Game Preview: 12/22/16 vs. CAR


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Tuesday, December 20
Buffalo 3 at Florida 4 (SO)
Goals: Reinhart, Kane, Ristolainen
Goalie: Lehner (36 saves/39 shots)
PP: 1/3; PK: 3/4; Shots: Florida 39 – Buffalo 36

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

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 31 games
Tyler Ennis (groin, Nov. 9; injured reserve) – 19 games

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

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.
Tuesday, Jan. 3: Buffalo at NY Rangers, 7 p.m.


  • This is the second of three meetings between the Sabres and Hurricanes this season.
  • Last meeting: Carolina defeated Buffalo 2-1 (SO) in Carolina on Dec. 17
  • Next meeting: Friday, Jan. 13 in Carolina
  • The Sabres are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Hurricanes; 6-4-0 at home.
  • This is the 197th game all-time between Buffalo and Carolina/Hartford; Buffalo has a 102-69-25 series record.
  • The Sabres are 58-31-8 at home against the Hurricanes/Whalers all-time.


  • The Sabres are 6-10-3 all-time on December 22.
  • December 22, 1974: Don Luce scores two shorthanded goals and an even strength goal in 3:49 in a 4-0 win at Washington. Luce also picked up an assist on the other Buffalo goal.
  • December 22, 1977: Rene Robert scores the 2,000th goal in franchise history in a 4-2 win at Chicago.


  • The Sabres enter tonight’s game with a 7-3-4 record (.643) in their last 14 games.
  • Buffalo was ranked fourth in the NHL in power play percentage (23.2%), ninth in team faceoff percentage (51.5%) and 10th in goals against per game (2.52) before Wednesday’s games.
  • The Sabres are 4-0-1 in their last five games against the Hurricanes and are looking to extend their point streak to six games for the first time since the team went 5-0-1 against the Whalers from Oct. 23, 1994 to April 4, 1995.
  • Buffalo has won each of its last four home games against Carolina. A win tonight would extend that streak to five regular-season games for the first time since Oct. 20, 2006 to Jan. 17, 2009.
  • Brian Gionta has seven points (3+4) in his last seven games against Carolina.
  • Matt Moulson has 19 points (6+13) in his last 18 games against the Hurricanes.
  • Evander Kane has four points (2+2) in his last four games against Carolina.
  • Marcus Foligno has a point in each of his last three games against the Hurricanes (1+2).

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 300-164-51 record (.632), trailing only Bruce Boudreau (.660), Scotty Bowman (.657) and Toe Blake (.634).
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Bylsma would tie Todd McLellan as the second-fastest coach in NHL history to reach the 300-win mark:
Coach Games 300th Win
Bruce Boudreau 496 Feb. 28, 2014 vs. St. Louis
Dan Bylsma 515 Dec. 22, 2016 vs. Carolina*
Todd McLellan 515 Feb. 13, 2015 at Arizona
Toe Blake 525 Jan. 3, 1963 vs. Boston
Mike Babcock 526 Dec. 17, 2009 vs. Tampa Bay

*With a win tonight


  • Rasmus Ristolainen has 15 points (3+12) in his last 13 games, including 14 points (3+101 his last nine.
  • Kyle Okposo has 12 points (4+8) in his last 13 games.
  • Ryan O’Reilly has nine points (3+6) in his last 10 games.
  • Evander Kane has nine points (6+3) in his last 10 games.

Rasmus Ristolainen
entered play Wednesday tied for 12th among all NHL skaters with 20 assists.

  • Ristolainen has recorded an assist on 31.3 percent of his teammates’ goals*. Entering play Wednesday, it was the third-highest such percentage in the league, trailing only Connor McDavid (33.3%) and Erik Karlsson (32.9%).
    • 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 25 goals to fall behind this pace.

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

Tonight’s game opens up Buffalo’s fifth of a league-high 19 sets of back-to-back games this season, which continues tomorrow at NY Islanders. The Sabres are 2-0-2 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 2-1-1 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 (2), two points (0), one point (1) and zero points (0).

