Game Preview: 12/29/16 vs. BOS


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Tuesday, December 27
Buffalo 4 at Detroit 3
Goals: Kane (2), Reinhart, Eichel
Goalie: Lehner (40 saves/43 shots)
PP: 1/3; PK: 1/2; Shots: Detroit 43 – Buffalo 22

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 168)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 34 games
Tyler Ennis (groin, Nov. 9; injured reserve) – 22 games
Cody Franson (undisclosed, Dec. 22) – 3 games
Ryan O’Reilly (appendix, Dec. 27) – 1 game


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.
Tuesday, Jan. 10: Philadelphia at Buffalo, 7 p.m.


  • This is the third of four meetings between the Sabres and Bruins this season.
  • Last meeting: Boston defeated Buffalo 2-1 in Buffalo on Dec. 3
  • Next meeting: Saturday, Dec. 31 in Boston
  • The Sabres are 2-4-4 in their last 10 games vs. the Bruins; 3-5-2 at home.
  • This is the 284th game all-time between Buffalo and Boston; Buffalo has a 121-118-44 series record.
  • The Sabres are 73-47-23 at home against the Bruins all-time.


  • The Sabres are 7-10-4 all-time on December 29.
  • December 29, 1983: Real Cloutier scores three times in a span of 5:21 in the second period to kick-start the Sabres’ offense in an 8-5 win vs. Quebec.


  • Robin Lehner has faced Boston more times than any other NHL team. In 15 career games against the Bruins, he has logged a .924 save percentage and a 2.70 goals-against average.
  • Kyle Okposo has totaled 22 points (4+18) in 25 career games against the Bruins.
  • Evander Kane has 11 goals (and three assists) in 22 career games against Boston.


  • Tonight’s game is the first in a home-and-home series between the Sabres and Bruins that continues on Saturday afternoon in Boston.
  • The Sabres and Bruins have previously played 21 home-and-home series, with the Sabres going 10-6-5 (three ties) in the home games and 9-6-6 (three ties) in the road games. Buffalo’s points breakdown in these previous series is as follows: four points (5), three points (5), two points (7), one point (0), zero points (4).
  • Buffalo has gained at least a point in the home portion of each of the last six home-and-home sets against Boston, going 4-0-2 in those games.
  • The Sabres have played in 159 previous home-and-home series in franchise history, going 90-45-24 (.642) in the home games and 56-74-29 (.443) in the road games in previous series. The team is 70-59-30 (.535) all-time in the first game of these series and 76-60-23 (.550) in the second. Buffalo’s points breakdown in these previous series is as follows: four points (31), three points (25), two points (65), one point (16), zero points (22).


  • Rasmus Ristolainen has 16 points (3+13) in his last 16 games, including 15 points (3+12) his last 12.
  • Sam Reinhart enters tonight’s game on a four-game point streak (2+3), matching his career best.
  • Evander Kane has eight points (7+1) in his last nine games.
  • Robin Lehner has posted a .933 save percentage in his last four games, including a .923 mark or better in each game. He logged a season high with 40 saves on Tuesday at Detroit.

Rasmus Ristolainen
entered play Wednesday tied for 15th among all NHL skaters with 21 assists.

  • Ristolainen has recorded an assist on 30.0 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 (32.1%).
    • 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.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before Dec. 28 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 22.6% PP% (4th), 51.1% FO% (9th)
  • Foligno: 104 hits (10th)
  • Moulson: 7 PPG (T-4th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:31 TOI/GP (3rd, forwards), 57.0 FO% (10th)
  • Ristolainen: 13 PPA (2nd), 26:33 TOI (5th), 14 PPP (T-5th), 21 A (T-4th, defensemen), 24 PTS (T-4th, defensemen)

Buffalo’s goaltenders entered play Wednesday with the sixth-best combined save percentage* (.923) in the league. They also had 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).
  • They 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 Sabres:

  • Tim Schaller spent two seasons with the Sabres, splitting his time between Buffalo and Rochester. He appeared in 35 games for the Sabres over his two seasons, logging five points (2+3).
  • Dominic Moore appeared in 18 games for the Sabres in 2008-09, racking up four points (1+3).

Local Players:

  • Jack Eichel was born in North Chelmsford, Massachusetts.

Zach Bogosian:

  • Represented the United States with David Backes at the 2009 World Championship

Nicolas Deslauriers:

  • Teammates with Colin Miller for the Manchester Monarchs during the 2013-14 season.

Jack Eichel:

  • Represented the United States alongside Brandon Carlo at the 2015 World Junior Championship.
  • Teammates with Torey Krug for the United States at the 2015 World Championship.

Hudson Fasching:

  • Represented the United States alongside Brandon Carlo at the 2015 World Junior Championship.

Cody Franson:

  • Represented Canada with Brad Marchand at the 2007 World Junior Championship.

Brian Gionta:

  • Teammates with Dominic Moore for the Montreal Canadiens during the 2009-10 season.

Josh Gorges:

  • Skated alongside Dominic Moore for the Montreal Canadiens during the 2009-10 season.

Derek Grant:

  • Played with Torey Krug for Michigan State University (NCAA) from 2009-2011.

Dmitry Kulikov:

  • Was a member of the Florida Panthers with Jimmy Hayes from 2013-2015.
  • Teammates with Dominic Moore for the Florida Panthers during part of the 2009-10 season.

Jake McCabe:

  • Represented the United States with Jimmy Hayes at the 2014 World Championship.

Anders Nilsson:

  • Teammates with David Backes on the St. Louis Blues during the 2015-16 season.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Skated alongside David Backes as members of the United States at the 2009 World Championship.

Sam Reinhart:

  • Represented Canada alongside Brad Marchand at the 2016 World Championship.

NHL Draft:

  • Johan Larsson (56th overall) and Ryan Spooner (45th overall) were both second-round selections in the 2010 NHL Draft.
  • Sam Reinhart (2nd overall) and David Pastrnak (25th overall) were both first-round selections in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Foligno (104), Ristolainen (92), Gorges (71)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (66), Gorges (55), McCabe (45)
Shots: O’Reilly (85), Okposo (81), Ristolainen (77)

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: 1-2-1 (3), 9/15, 2/10, 9/12

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)
Games Played

Jack Eichel … 6 games … 100 NHL games
Zach Bogosian … 8 games … 500 NHL games
Justin Falk … 10 games … 200 NHL games
Cody Franson … 10 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
Dan Bylsma … 300th NHL win … Dec. 27 at DET

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