Game Preview: 2/25/17 at COL


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Sunday, February 19
Chicago 5 at Buffalo 1
Goals: Kane
Goalie: Lehner (32 saves/37 shots)
PP: 0/4; PK: 3/3; Shots: Chicago 37 – Buffalo 26

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 297)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 60 games
Johan Larsson (wrist, Jan. 3; injured reserve) – 24 games
William Carrier (knee, Feb.4; injured reserve) – 10 games
Zemgus Girgensons (middle body, Feb. 9) – 7 games
Sam Reinhart (illness, Feb. 18) – 2 games

Assigned D Taylor Fedun to Rochester (AHL)
2/20: Assigned F Justin Bailey, F Nicholas Baptiste and F Evan Rodrigues to Rochester (AHL)
2/24: Recalled F Justin Bailey and F Evan Rodrigues from Rochester (AHL); Activated F Zemgus Girgensons from IR; Assigned F Derek Grant to Rochester

Sunday, Feb. 26:
Buffalo at Arizona, 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 28: Nashville at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 2: Arizona at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 4: Tampa Bay at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Sunday, March 5: Buffalo at Pittsburgh, 5 p.m.


  • This is the second of two meetings between the Sabres and Avalanche this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Colorado 2-0 in Buffalo on Feb. 16
  • The Sabres are 2-5-3 in their last 10 games vs. the Avalanche; 4-4-2 on the road.
  • This is the 141st game all-time between Buffalo and Colorado; Buffalo has a 61-55-24 series record.
  • The Sabres are 23-34-13 on the road against the Avalanche all-time.


  • The Sabres are 11-7-3 all-time on February 25.
  • February 25, 1978: The Sabres and Cleveland Barons combine for 16 goals as the Sabres pick up a 13-3 road victory. Danny Gare tallied five points (3+2) and Andre Savard, Jerry Korab and Gary McAdam each scored two goals in the game.
  • February 25, 1998: Dominik Hasek makes 33 saves in his return from Olympic action and Geoff Sanderson scores just 1:22 into his Sabres debut as the Sabres battle to a 2-2 tie at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs, extending their unbeaten streak to 10 games (5-0-5).


  • This is the first game after a five-day break for the Sabres, who return from their bye week tonight.
  • The Sabres are looking to win their fourth game in their past five contests.
  • With a win tonight, the Sabres will have won three consecutive games against the Avalanche for the first time since March 24, 2003 to Dec. 4, 2005.
  • The Sabres last won a game in Colorado on Dec. 4, 2005, having gone 0-3-2 in the five games since then.
  • Robin Lehner has started all three games against the Avalanche since he joined the Sabres last season, stopping 90 of 93 total shots (.968).
  • Jack Eichel (1+2), Evander Kane (3+0) and Ryan O’Reilly (0+4) all have points in each of their last three games against the Avalanche.
  • Sam Reinhart has three points (2+1) in three career games against Colorado.


  • Jack Eichel has logged 18 points (5+13) in his last 18 games, including six multi-point outings. The Sabres are 10-0-0 this season (and 19-3-0 in his career) when he has at least two points.
  • Evander Kane has 15 points (9+6) in his last 14 games.
  • Sam Reinhart has six points (2+4) in his last six games, but missed the team’s last two games with an illness.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has a point in eight of his last 10 games (1+7). A point tonight would stretch his point streak to a career-high six games.
  • Robin Lehner has logged a .942 save percentage in 10 games during the month of February.
  • Ryan O’Reilly has nine points (4+5) in 11 games in February.


  • Tonight is the Sabres’ fourth game in a seven-game stretch against Western Conference teams. Buffalo is 2-1-0 in the first three games.
  • The Sabres are 12-7-2 in all games against the Western Conference this season and 12-6-3 in their last 21 games against the Central Division.


  • The Sabres entered play Friday ranked third in the league with a 22.5% success rate on the power play.
  • Buffalo has not finished a season ranked in the top five in power play percentage since the 2005-06 season (third, 21.2%).
  • The team’s current power-play percentage would rank as the ninth-best conversion rate in franchise history and the best since the team’s 22.6% mark in 1993-94. It would be the 50th-best season by any team since the league began publishing the stat in 1987-88.

Tonight’s game opens up Buffalo’s 12th of a league-high 19 sets of back-to-back games this season, which continues tomorrow night in Arizona. The Sabres are 6-3-2 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 4-6-1 in the second game so far this season. Buffalo’s point breakdown in previous back-to-back sets this season is: four points (2), three points (2), two points (4), one point (1) and zero points (2).

Evander Kane
has scored each of his 21 goals this season in his last 36 games, including a team-high 20 even-strength goals. Since Dec. 1, he is ranked second among all NHL skaters in goals (21), leads the league in even-strength goals (20) and ranks fifth in shots on goal (140).

*All rankings before 2/24 games.

In their second full NHL seasons, Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart have each improved on their points per game totals from 2015-16.



Jack Eichel

Sam Reinhart

Jack Eichel

Sam Reinhart


.30 (25)

.29 (24)

.33 (27)

.22 (18)


.40 (33)

.24 (20)

.51 (42)

.41 (34)


.69 (57)

.53 (43)

.85 (69)

.64 (52)


2.9 (238)

2.1 (172)

4.0 (330)

2.3 (185)

(82-game pace in parentheses)

Rasmus Ristolainen
entered played Friday tied for 25th among all NHL skaters with 32 assists.