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before Dec. 21 games)

  • Eichel: .50 G/GP (5th)
  • Foligno: 96 hits (10th)
  • Moulson: 7 PPG (T-4th)
  • Nilsson: .956 EV SV% (2nd), .933 SV% (5th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:42 TOI/GP (2nd, forwards), 57.0 FO% (9th)
  • Ristolainen: 12 PPA (T-1st), 26:41 TOI/GP (5th), 13 PPP (T-6th), 20 A (T-3rd, defensemen), 23 PTS (T-4th, defensemen)

Buffalo’s goaltenders had the sixth-best combined save percentage* (.925) in the league entering play Wednesday. 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 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

Local Ties:

  • Lee Stempniak was born in West Seneca, New York. He played for the Buffalo Lightning of the Ontario Junior Hockey League during the 2000-01 season.

Dan Bylsma:

  • Coached Jordan Staal for the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2009-2012.
  • Coached Lee Stempniak for the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2013-14 season.

Zach Bogosian: 

  • Represented the United States alongside Ron Hainsey and Lee Stempniak at the 2009 World Championship. Bogosian and Hainsey also played together from 2008-2011 for the Atlanta Thrashers and from 2011-2013 for the Winnipeg Jets.

Nicolas Deslauriers:

  • Shares a birthday with Andrej Nestrasil. Both players were born on Feb. 22, 1991. The two were also drafted in the third round of the 2009 NHL Draft. Nestrasil went 75th overall, and Deslauriers was taken 84th overall.

Jack Eichel:

  • Played with Jaccob Slavin for the United States at the 2014 World Junior Championship.
  • Represented the United States alongside Justin Faulk at the 2015 World Championship.

Cody Franson:

  • Teammates with Jay McClement for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2012-2014.

Evander Kane:

  • Played with Ron Hainsey from 2009-2011 for the Atlanta Thrashers and from 2011-2013 for the Winnipeg Jets.
  • Played with Jeff Skinner for Team Canada at the 2011 and 2012 World Championships. Cam Ward was also on the 2012 squad.

Johan Larsson:

  • Skated alongside Viktor Stalberg for Sweden at the 2012 World Championship.

Anders Nilsson:

  • Represented Sweden alongside Elias Lindholm and Victor Rask at the 2015 World Championship.

Ryan O’Reilly:     

  • Played with Jay McClement for the Colorado Avalanche from 2010-2012.
  • Played with Jeff Skinner for Team Canada at the 2012 and 2013 World Championships. Cam Ward was also on the team in 2012 and Jordan Staal was on the 2013 squad.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Played with Lee Stempniak and Ron Hainesy for the United States at the 2009 World Championship.

Rasmus Ristolainen:

  • Played with Teuvo Teravainen for Finland at the 2013 and 2014 World Junior Championships. The two were also teammates on the 2012 Finland World U18 Championship squad.

NHL Draft:           

  • Kyle Okposo (7th overall) and Jordan Staal (2nd overall) were both first-round selections in the 2006 NHL Draft.
  • Johan Larsson (56th overall) and Justin Faulk (37th overall) were both second-round picks in the 2010 NHL Draft.
  • Zemgus Girgensons (14th overall) and Teuvo Teravainen (18th overall) were selected in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft.
  • Elias Lindholm (5th overall) and Rasmus Ristolainen (8th overall) were both selected in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
  • Jack Eichel (2nd overall) and Noah Hanifin (5th overall) were both first-round picks in the 2015 NHL Draft. They also played together for the United States during the 2015 World Junior Championship.

Foligno (96), Ristolainen (84), Gorges (63)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (59), Gorges (50), McCabe (39)
Shots: O’Reilly (81), Okposo (78), Ristolainen (72)

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
31-40: 0-0-1 (1), 3/4, 1/3, 3/4

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 (1-5; 68-63 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)
Dec. 20 at FLA: L, 4-3 (GDG-Trocheck)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)

Dan Bylsma … 1 win … 300 NHL wins
Games Played
Marcus Foligno … 2 games … 300 NHL games
Jack Eichel … 9 games … 100 NHL games
Cody Franson … 10 games … 500 NHL games
Cody Franson … 6 points … 200 NHL points
Kyle Okposo … 9 points … 400 NHL points



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