Game Preview: 12/23/16 at NYI


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Thursday, December 22
Carolina 3 at Buffalo 1
Goals: Larsson
Goalie: Lehner (31 saves/33 shots); 1 ENG
PP: 0/2; PK: 4/4; Shots: Carolina 34 – Buffalo 23

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 161)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 32 games
Tyler Ennis (groin, Nov. 9; injured reserve) – 20 games
Cody Franson (undisclosed, Dec. 22) – 1 game

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

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.
Thursday, Jan. 5: Buffalo at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.


  • This is second of three meetings between the Sabres and Islanders this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated New York 3-2 in Buffalo on Dec. 16
  • Next meeting: Sunday, April 2 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Islanders; 6-4-0 on the road.
  • This is the 164th game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo has an 80-60-23 series record.
  • The Sabres are 36-34-11 on the road against the Islanders all-time.


  • The Sabres are 17-9-4 all-time on December 23.
  • December 23, 1989: Phil Housley records five points (1+4) in a 6-5 win over the Quebec Nordiques, earning his share of the Sabres’ record for most points in one game by a defenseman.
  • December 23, 2013: The Sabres top the Coyotes 2-1 in overtime despite dressing only 16 skaters and losing Drew Stafford to a game misconduct in the second period.


  • The Sabres enter tonight’s game with a 7-4-4 record (.600) in their last 15 games.
  • If he dresses, Marcus Foligno will become the 75th player to appear in 300 regular-season NHL games for the Sabres. Among current Sabres, only Tyler Ennis (380) has played more.
  • With a win or overtime loss tonight, the Sabres would have points in five consecutive road games in a season (excludes streaks that span seasons) for the first time since March 2012.
  • The last two games between these teams were both Sabres overtime wins. The teams have never been tied after regulation in three consecutive meetings.
  • Fourteen of the last 18 games between these teams have been decided by a single goal.
  • Matt Moulson has seven points (6+1) in eight career games against the Islanders.
  • Brian Gionta has recorded four points (2+2) in his last four games against the Islanders.

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 300-165-51 record (.631), trailing only Bruce Boudreau (.660), Scotty Bowman (.657) and Toe Blake (.634).
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Bylsma become the third-fastest coach in NHL history to reach the 300-win mark:
Coach Games 300th Win
Bruce Boudreau 496 Feb. 28, 2014 vs. St. Louis
Todd McLellan 515 Feb. 13, 2015 at Arizona
Dan Bylsma 516 Dec. 23, 2016 at NY Islanders*
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 14 games, including 14 points (3+11) his last 10.
  • Kyle Okposo has 12 points (4+8) in his last 14 games.
  • Ryan O’Reilly has nine points (3+6) in his last 11 games.
  • Evander Kane has nine points (6+3) in his last 11 games.
  • Sam Reinhart has six points (4+2) in his last six road games.

Rasmus Ristolainen
finished last night’s game tied for 12th among all NHL skaters with 20 assists.

  • Ristolainen has recorded an assist on 30.8 percent of his teammates’ goals*. After last night’s game, it was the third-highest such percentage in the league, trailing only Erik Karlsson (32.9%) and Connor McDavid (32.2%).
    • 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 24 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 wraps up Buffalo’s fifth of a league-high 19 sets of back-to-back games this season, which began last night with a 3-1 loss vs. Carolina. The Sabres are 2-1-2 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 after last night’s game)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 22.8% PP% (4th), 51.8% FO% (6th), 2.53 GA/GP (10th)
  • Foligno: 101 hits (9th)
  • Moulson: 7 PPG (T-4th)
  • Nilsson: .956 EV SV% (2nd), .933 SV% (5th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:4. TOI/GP (2nd, forwards), 57.4 FO% (9th)
  • Ristolainen: 12 PPA (2nd), 26:43 TOI/GP (5th), 13 PPP (T-8th), 20 A (T-3rd, defensemen), 23 PTS (T-4th, defensemen)

Buffalo’s goaltenders had the fifth-best combined save percentage* (.925) 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 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:

  • Jaroslav Halak was a member of the Sabres for six days during the 2013-14 season. He was acquired from the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 28 before being dealt to the Washington Capitals on March 5, and did not appear in a game during his brief stint in Buffalo.

