Game Preview: 3/2/17 vs. ARI

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Tuesday, February 28
Nashville 5 at Buffalo 4 (OT)
Goals: Gionta, Okposo, Kane, McCabe
Goalie: Lehner (36 saves/41 shots)
PP: 0/2; PK: 3/4; Shots: Nashville 41 – Buffalo 32

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 307)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 63 games
Johan Larsson (wrist, Jan. 3; injured reserve) – 27 games
William Carrier (knee, Feb.4; injured reserve) – 13 games

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)
2/28: Acquired D Mat Bodie from NY Rangers in exchange for F Daniel Catenacci
3/1:
Assigned G Linus Ullmark to Rochester (AHL)

UPCOMING GAMES
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.
Saturday, March 11: Columbus at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
COYOTES at SABRES

  • This is the second of two meetings between the Sabres and Coyotes this season.
  • Last meeting: Arizona defeated Buffalo 3-2 in Arizona on Feb. 26
  • The Sabres are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Coyotes; 4-4-2 at home.
  • This is the 76th game all-time between Buffalo and Arizona/Winnipeg; Buffalo has a 44-22-9 series record.
  • The Sabres are 24-7-7 at home against the Coyotes/Jets all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 9-4-3 all-time on March 2.
  • March 2, 1998: Alexei Zhitnik scores the game’s only goal and Dominik Hasek gets his second shutout in as many nights as the Sabres top the New York Rangers 1-0 at Madison Square Garden.
  • March 2, 2007: The Sabres score eight goals, including the first two of Mike Ryan’s career, to top the Montreal Canadiens 8-5 and improve to first place in the NHL.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Buffalo is 10-2-1 in its last 13 games against Arizona, including a 5-1-1 record since the beginning of the 2013-14 season.
  • The Sabres are 2-0-1 in their last three home games against the Coyotes, with Arizona’s last regulation win in Buffalo taking place on Nov. 19, 2011.
  • With a point tonight, the Sabres would have points in four straight home games against the Coyotes for the first time since their first four visits following their move to Phoenix (1-0-3 from Jan. 5, 1997 to Oct. 11, 1999).

WHO’S HOT?

  • Jack Eichel has logged 22 points (6+16) in his last 21 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 16 points (10+6) in his last 17 games.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has a point in nine of his last 13 games (1+8).

COYOTE KILLERS

  • Kyle Okposo has eight points (3+5) in nine career games against the Coyotes.
  • Ryan O’Reilly has seven points (1+6) in his last seven games against the Coyotes.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has five points (2+3) in five career matchups with Arizona.
  • Zemgus Girgensons has totaled four points (1+3) in four career games against the Coyotes.
  • Tyler Ennis has four points (3+1) his last four games against the Coyotes.
  • Jack Eichel has totaled five points (2+3) in three career games against Arizona, including at least a point in each game.
  • Josh Gorges has a point in four of his last five games against the Coyotes (1+3).

HOME COOKIN’

  • Ryan O’Reilly has 19 points (6+13) in his last 18 home games.
  • Sam Reinhart has 12 points (4+8) in his last 13 home games and hasn’t gone two home games without a point since Dec. 6 and 9.
  • Jack Eichel has 20 points (7+13) in 21 home games this season, including six multi-point outings.
  • Evander Kane has seven points (6+1) in his last seven home games.
  • Kyle Okposo has nine points (5+4) in his last 11 home games and hasn’t gone two home games without a point since Jan. 7 and 10.

THE KANE EVENT

  • Evander Kane has scored each of his 22 goals this season in his last 39 games.
  • Kane is tied for sixth in the NHL with 21 even-strength goals despite not scoring his first until Dec. 3.
  • Since Dec. 1, Kane is ranked third among all NHL skaters in goals (22), leads the league in even-strength goals (21) and is tied for fifth in shots on goal (147).
  • Kane’s current pace of .412 even-strength goals per game is the highest by any Sabre with at least 15 games played since Alexander Mogilny’s franchise-best mark in 1992-93 (.636).

*All rankings before 3/1 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) .33 (27) .23 (19)
A/GP .40 (33) .24 (20) .55 (45) .39 (32)
P/GP .69 (57) .53 (43) .88 (72) .62 (51)
SOG/GP 2.9 (238) 2.1 (172) 4.0 (326) 2.3 (191)

(82-game pace in parentheses)

THEY’VE GOT THE POWER

  • The Sabres entered play Wednesday ranked fourth in the league with a 22.2% 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 58th-best season by any team since the league began publishing the stat in 1987-88.

