Game Preview: 1/3/17 at NYR


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Saturday, December 31
Buffalo 1 at Boston 3
Goals: Eichel
Goalie: Lehner (25 saves/28 shots)
PP: 0/4; PK: 2/3; Shots: Boston 28 – Buffalo 27

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 177)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 36 games
Tyler Ennis (groin, Nov. 9; injured reserve) – 24 games
Ryan O’Reilly (appendix, Dec. 27) – 3 games
Dmitry Kulikov (lower back, Dec. 29) – 2 games
William Carrier (hand, Dec. 31) – 1 game
Johan Larsson (wrist) – 0 games
Josh Gorges (hip) – 0 games

Recalled F Justin Bailey from Rochester (AHL)
1/3: Recalled D Taylor Fedun from Rochester (AHL); Placed F Ryan O’Reilly on IR (retroactive to 12/25)

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.
Thursday, Jan. 12: Buffalo at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 13: Buffalo at Carolina, 7:30 p.m.


  • This is the second of three meetings between the Sabres and Rangers this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated New York 4-3 in New York on Dec. 1, 2016
  • Next meeting: Thursday, Feb. 2 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 2-8-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Rangers; 3-4-3 on the road
  • This is the 176th game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo has an 80-62-33 series record.
  • The Sabres are 32-34-20 on the road against the Rangers all-time.


  • The Sabres are 10-5-5 all-time on January 3.
  • January 3, 1974: Rick Martin opens the scoring and then scores twice more to earn his fifth career hat trick as the Sabres dispatch the Penguins 6-1.
  • January 3, 1993: Alexander Mogilny scores twice (and assists on Brad May’s overtime goal), stretching his goal streak to eight games to tie a franchise record.


  • A win tonight would give the Sabres wins in consecutive visits to Madison Square Garden for the first time since Dec. 12, 2009 and March 7, 2010. It would also be the first time Buffalo has won three straight games against the Rangers since Dec. 12, 2009 to April 6, 2010.
  • Kyle Okposo has 14 points (4+10) in his last 12 games against the Rangers, including at least a point in his last five (2+6). He has failed to tally a point in only one of his seven visits to Madison Square Garden since the beginning of 2013-14, totaling 10 road points (3+7) in that span.
  • Brian Gionta has 14 points (7+7) in his last 15 games against the Rangers, including a point in each of his last four.
  • Jack Eichel has at least a point in each of his four career games against the Rangers, totaling six points (2+4) in those games.


  • Rasmus Ristolainen has 16 points (3+13) his last 14 games.
  • Sam Reinhart enters tonight’s game on a career-best six-game point streak (2+5).
  • Jack Eichel has four points (2+2) in his last three games.
  • Evander Kane has 11 points (8+3) in his last 14 games, including five points (4+1) in six road games during that stretch.

Rasmus Ristolainen
entered play Monday tied for 17th among all NHL skaters with 22 assists.

  • Ristolainen has recorded an assist on 30.1 percent of his teammates’ goals*. Entering play Monday, it was the third-highest such percentage in the league, trailing only Connor McDavid (31.5%) and Erik Karlsson (30.9%).
    • 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 Housley’s 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 Jan. 2 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 21.6% PP% (8th), 51.1% FO% (9th)
  • Foligno: 110 hits (10th)
  • Moulson: 7 PPG (T-6th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:31 TOI/GP (3rd, forwards), 57.0 FO% (10th)
  • Ristolainen: 13 PPA (T-2nd), 26:42 TOI (5th), 14 PPP (T-2nd, defensemen), 22 A (5th, defensemen), 25 PTS (T-5th, defensemen)

Buffalo’s goaltenders entered play Monday with the sixth-best combined save percentage* (.922) 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 Rangers:

  • Justin Falk spent part of the 2013-14 season with the Rangers, playing in 21 games for New York, where he compiled two points (0+2).

Local Players:

  • Adam Clendening was born in Niagara Falls, New York.

Jack Eichel:

  • Represented the United States alongside Brady Skjei at the 2014 World Junior Championship.

Justin Falk:

  • Teammates with Michael Grabner for the Spokane Chiefs (WHL) from 2005-2007.

Cody Franson:

  • Teammates with Marc Staal at the 2007 World Junior Championship for Team Canada.
  • Played for the Nashville Predators with Kevin Klein from 2009-2011.

Josh Gorges:

  • Represented Canada at the 2004 World Junior Championship with Kevin Klein.

Evander Kane:

  • Played with Marc Staal at the 2010 World Championship for Team Canada.
  • Represented Canada at the 2011 World Championship along with Rick Nash.

Dmitry Kulikov:

  • Teammates with Brandon Pirri for the Florida Panthers from 2013-2016.
  • Kulikov (1990) and Oscar Lindberg (1991) were both born on October 29.

Robin Lehner:

  • Was a member of the Ottawa Senators during the 2014-15 season along with Matt Puempel.

Jake McCabe:

  • Played with J.T. Miller and Jimmy Vesey at the 2013 World Junior Championship representing the United States. Miller was also a member of the 2009-10 United States NTDP squad along with McCabe.
  • Skated alongside Kevin Hayes at the 2014 World Championship representing the United States. The two were also members of the United States NTDP during the 2009-10 season.
  • Represented the United States with Brady Skjei at the 2016 World Championship.

Matt Moulson:

  • Was a member of the New York Islanders from 2010-2013 along with Michael Grabner.

Anders Nilsson:

  • Teammates with Michael Grabner for the New York Islanders during the 2011-12 season and again during the 2013-14 season.
  • Was a member of the Edmonton Oilers during the 2015-16 season along with Adam Clendening.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Played with Michael Grabner for the New York Islanders from 2010-2015.
  • Represented the United States with Chris Kreider at the 2010 World Championship.
  • Shares a hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota with Ryan McDonagh.

2011 World Junior Championship:

  • The 2011 Swedish World Junior Championship team is well represented between the Sabres and Rangers, having two players for each team on their current rosters. Both Robin Lehner and Johan Larsson appeared on the team along with Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg. Lehner, Larsson and Lindberg also appeared together in the 2009 World U18 Championship.

2015 Hobey Baker Memorial Award:

  • Jack Eichel and Jimmy Vesey were both finalists for the 2015 Hobey Baker Memorial Award. Eichel won the award, while Vesey was a runner-up.

NHL Draft:

  • Kyle Okposo (7th overall) and Michael Grabner (14th overall) were selected in the first round of the 2006 NHL Draft.
  • Evander Kane (4th overall), Dmitry Kulikov (14th overall) and Chris Kreider (19th overall) were all selected in the first round of the 2009 NHL Draft.
  • Robin Lehner (46th overall) and Brandon Pirri (59th overall) were both taken in the second round of the 2009 NHL Draft
  • Johan Larsson (56th overall) was selected one pick before Oscar Lindberg (57th overall) in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft.
  • Zemgus Girgensons (14th overall) was selected in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft along with Brady Skjei (28th overall).

Foligno (110), Ristolainen (102), Carrier (72)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (70), Gorges (59), McCabe (49)
Shots: Okposo (92), O’Reilly (85), Ristolainen (81)

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: 1-4-1 (3), 12/22, 3/20, 15/20

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 … 4 games … 100 NHL games
Zach Bogosian … 6 games … 500 NHL games
Justin Falk … 8 games … 200 NHL games
Cody Franson … 8 games … 500 NHL games
Matt Moulson … 9 games … 600 NHL games
Cody Franson … 6 points … 200 NHL points
Kyle Okposo … 8 points … 400 NHL points

Dan Bylsma … 300th NHL win … Dec. 27 at DET

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