Game Preview: 2/28/17 vs. NSH


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Sunday, February 26
Buffalo 3 at Arizona 3
Goals: Eichel, Rodrigues
Goalie: Nilsson (26 saves/29 shots)
PP: 0/1; PK: 3/3; Shots: Buffalo 33 – Arizona 29

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 304)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 62 games
Johan Larsson (wrist, Jan. 3; injured reserve) – 26 games
William Carrier (knee, Feb.4; injured reserve) – 12 games
Robin Lehner (upper body, Feb. 26) – 1 game

Recalled F Justin Bailey and F Evan Rodrigues from Rochester (AHL); Activated F Zemgus Girgensons from IR; Assigned F Derek Grant to Rochester
2/26: Recalled G Linus Ullmark from Rochester (AHL)

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.
Tuesday, March 7: San Jose at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Friday, March 10: Buffalo at Columbus, 7 p.m.


  • This is the second of two meetings between the Sabres and Predators this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Nashville 5-4 in Nashville on Jan. 24
  • The Sabres are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Predators; 1-6-3 at home.
  • This is the 23rd game all-time between Buffalo and Nashville; Buffalo has a 9-10-3 series record.
  • The Sabres are 1-6-3 at home against the Predators all-time.


  • The Sabres are 8-5-2 all-time on February 28.
  • February 28, 1971: Steve Atkinson scores three goals against the Minnesota North Stars in a 5-2 win at the Aud. Atkinson, Ron Anderson and Gilbert Perreault all scored in a span of 1:15 in the third period to break a 2-2 tie and clinch the win.
  • February 28, 2000: The Sabres chase Trevor Kidd with four goals on 19 shots, including two from Stu Barnes, on the way to a 5-2 victory at Florida.


  • After Buffalo’s 5-4 win the last time these teams met, the Sabres are looking to win three consecutive games against the Predators for the first time in the all-time series.
  • Tonight is the Sabres’ sixth game in a seven-game stretch against Western Conference teams. Buffalo is 2-3-0 in the first five games. It is also the Sabres’ seventh game in a stretch of eight straight home games against the Western Conference. The team is 3-3-0 in the first six.
  • Buffalo is 14-4-3 in its last 21 home games against Western Conference opponents and 12-9-2 in all games against the West this season.
  • The Sabres are 12-7-3 in their last 22 games against the Central Division, including a 6-2-2 record in home games.
  • If he dresses tonight, Tyler Ennis will appear in his 400th NHL game.


  • Jack Eichel has logged 21 points (6+15) in his last 20 games, including seven multi-point outings. The Sabres are 10-1-0 this season (and 19-4-0 in his career) when he has at least two points.
  • Evander Kane has 15 points (9+6) in his last 16 games.
  • Sam Reinhart has seven points (3+4) in his last eight games.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has a point in nine of his last 12 games (1+8).
  • Evan Rodrigues has scored in each of his last two games.


  • Evander Kane has eight points (1+7) in his last seven games against the Predators.
  • Ryan O’Reilly has six points (2+4) in his last six games against Nashville.
  • Kyle Okposo has totaled seven points (3+4) in eight career games against the Predators.
  • Cody Franson has five assists in his last five games against Nashville.
  • Jack Eichel (3+0) and Sam Reinhart (2+1) each have three points in three career games against the Predators.


  • Ryan O’Reilly has 18 points (6+12) in his last 17 home games.
  • Sam Reinhart has 12 points (4+8) in his last 12 home games.
  • Jack Eichel has 19 points (7+12) in 20 home games this season, including six multi-point outings.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen (1+6) enters today’s game on a seven-game home point streak.
  • Evander Kane has six points (5+1) in his last six home games.


  • The Sabres entered play Monday ranked third in the league with a 22.4% 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 54th-best season by any team since the league began publishing the stat in 1987-88.

Evander Kane
has scored each of his 21 goals this season in his last 38 games, including a team-high 20 even-strength goals. Since Dec. 1, he is tied for third among all NHL skaters in goals (21), leads the league in even-strength goals (20) and is ranked sixth in shots on goal (145).

*All rankings before 2/27 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)

.34 (28)

.23 (19)


.40 (33)

.24 (20)

.54 (44)

.40 (33)


.69 (57)

.53 (43)

.88 (72)

.63 (52)


2.9 (238)

2.1 (172)

4.0 (326)

2.3 (187)

(82-game pace in parentheses)

Rasmus Ristolainen
enters play Monday tied for 22nd among all NHL skaters with 33 assists this season.