  • Ristolainen has recorded an assist on 22.5 percent of his teammates’ goals. 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 19 goals to fall below 20 percent.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 2/24 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 22.5% PP% (3rd)
  • Eichel: 4.0 S/GP (2nd)
  • Foligno: 209 hits (3rd)
  • Kane: 20 EVG (T-6th), 3.4 S/GP (10th)
  • Lehner: .925 SV% (7th), .933 EV SV% (8th)
  • Nilsson: .934 EV SV% (6th), .922 SV% (9th)
  • Okposo: 20 PPP (T-9th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:40 TOI/GP (1st, forwards), 57.9 FO% (6th)
  • Ristolainen: 19 PPA (T-1st), 26:58 TOI (4th), 20 PPP (T-9th), 32 A (6th, defensemen)

BUF-COL Connections
Former Sabres:

  • Buffalo selected Mikhail Grigorenko in the first round (12th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft and he had 14 points (6+8) in 68 games for the Sabres.

Former Avalanche:

  • Colorado selected Ryan O’Reilly in the second round (33rd overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft. He went on to play 427 games from 2009 to 2015 and had 246 points (90+156).

Dan Bylsma:

  • Coached Jarome Iginla for part of the 2012-13 season.

Tyler Ennis:

  • He and Jarome Iginla were both born in Edmonton, Alberta.

Justin Falk

  • Played with Rene Bourque for the Columbus Blue Jackets for part of the 2014-15 season.
  • Was a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2014-2016 along with Cody Goloubef and Fedor Tyutin.

Cody Franson

  • Teammates with Joe Colborne for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2011-2013.

Brian Gionta:

  • Played alongside Rene Bourque for the Montreal Canadiens from 2011-2014.

Josh Gorges:

  • Teammates with Blake Comeau for the Kelowna Rockets (WHL) from 2001-2004.
  • Played with Rene Bourque for the Montreal Canadiens from 2011-2014.

Robin Lehner:

  • Was a member of the Ottawa Senators from 2010-2015 alongside Patrick Wiercioch.

Matt Moulson:

  • Teammates with Blake Comeau for the New York Islanders from 2009-2011.

Anders Nilsson:

  • Played for the New York Islanders during the 2011-12 season along with Blake Comeau.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Played for the New York Islanders alongside Blake Comeau from 2007-2011.

Evan Rodrigues:

  • Played at Boston University from 2011-2013 with Matt Nieto.

International Teammates:

  • 2009 World Junior Championship (Canada): Evander Kane, Tyler Ennis and Cody Goloubef.
  • 2010 World Championship (Canada): Evander Kane, Francois Beauchemin, Rene Bourque and Matt Duchene.
  • 2011 World Junior Championship (Canada): Marcus Foligno and Tyson Barrie.
  • 2011 World Championship (Canada): Evander Kane and Matt Duchene.
  • 2011 World Championship (Russia): Dmitry Kulikov and Fedor Tyutin.
  • 2013 World Championship (Canada): Ryan O’Reilly and Matt Duchene.
  • 2015 World Championship (Canada): Tyler Ennis, Ryan O’Reilly, Tyson Barrie, Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon.

NHL Draft:

  • Brian Gionta (82nd overall) and Francois Beauchemin (75th overall) were third-round picks in the 1998 NHL Draft.
  • Evander Kane (4th overall), Dmitry Kulikov (14th overall) and Matt Duchene (3rd overall) were all first-round selections in the 2009 NHL Draft.
  • Nicolas Deslauriers (82nd overall) and Tyson Barrie (64th overall) were both third-round picks in the 2009 NHL Draft.
  • Zemgus Girgensons (14th overall) and Mikhail Grigorenko (12th overall) were first-round picks in the 2012 NHL Draft.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen (8th overall), Nathan MacKinnon (1st overall) and Nikita Zadorov (16th overall) were all first-round draft picks in the 2013 NHL Draft.
  • Jack Eichel (2nd overall) and Mikko Rantanen (10th overall) were selected in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft.

Foligno (209), Ristolainen (154), Gorges (99)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (136), McCabe (81), Gorges (78)
Shots: Kane (165), Eichel (157), Okposo (142)

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: 4-4-2 (10), 27/31, 7/34, 21/28
41-50: 4-5-1 (9), 28/33, 6/27, 21/28
51-60: 6-4-0 (12), 26/25, 6/25, 24/30

OVERTIME RESULTS (6-5; 108-110 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)
Jan. 20 vs. DET: W, 3-2 (GWG-Okposo)
Jan. 21 at MTL: W, 3-2 (GWG-Bogosian)
Jan. 24 at NSH: W, 5-4 (GWG-Eichel)

Feb. 2 vs. NYR: L, 2-1 (GWG-Kreider)
Feb. 7 vs. SJS: W, 5-4 (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

Tyler Ennis … 3 games … 400 NHL games
Dmitry Kulikov … 6 games … 500 NHL games
Tyler Ennis … 4 goals … 100 NHL goals
Brian Gionta … 6 assists … 300 NHL assists

Nicolas Deslauriers … 200th NHL game … Feb. 19 vs. CHI


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