Game Preview: 1/5/17 at CHI

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Tuesday, January 3
Buffalo 4 at NY Rangers 1
Goals: Girgensons, Kane, Bailey, Eichel
Goalie: Nilsson (24 saves/25 shots)
PP: 1/5; PK: 1/1; Shots: NY Rangers 25 – Buffalo 19

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 183)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 37 games
Tyler Ennis (groin, Nov. 9; injured reserve) – 25 games
Ryan O’Reilly (appendix, Dec. 27; injured reserve) – 4 games
Dmitry Kulikov (lower back, Dec. 29) – 3 games
Johan Larsson (wrist, Jan. 3) – 1 game
Josh Gorges (hip, Jan. 3) – 1 game

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
12/30:
Recalled F Justin Bailey from Rochester (AHL)
1/3: Recalled F Taylor Fedun from Rochester (AHL); Placed F Ryan O’Reilly on IR (retroactive to 12/25)

UPCOMING GAMES
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.
Monday, Jan. 16: Dallas at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at BLACKHAWKS

  • This is the first of two meetings between the Sabres and Blackhawks this season.
  • Last meeting: Chicago defeated Buffalo 3-1, in Chicago on Jan. 8, 2016
  • Next meeting: Sunday, Feb. 19 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 1-8-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Blackhawks; 3-7-0 on the road
  • This is the 118th game all-time between Buffalo and Chicago; Buffalo has a 53-50-14 series record.
  • The Sabres are 19-33-6 on the road against the Blackhawks all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 8-5-2 all-time on January 5.
  • January 5, 1996: The Sabres retire Tim Horton’s No. 2 jersey before a 3-1 home win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres are seeking their first win against the Blackhawks since Dec. 11, 2009 and are in the midst of their first nine-game winless streak against Chicago (0-8-1) since the team went 0-8-1 in the first nine meetings between the clubs from Oct. 25, 1970 to Dec. 15, 1971. The Sabres snapped that streak in the next meeting between the clubs, a 2-1 victory in Chicago on Feb. 23, 1972.
  • Buffalo is looking for its first win in Chicago since Jan. 10, 2007; the six-game losing streak in Chicago is the longest such streak in franchise history.
  • Ryan O’Reilly has 17 points (7+10) in his last 18 games against Chicago, including 10 points (6+4) in his last 10 games.

WHO’S HOT?

  • Rasmus Ristolainen has 16 points (3+13) his last 16 games.
  • Sam Reinhart has recorded eight points (2+6) in his last seven games.
  • Jack Eichel enters tonight’s game on a four-game point streak, having tallied five points (2+3) in those games.
  • Kyle Okposo is currently on a three-game point streak (2+1).
  • Evander Kane has 12 points (9+3) in his last 15 games, including six points (5+1) in seven road games during that stretch.

ASSIST-OLAINEN
Rasmus Ristolainen
entered play Wednesday tied for 18th among all NHL skaters with 22 assists.

  • Ristolainen has recorded an assist on 28.6 percent of his teammates’ goals*. Entering play Wednesday, it was the fourth-highest such percentage in the league, trailing only Connor McDavid (31.2%), Erik Karlsson (30.9%) and Tyler Seguin (29.8%).
    • 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 21 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. 4 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 21.5% PP% (7th), 51.1% FO% (9th)
  • Foligno: 112 hits (10th)
  • Moulson: 7 PPG (T-7th)
  • Nilsson: .946 EV SV% (3rd), .928 SV% (7th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:31 TOI/GP (3rd, forwards), 57.0 FO% (10th)
  • Ristolainen: 13 PPA (3rd), 26:42 TOI (5th), 14 PPP (T-3rd, defensemen), 22 A (5th, defensemen), 25 PTS (T-5th, defensemen)

LAST LINE OF DEFENSE
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

BUF-CHI CONNECTIONS
Former Sabres:

  • Drafted by the Sabres in the sixth round of the 1997 NHL Draft, Brian Campbell played in Buffalo for parts of eight seasons (1999-00 – 2007-08). As a Sabre, Campbell tallied 176 points (32+144) in 391 games. Campbell was selected as an NHL All-Star in 2007 and 2008.

Former Blackhawks:

  • Andrew Allen served as the developmental goaltending coach in the Blackhawks’ organization from 2012-2015.

Local Players:

  • Patrick Kane was born and raised in Buffalo.

Jack Eichel:

  • Represented the United States alongside Vinnie Hinostroza at the 2014 World Junior Championship.

Cody Franson:

  • Represented Canada alongside Jonathan Toews at the 2007 World Junior Championship.
  • Played with Jordin Tootoo for the Nashville Predators from 2009-2011.
  • Teammates with Richard Panik for the Toronto Maple Leafs for part of the 2014-15 season.

Josh Gorges:

  • Played with Duncan Keith during the 2002-03 season for the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets.
  • Represented Canada alongside Brent Seabrook at the 2004 World Junior Championship.

Evander Kane:

  • Played with Duncan Keith for Team Canada at the 2012 World Championship.

Dmitry Kulikov:

  • Teammates with Brian Campbell for the Florida Panthers from 2011-2016.

Anders Nilsson:

  • Teammates with Dennis Rasmussen for Team Sweden at the 2010 World Junior Championship and the 2014 World Championship.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Represented the United States alongside Patrick Kane at the 2007 World Junior Championship.

Ryan O’Reilly:

  • Played with Duncan Keith for Team Canada at the 2012 World Championship.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits:
Foligno (112), Ristolainen (105), Carrier (75)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (70), Gorges (59), McCabe (49)
Shots: Okposo (95), O’Reilly (85), Reinhart/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: 2-4-1 (5), 16/23, 4/25, 16/21

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 … 3 games … 100 NHL games
Zach Bogosian … 5 games … 500 NHL games
Justin Falk … 7 games … 200 NHL games
Cody Franson … 7 games … 500 NHL games
Matt Moulson … 8 games … 600 NHL games
Points
Cody Franson … 6 points … 200 NHL points
Kyle Okposo … 7 points … 400 NHL points

RECENT MILESTONES
Dan Bylsma … 300th NHL win … Dec. 27 at DET
Justin Bailey … 1st NHL point (goal) … Jan. 3 at NYR

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