  • Ristolainen has recorded an assist on 22.4 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 2/27 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 22.4% PP% (3rd)
  • Eichel: 4.0 S/GP (2nd)
  • Foligno: 211 hits (4th)
  • Kane: 20 EVG (T-6th)
  • Lehner: .923 SV% (7th)
  • Nilsson: .931 EV SV% (9th), .921 SV% (9th)
  • Okposo: 20 PPP (T-10th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:38 TOI/GP (1st, forwards), 57.9 FO% (6th)
  • Ristolainen: 20 PPA (1st), 26:55 TOI (4th), 21 PPP (T-7th), 33 A (6th, defensemen)

BUF-NSH Connections
Former Predators:

  • Cody Franson was drafted by the Predators in the third round (79th overall) of the 2005 NHL Draft and went on to have 54 points (15+39) in 164 games for Nashville from 2009-2011 and in 2014-15.

Dan Bylsma:

  • Coached James Neal for the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2010-2014.

Tyler Ennis:

  • Played with Ryan Ellis and P.K. Subban for Team Canada at the 2009 World Junior Championship.

Justin Falk:

  • Played with Ryan Johansen for the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2014-2016.

Marcus Foligno:

  • Represented Team Canada alongside Ryan Ellis and Ryan Johansen at the 2011 World Junior Championship held in Buffalo.

Cody Franson:

  • Represented Canada alongside James Neal at the 2007 World Junior Championship.

Brian Gionta:

  • Teammates with P.K. Subban for the Montreal Canadiens from 2009-2014. Yannick Weber was also a member of the team from 2009-2013.

Josh Gorges:

  • Teammates with P.K. Subban for the Montreal Canadiens from 2009-2014. Yannick Weber was also a member of the team from 2008-2013.

Evander Kane:

  • Played with Ryan Ellis and P.K. Subban for Team Canada at the 2009 World Junior Championship.
  • Represented Canada alongside James Neal at the 2011 World Championship.

Robin Lehner:

  • Teammates with Calle Jarnkrok for Sweden at the 2009 World U-18 Championship and the 2011 World Junior Championship.
  • Played with Mike Fisher for the Ottawa Senators during the 2010-11 season.

Jake McCabe:

  • Represented the United States alongside Craig Smith at the 2014 World Championship.

Anders Nilsson:

  • Played with Matthias Ekholm for Team Sweden at the 2010 World Junior Championship. They also played together at the 2014 and 2015 World Championships.
  • Teammates with Calle Jarnkrok for Team Sweden at the 2014 World Championship.
  • Represented Sweden alongside Filip Forsberg at the 2015 World Championship.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Teammates with Colin Wilson for the United States at the 2008 World Junior Championship. They also played together at the 2009 World Championship.
  • Represented the United States alongside Craig Smith at the 2012 World Championship.
  • Played with Harry Zolnierczyk for the New York Islanders during the 2014-15 season.

Ryan O’Reilly:

  • Played with P.K. Subban for Canada at the 2013 World Championship.
  • Represented Canada alongside Ryan Ellis at the 2016 World Championship.

Sam Reinhart:

  • Represented Canada alongside Ryan Ellis at the 2016 World Championship.

Rasmus Ristolainen:

  • He and Juuse Saros played together for Team Finland at the 2014 World Junior Championship.
  • Teammates with Pekka Rinne for Finland at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

NHL Draft:

  • Zach Bogosian (3rd overall), Tyler Ennis (26th overall) and Colin Wilson (7th overall) were all chosen in the first round of the 2008 NHL Draft.
  • Evander Kane (4th overall) and Ryan Ellis (11th overall) were both taken in the first round of the 2009 NHL Draft.
  • Marcus Foligno (104th overall) was chosen two picks after Mattias Ekholm (102nd overall) and six picks after Craig Smith (98th overall) in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Draft.
  • Zemgus Girgensons (14th overall) and Filip Forsberg (11th overall) were both first-round picks in the 2012 NHL Draft.

Foligno (211), Ristolainen (154), Gorges (100)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (138), McCabe (82), Gorges (80)
Shots: Kane (170), Eichel (163), Okposo/Ristolainen (145)

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
61-70: 0-2-0 (0), 5/8, 1/5, 5/5

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 … 1 game … 400 NHL games
Dmitry Kulikov … 4 games … 500 NHL games
Kyle Okposo … 10 games … 600 NHL games
Tyler Ennis … 4 goals … 100 NHL goals
Brian Gionta … 6 assists … 300 NHL assists


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