Former Islanders:

  • Matt Moulson played for the Islanders from 2009-2013, registering 223 points (118+105) in 223 games.
  • Anders Nilsson was a third-round (62nd overall) selection by the Islanders in the 2009 NHL Draft. Over the course of two seasons with the team, Nilsson appeared in 23 games and had a 9-9-2 record with a .898 save percentage and a 3.05 goals against average.
  • Kyle Okposo was selected by New York in the first round (7th overall) of the 2006 NHL Draft. Okposo spent nine years in the Islanders organization and compiled 369 points (139+230) in 529 games.

Zach Bogosian:

  • Teammates with Andrew Ladd for the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets from 2010-2015.

Nicolas Deslauriers:

  • Played with Thomas Hickey for the Manchester Monarchs (AHL) from 2011-2013. Jean-Francois Berube was also a member of the team from 2012-14.

Jack Eichel:

  • Represented the United States alongside Anders Lee and Brock Nelson the 2015 World Championship.

Justin Falk:

  • Was a member of the Minnesota Wild organization from 2009-2013 along with Cal Clutterbuck.
  • Played for the Calgary Hitmen (WHL) during the 2004-05 season along with Andrew Ladd.

Marcus Foligno:

  • Played with Calvin de Haan and Casey Cizikas for Team Canada for the 2011 World Junior Championship held in Buffalo.

Cody Franson:

  • Played with Nikolay Kulemin for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2011-2014.

Josh Gorges:

  • Played with Jaroslav Halak for the Montreal Canadiens from 2006-2010.

Brian Gionta:

  • Played with Jaroslav Halak for the Montreal Canadiens during the 2009-10 season.

Evander Kane:

  • Teammates with John Tavares for Team Canada at the 2010, 2011 and 2012 World Championships. Cal Clutterbuck was also a member of the 2011 team.
  • Played with Andrew Ladd for the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets from 2010-2015. The two also represented Canada at the 2011 and 2012 World Championships.

Dmitry Kulikov:

  • Represented Russia at the 2010 World Championship alongside Nikolay Kulemin.
  • Was teammates with Dennis Seidenberg for the Florida Panthers during the 2009-10 season.

Johan Larsson:

  • Played with Cal Clutterbuck for the Minnesota Wild during the 2012-13 season.

Jake McCabe:

  • Played with Brock Nelson for the United States at the 2014 and 2016 World Championships.

Ryan O’Reilly:

  • Played with Calvin de Haan for Team Canada at the 2009 World U18 Championship.
  • Represented Canada alongside Andrew Ladd at the 2012 and 2013 World Championships. John Tavares was also a member of the 2012 team.

2009 World Junior Championship:

  • Evander Kane, John Tavares and Thomas Hickey all played for Canada at the 2009 World Junior Championship.

NHL Draft:

  • Matt Moulson (263rd overall) and Jaroslav Halak (271st overall) were both chosen in the ninth round of the 2003 NHL Draft.
  • Zach Bogosian and Josh Bailey were both first-round selections in the 2008 NHL Draft. Bogosian was picked third overall and Bailey was the ninth pick.
  • Evander Kane (4th overall), John Tavares (1st overall), Calvin de Haan (12th overall) and Nick Leddy (16th overall) were all taken in the first round of the 2009 NHL Draft.
  • Marcus Foligno (104th overall), Casey Cizikas (92nd overall) and Jean-Francois Berube (95th overall) were all drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Draft.

Foligno (101), Ristolainen (87), Gorges (65)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (62), Gorges (50), McCabe (41)
Shots: O’Reilly (82), Okposo (79), Reinhart/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: 0-1-1 (1), 4/7, 1/5, 7/8

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 … 1 game … 300 NHL games
Jack Eichel … 8 games … 100 NHL games
Cody Franson … 9 games … 500 NHL games
Cody Franson … 6 points … 200 NHL points
Kyle Okposo … 9 points … 400 NHL points



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