Game Preview: 2/28/17 vs. NSH

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
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

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
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
2/26: Recalled G Linus Ullmark from Rochester (AHL)

UPCOMING GAMES
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.

TONIGHT’S GAME
PREDATORS at SABRES

  • 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.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • 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.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • 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.

WHO’S HOT?

  • 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.

PREYING ON THE PREDATORS

  • 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.

HOME COOKIN’

  • 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.

THEY’VE GOT THE POWER

  • 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.

THE KANE EVENT
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.

SOPHOMORE SURGE

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

2015-16

2016-17

Jack Eichel

Sam Reinhart

Jack Eichel

Sam Reinhart

G/GP

.30 (25)

.29 (24)

.34 (28)

.23 (19)

A/GP

.40 (33)

.24 (20)

.54 (44)

.40 (33)

P/GP

.69 (57)

.53 (43)

.88 (72)

.63 (52)

SOG/GP

2.9 (238)

2.1 (172)

4.0 (326)

2.3 (187)

(82-game pace in parentheses)

ASSIST-OLAINEN
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.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits:
Foligno (211), Ristolainen (154), Gorges (100)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (138), McCabe (82), Gorges (80)
Shots: Kane (170), Eichel (163), Okposo/Ristolainen (145)

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: 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
Goals
Tyler Ennis … 4 goals … 100 NHL goals
Assists
Brian Gionta … 6 assists … 300 NHL assists

RECENT MILESTONES
N/A

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