ASSIST-OLAINEN
Rasmus Ristolainen
enters play Wednesday tied for 25th among all NHL skaters with 33 assists this season.

  • Ristolainen has recorded an assist on 21.9 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 15 goals to fall below 20 percent.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 3/1 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 22.2% PP% (4th)
  • Eichel: 4.0 S/GP (2nd)
  • Foligno: 214 hits (4th)
  • Kane: 21 EVG (T-6th)
  • Lehner: .922 SV% (8th)
  • Nilsson: .921 SV% (9th), .931 EV SV% (9th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:38 TOI/GP (1st, forwards), 57.8 FO% (6th)
  • Ristolainen: 20 PPA (T-2nd), 26:54 TOI (4th), 21 PPP (T-8th), 33 A (6th, defensemen)

BUF-ARI Connections
Former Sabres:

  • Jamie McGinn recorded 27 points (14+13) in 63 games for the Sabres during the 2015-16 season.

Dan Bylsma:

  • Coached Alex Goligoski for the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2008-2011.

Justin Bailey:

  • Teammates with Tobias Rieder for the Kitchener Rangers (OHL) during the 2012-13 season.
  • Played with Anthony DeAngelo for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL) during the 2014-15 season.

Zach Bogosian:

  • Teammates with Alexander Burmistrov during the 2010-11 season for the Atlanta Thrashers and from 2011-2013 for the Winnipeg Jets.

Jack Eichel:

  • Represented the United States alongside Connor Murphy at the 2015 World Championship.

Tyler Ennis:

  • Represented Canada alongside Mike Smith at the 2015 World Championship.

Cody Franson:

  • He and Peter Holland both played for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2013-2015.

Brian Gionta:

  • Played with Ryan White for the Montreal Canadiens from 2009-2014.

Josh Gorges

  • Played with Kyle Chipchura for the Montreal Canadiens from 2007-2010.
  • Played with Ryan White for the Montreal Canadiens from 2009-2014.

Evander Kane:

  • He and Luke Schenn played for Team Canada at the 2011 and 2012 World Championships.
  • Teammates with Alexander Burmistrov during the 2010-11 season for the Atlanta Thrashers and from 2011-2013 for the Winnipeg Jets.

Jake McCabe:

  • Represented the United States alongside Connor Murphy at the 2013 World Junior Championship and at the 2014 and 2016 World Championships.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Represented the United States alongside Alex Goligoski at the 2012 World Championship.

Ryan O’Reilly:

  • Represented Canada alongside Mike Smith at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships.
  • Teammates with Max Domi for Team Canada at the 2016 World Championship.
  • He and Luke Schenn played for Team Canada at the 2012 and 2013 World Championships.

Sam Reinhart:

  • Played with Lawson Crouse, Max Domi and Anthony Duclair for Team Canada at the 2015 World Junior Championship where Canada won the gold medal and Reinhart and Domi were named to the tournament All-Star team.
  • Teammates with Max Domi for Team Canada at the 2016 World Championship.

NHL Draft:

  • Evander Kane (4th overall) was taken two picks before Oliver Ekman-Larsson (6th overall) in the first round of the 2009 NHL Draft.
  • Jake McCabe (44th overall) and Jordan Martinook (58th overall) were both second-round picks in the 2012 NHL Draft.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen (8th overall) and Max Domi (12th overall) were both taken in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
  • Jack Eichel (2nd overall) and Lawson Crouse (11th overall) were both taken in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits:
Foligno (214), Ristolainen (158), Gorges (103)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (139), Gorges (83), McCabe (83)
Shots: Kane (172), Eichel (167), Okposo/Ristolainen (150)

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: 0-3-0 (0), 9/13, 1/7, 8/9

OVERTIME RESULTS (6-6; 108-111 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)
Feb. 28 vs. NSH: L, 5-4 (GWG-Forsberg)

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

Dmitry Kulikov … 3 games … 500 NHL games
Kyle Okposo … 9 games … 600 NHL games
Goals
Tyler Ennis … 4 goals … 100 NHL goals
Assists
Brian Gionta … 5 assists … 300 NHL assists
Points
Jack Eichel … 7 points … 100 NHL points

RECENT MILESTONES
Tyler Ennis … 400th NHL game … Feb. 28 vs. NSH

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