in the 2010 NHL Draft. In 125 games during four seasons with the Sabres, Pysyk recorded 26 points (5+21).
  • Dave Barr served as assistant coach on Dan Bylsma’s coaching staff during the 2015-16 season.

Former Panthers:

  • Dmitry Kulikov played seven seasons in Florida before being acquired by the Sabres on June 25, 2016. Kulikov was the second-ranked defenseman in goals (28), assists (110) and points (138) in 460 games for the Panthers from 2009-2016.

Cody Franson:

  • Played with James Reimer for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2010-2015.

Zemgus Girgensons:

  • Spent the 2011-12 season playing with Michael Matheson for the Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL).

Jake McCabe:

  • Represented the United States alongside Vincent Trochek at the 2013 World Junior Championship and the 2014 World Championship.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Represented the United States alongside Keith Yandle at the 2010 World Championship.

Ryan O’Reilly:

  • He and Aaron Ekblad share a birth date. O’Reilly was born on Feb. 7, 1991, and Ekblad was born on Feb. 7, 1996. The two also played together for Team Canada at the 2015 World Championship.
  • Played alongside Michael Matheson for Team Canada in the 2016 World Championship.

Rasmus Ristolainen:

  • Represented Finland at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey alongside Aleksander Barkov and Jussi Jokinen.
  • Also played with Barkov at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

NHL Draft:

  • Nicolas Deslauriers (84th overall) and Reilly Smith (69th overall) were both taken in the third round of the 2009 NHL Draft.
  • Johan Larsson (56th overall by Minnesota) and Alex Petrovic (36th overall) were both selected in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen (8th overall) and Alexander Barkov (2nd overall) were both selected in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
  • Sam Reinhart (2nd overall) and Aaron Ekblad (1st overall) were the top two picks in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Foligno (94), Ristolainen (83), Carrier/Gorges (61)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (57), Gorges (48), McCabe (39)
Shots: O’Reilly (80), Okposo (77), Ristolainen (71)

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: 5-3-2 (12), 31/26, 8/30, 13/24

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 (1-4; 68-62 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)
Dec. 17 at CAR: L. 2-1 (GDG-Stempniak)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)

Dan Bylsma … 1 win … 300 NHL wins
Games Played
Marcus Foligno … 3 games … 300 NHL games
Jack Eichel … 10 games … 100 NHL games
Cody Franson … 7 points … 200 NHL points
Kyle Okposo … 9 points … 400 NHL points


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