Game Preview: 1/7/17 vs. WPG


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Thursday, January 5
Buffalo 3 at Chicago 4 (OT)
Goals: Foligno, Okposo, Eichel
Goalie: Nilsson (39 saves/43 shots)
PP: 2/3; PK: 2/2; Shots: Chicago 43 – Buffalo 20

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 188)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 38 games
Tyler Ennis (groin, Nov. 9; injured reserve) – 26 games
Dmitry Kulikov (lower back, Dec. 29; injured reserve) – 4 games
Johan Larsson (wrist, Jan. 3) – 2 games
William Carrier (illness, Jan. 5) – 1 game

Recalled F Taylor Fedun from Rochester (AHL); Placed F Ryan O’Reilly on IR (retroactive to 12/25)
1/5: Activated F Ryan O’Reilly from IR; Placed D Dmitry Kulikov on IR (retroactive to 12/27)

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.
Tuesday, Jan. 17: Buffalo at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.


  • This is the second of two meetings between the Sabres and Jets this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Winnipeg 3-1 in Winnipeg on Oct. 30, 2016
  • The Sabres are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Jets; 6-3-1 at home.
  • This is the 59th game all-time between Buffalo and Winnipeg/Atlanta; Buffalo has a 25-22-11 series record.
  • The Sabres are 16-9-4 at home against the Jets/Thrashers all-time.


  • The Sabres are 8-5-6 all-time on January 7.
  • January 7, 1971: Phil Goyette picks up five points (1+4) in a 7-4 win against the Detroit Red Wings at the Aud.
  • January 7, 1989: The Sabres earn the 700th win in franchise history, a 6-1 victory at Toronto.
  • January 7, 2012: Jason Pominville appears in his 500th NHL game and Cody McCormick plays his 300th NHL game as the Sabres fall 2-1 to the Jets in overtime.


  • Today’s game is the fifth of eight afternoon games (3 p.m. ET or earlier) for the Sabres this season. The team is 2-2-0 in the first four and was 6-3-2 in 11 afternoon games last season.
  • The Sabres are 6-3-2 against the Western Conference this season, including points in each of their last four games (3-0-1) and wins in each of their last three home games against the West.
  • Buffalo has won its last three games against Winnipeg and will look to stretch that streak to four for the first time since the Sabres defeated the Thrashers in four straight from Feb. 16, 2004 to Jan. 31, 2006.
  • Kyle Okposo has 12 points (5+7) in his last 11 games against the Jets. In 23 career games against Winnipeg/Atlanta, Okposo has eight multi-point games, including each of his last three.
  • Sam Reinhart has recorded five points (4+1) in three career games against the Jets, including his first career hat trick on Jan. 10 in Winnipeg.
  • Robin Lehner has stopped 62 of 64 shots (.969) to go 2-0-0 in his two career appearances against Winnipeg. Anders Nilsson stopped 36 of 38 shots to earn a win in his only previous meeting with the Jets, on March 4, 2014.


  • Rasmus Ristolainen has 17 points (3+14) his last 17 games.
  • Sam Reinhart has recorded eight points (2+6) in his last eight games.
  • Jack Eichel enters tonight’s game on a five-game point streak, having tallied six points (3+3) in those games. The streak is tied for the longest of his career (excluding the seven-game streak that spanned the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons).
  • Kyle Okposo is currently on a four-game point streak (3+2).


  • Rasmus Ristolainen has compiled 10 points (2+8) in his last 10 home games.
  • Matt Moulson has recorded six points (1+5) in his last six home games.
  • Anders Nilsson is 4-0-1 in his last five home games dating back to Oct. 29 vs. Florida, posting a .951 save percentage in those contests.

Rasmus Ristolainen
entered play Friday tied for 14th among all NHL skaters with 23 assists.

