Game Preview: 12/27/16 at DET


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Friday, December 23
Buffalo 1 at NY Islanders 5
Goals: Girgensons
Goalie: Nilsson (27 saves/32 shots)
PP: 0/2; PK: 1/2; Shots: NY Islanders 32 – Buffalo 29

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 164)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 33 games
Tyler Ennis (groin, Nov. 9; injured reserve) – 21 games
Cody Franson (undisclosed, Dec. 22) – 2 games


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.
Saturday, Jan. 7: Winnipeg at Buffalo, 1 p.m.


  • This is second of four meetings between the Sabres and Red Wings this season.
  • Last meeting: Detroit defeated Buffalo 2-1 (OT) in Buffalo on Nov. 23
  • Next meeting: Friday, Jan/ 20 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Red Wings; 1-7-2 on the road.
  • This is the 131st game all-time between Buffalo and Detroit; Buffalo has a 55-57-18 series record.
  • The Sabres are 20-38-8 on the road against the Red Wings all-time.


  • The Sabres are 12-7-2 all-time on December 27.
  • December 27, 2003: Jason Pominville makes his NHL debut in a 3-1 win at Washington.
  • December 27, 2014: Goals from Nicolas Deslauriers, Zemgus Girgensons and Chris Stewart erase a 3-0 third-period deficit as the Sabres earn a 4-3 home win against the Islanders in a shootout.


  • Brian Gionta has a point (1+1) in each of his last two games against the Red Wings.
  • Zemgus Girgensons has three points (2+1) in his last three games in Detroit.
  • In his last three trips to Detroit, Rasmus Ristolainen has totaled five assists.

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 300-166-51 record (.630), trailing only Bruce Boudreau (.661), 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 517 Dec. 27, 2016 at Detroit*
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 15 games, including 14 points (3+11) his last 11.
  • Ryan O’Reilly has five points (2+3) in his last five road games.
  • Sam Reinhart has seven points (4+3) in his last seven road games and enters tonight’s game on a three-game point streak (1+4).

Rasmus Ristolainen
is tied for 16th among all NHL skaters with 20 assists.

  • Ristolainen has recorded an assist on 30.3 percent of his teammates’ goals*. It is the third-highest such percentage in the league, trailing only Connor McDavid (40.0%) and Erik Karlsson (32.0%).
    • 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)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 22.3% PP% (4th), 51.7% FO% (7th)
  • Foligno: 104 hits (9th)
  • Moulson: 7 PPG (T-4th)
  • Nilsson: .946 EV SV% (4th), .925 SV% (10th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:31 TOI/GP (3rd, forwards), 57.0 FO% (9th)
  • Ristolainen: 12 PPA (2nd), 13 PPP (T-9th), 20 A (T-4th, defensemen), 23 PTS (T-5th, defensemen)


Buffalo’s goaltenders have the sixth-best combined save percentage* (.923) in the league. They also have the sixth-best save percentage during 5-on-5 play (.934).

  • 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) and 2009-10 (.924, Miller/Lalime/Enroth).

*Combined save percentage excludes empty net goals

Former Red Wings:

  • Thomas Vanek was a member of the Sabres for just over eight seasons from 2005-2013. Drafted by Buffalo in the first round (5th overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft, Vanek finished his career with the Sabres ranked 10th in franchise history in points (497), fifth in goals (254), 13th in assists (243), fourth in power-play goals (106) and fourth in game-winning goals (41).
  • Steve Ott played for Buffalo for parts of two seasons from 2012-2014. Appearing in a total of 107 games with the club, Ott registered 44 points (18+26).
  • Terry Murray played one season for the Red Wings, totaling seven assists and 10 penalty minutes in 23 games during the 1976-77 campaign.

Jack Eichel:

  • Played with Dylan Larkin in the United States NTDP from 2012-2014. They also represented the United States at the 2015 World Junior Championship and World Championship and played together for for Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Brian Gionta:

  • Played with Thomas Vanek for the Montreal Canadiens during the 2013-14 season.

Josh Gorges:

  • Played with Thomas Vanek for the Montreal Canadiens during the 2013-14 season.

Evander Kane:

  • Played with Steve Ott for Team Canada at the 2010 World Championship.

Johan Larsson:

  • Played with Niklas Kronwall, Henrik Zetterberg and Jonathan Ericsson for Sweden at the 2012 World Championship.

Jake McCabe:

  • Played with Danny DeKeyser for the United States at the 2014 World Championship.

Anders Nilsson:

  • Played with Jonathan Ericsson for Team Sweden at the 2010 World Championship.
  • Represented Sweden alongside Gustav Nyquist at the 2014 World Championship.
  • Teammates with Steve Ott for the St. Louis Blues for part of the 2015-16 season.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Played with Frans Nielsen for the New York Islanders from 2007-2016. Thomas Vanek was also a part of the team during part of the 2013-14 season.

Sam Reinhart:

  • Teammates with Anthony Mantha for Team Canada at the 2014 World Junior Championship.

Local Players:

  • Riley Sheahan was born in St. Catharines, Ontario.

NHL Draft:

  • Derek Grant (119th overall) and Gustav Nyquist (121st overall) were both fourth-round picks in the 2008 NHL Draft.
  • Ryan O’Reilly (33rd overall), Robin Lehner (46th overall) and Tomas Tatar (60th overall) were all second-round picks in the 2009 NHL Draft.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen (8th overall) and Anthony Mantha (20th overall) were both first-round picks in the 2013 NHL Draft.
  • Sam Reinhart (2nd overall) and Dylan Larkin (15th overall) were both taken in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft.

Foligno (104), Ristolainen (90), Gorges (67)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (65), Gorges (53), McCabe (43)
Shots: O’Reilly (85), Okposo (81), Ristolainen (73)

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: 0-2-1 (1), 5/12, 1/7, 8/10

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
Jack Eichel … 7 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

Marcus Foligno … 300th NHL game … Dec. 23 at NYI

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