  • Ristolainen has recorded an assist on 28.8 percent of his teammates’ goals*. Entering play Friday, it was the fifth-highest such percentage in the league, trailing only Connor McDavid (32.0%), Erik Karlsson (30.9%), Tyler Seguin (29.1%) and Patrick Kane (28.9%).
    • 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 22 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. 6 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 22.6% PP% (5th), 51.2% FO% (9th)
  • Foligno: 116 hits (10th)
  • Moulson: 7 PPG (T-7th)
  • Nilsson: .940 EV SV% (4th), .926 SV% (8th)
  • Okposo: 15 PPP (T-7th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:28 TOI/GP (4th, forwards), 57.1 FO% (10th)
  • Ristolainen: 14 PPA (3rd), 26:45 TOI (5th), 15 PPP (T-7th), 23 A (T-4th, defensemen), 26 PTS (5th, defensemen)

Buffalo’s goaltenders entered play Friday with the sixth-best combined save percentage* (.922) in the league. They also had the sixth-best save percentage during 5-on-5 play (.932).

  • 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:

  • Joel Armia was taken in the first round (16th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft and played in one game for the Sabres during the 2014-15 season.
  • Drew Stafford was Buffalo’s first-round selection (13th overall) in the 2004 NHL Draft and he went on to play in parts of nine seasons for the Sabres. He had 322 points (145+177) in 563 games during his Sabres career.
  • The Sabres selected Chris Thorburn in the second round (50th overall) of the 2001 NHL Draft. He played two career games with the Sabres, totaling one assist and seven penalty minutes.

Former Jets:

  • Zach Bogosian was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the first round (3rd overall) of the 2008 NHL Draft. In seven seasons with Atlanta/Winnipeg, the defenseman had 127 points (40+84) in 393 games.
  • The Thrashers selected Evander Kane with the fourth overall selection in the first round of the 2009 NHL Draft. He went on to score 222 points (109+113) in 361 games for the Thrashers/Jets.

Nicolas Deslauriers:

  • Deslauriers (1991) and Paul Postma (1989) were both born on February 22.

Jack Eichel:

  • Played with Andrew Copp for the United States at the 2014 World Junior Championship.
  • Teammates with Connor Hellebuyck, Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba for Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Marcus Foligno:

  • Teammates with Ben Chiarot for the Sudbury Wolves (OHL) from 2009-2011.

Cody Franson:

  • Played with Bryan Little for Team Canada at the 2007 World Junior Championship.

Zemgus Girgensons:

  • He and Mathieu Perreault share the same birth date. Perreault was born on Jan. 5, 1988 and Girgensons was born on Jan. 5, 1994.

Jake McCabe:

  • Played with Jacob Trouba for the United States at the 2013 World Junior Championship and the 2014 World Championship.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Teammates with Blake Wheeler for the University of Minnesota (NCAA) from 2006-2008.

Ryan O’Reilly:

  • Won a gold medal for Team Canada with Mark Scheifele at the 2016 World Championship.

Rasmus Ristolainen:

  • Represented Finland alongside Joel Armia at the 2011 World U-18 Championship and the 2012 and 2013 World Junior Championships.
  • Played with Patrick Laine for Team Finland at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Sam Reinhart:

  • Represented Canada alongside Josh Morrissey at the 2014 World Junior Championship.
  • Won a gold medal for Team Canada with Mark Scheifele at the 2016 World Championship.

NHL Draft:

  • Marcus Foligno (104th overall) and Ben Chiarot (120th overall) were both fourth-round picks in the 2009 NHL Draft. They were also teammates for the Sudbury Wolves (OHL) from 2009-2011.
  • Zemgus Girgensons (14th overall) and Jacob Trouba (9th overall) were both first-round selections in the 2012 NHL Draft.
  • Sam Reinhart (2nd overall) and Nikolaj Ehlers (9th overall) were both first-round picks oin the 2014 NHL Draft.

Foligno (116), Ristolainen (106), Gorges (77)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (73), Gorges (62), McCabe (50)
Shots: Okposo (97), O’Reilly (86), Ristolainen (84)

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: 2-4-2 (6), 19/27, 6/28, 18/23

OVERTIME RESULTS (2-4; 104-109 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)

Jan. 5 at CHI: L, 4-3 (GWG-Kane)

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 … 2 games … 100 NHL games
Zach Bogosian … 4 games … 500 NHL games
Cody Franson … 6 games … 500 NHL games
Justin Falk … 7 games … 200 NHL games
Matt Moulson … 7 games … 600 NHL games
Kyle Okposo … 4 points … 400 NHL points
Cody Franson … 6 points … 200 NHL points
Rasmus Ristolainen … 9 points … 100 NHL points

Justin Bailey … 1st NHL point (goal) … Jan. 3 at NYR


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