Game Preview: 3/5/17 at PIT

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Saturday, March 4
Tampa Bay 2 at Buffalo 1 (SO)
Goals: O’Reilly
Goalie: Lehner (31 saves/32 shots)
PP: 1/3; PK: 2/2; Shots: Buffalo 32 – Tampa Bay 32

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 314)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 65 games
Johan Larsson (wrist, Jan. 3; injured reserve) – 29 games
William Carrier (knee, Feb.4; injured reserve) – 15 games
Kyle Okposo (ribs, March 4) – 1 game
Dmitry Kulikov (upper body) – 0 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
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
Tuesday, March 7:
Philadelphia at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 10: Buffalo at Columbus, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 11: Columbus at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, March 14: Buffalo at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 16: Buffalo at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at PENGUINS

  • This is the second of three meetings between the Sabres and Penguins this season.
  • Next meeting: Tuesday, March 21 in Pittsburgh
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Pittsburgh 2-1 (SO) in Buffalo on Nov. 19, 2016
  • The Sabres are 1-8-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Penguins; 3-6-1 on the road.
  • This is the 184th game all-time between Buffalo and Pittsburgh; Buffalo has a 65-76-42 series record.
  • The Sabres are 24-48-20 on the road against the Penguins all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 8-10-2 all-time on March 5.
  • March 5, 2010: Thomas Vanek records his 300th career NHL point, a goal vs. Philadelphia.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • After their 2-1 shootout victory when these teams last met, the Sabres are looking to win consecutive games against the Penguins for the first time since their last two road wins in Pittsburgh on April 2 and 23, 2013.
  • The Penguins are the only NHL team Jack Eichel hasn’t recorded a point against and one of eight he hasn’t scored a goal against.
  • Zach Bogosian has seven points (3+4) in his six games against the Penguins since the beginning of the 2013-14 season, including multi-point games in both meetings last season.
  • Evander Kane has eight points (3+5)) in eight career visits to Pittsburgh, including three-point nights in each of his last two.
  • Kyle Okposo has more goals (14) and points (31) against the Penguins than any other opponent.
  • Ryan O’Reilly has points in each of his last three games against Pittsburgh, having tallied five points (1+4) in those games.
  • Anders Nilsson is 2-2-1 in his career against the Penguins with a .932 save percentage.

WHO’S HOT?

  • Jack Eichel enters tonight’s game on a career-best nine-game point streak (2+10). It’s the longest active streak in the NHL and the longest by a Sabre since Tim Connolly tallied points in 16 straight from Dec. 23, 2009 to Jan. 25, 2010.
  • Evander Kane has 17 points (11+6) in his last 19 games, including nine goals in his last 12.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has a point in 11 of his last 15 games (1+10).
  • Ryan O’Reilly has recorded five points (2+3) in his last three games.

JACK ATTACK

  • In the time since his Nov. 29 return from an injury that sidelined him for 21 games, Jack Eichel ranks 14th among all NHL skaters with 41 points (15+26) and leads the league with 175 shots on goal.
  • After last night’s game, Eichel was tied with Jamie Benn for most points since the beginning of February (20) and led all NHL players with 17 assists during that timeframe.
  • Eichel has logged 26 points (7+19) in his last 23 games, including eight multi-point outings during that stretch. The Sabres are 11-1-0 this season (and 20-4-0 in his career) when he has at least two points.
  • Eichel’s .93 points per game this season ranked him 14th among all players with at least 20 games played this season as of the end of last night’s game.

BACK-TO-BACK
Tonight’s game wraps up Buffalo’s 13th of a league-high 19 sets of back-to-back games this season, which began last night with a 2-1 shootout loss vs. Tampa Bay. The Sabres are 6-4-3 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 4-7-1 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 (3).

THE KANE EVENT

  • Evander Kane has scored each of his 23 goals this season in his last 41 games.
  • Kane is tied for fifth in the NHL with 22 even-strength goals despite not scoring his first until Dec. 3.
  • Since Dec. 1, Kane is ranked third among all NHL skaters in goals (23), leads the league in even-strength goals (22) and is ranked fourth in shots on goal (156).
  • Kane’s current pace of .415 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). Only six different players (Mogilny, Rick Martin, Danny Gare, Gilbert Perreault, Rick Vaive and Mike Foligno) in franchise history have finished at least one season with a better rate.

*All rankings as of the conclusion of last night’s game.

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)

.24 (20)

A/GP

.40 (33)

.24 (20)

.59 (48)

.40 (33)

P/GP

.69 (57)

.53 (43)

.93 (76)

.63 (52)

SOG/GP

2.9 (238)

2.1 (172)

4.0 (326)

2.4 (195)

(82-game pace in parentheses)

THEY’VE GOT THE POWER

  • The Sabres finished last night’s game ranked first in the league with a 22.9% 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 sixth-best conversion rate in franchise history and the best since the team’s 23.6% mark in 1984-85. It would be the 41st-best season by any team since the league began publishing the stat in 1987-88.

ASSIST-OLAINEN
Rasmus Ristolainen
finished last night’s game tied for 22nd among all NHL skaters with 35 assists this season.

  • Ristolainen has recorded an assist on 22.2 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 18 goals to fall below 20 percent.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings after last night’s game)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 22.9% PP% (1st)
  • Eichel: 4.0 S/GP (1st)
  • Foligno: 229 hits (3rd)
  • Kane: 22 EVG (T-5th), 3.4 S/GP (10th)
  • Lehner: .922 SV% (9th)
  • Nilsson: .931 EV SV% (10th)
  • Okposo: 22 PPP (T-9th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:39 TOI/GP (1st, forwards), 57.8 FO% (10th)
  • Ristolainen: 21 PPA (T-1st), 26:57 TOI (3rd), 22 PPP (T-9th), 35 A (T-6th, defensemen)

BUF-PIT Connections
Former Penguins:

  • Dan Bylsma became the Penguins’ head coach during the 2008-09 season and led the team to an 18-3-0 record to close the regular season and eventually won the Stanley Cup. Overall, he posted a 252-117-32 record in Pittsburgh in 401 games coached from 2008-09 to 2013-14. He also won the Jack Adams award while with the Penguins after the 2010-11 season.

Jack Eichel:

  • Played with Nick Bonino for the United States at the 2015 World Championship.
  • Teammates with Matthew Murray for Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Tyler Ennis:

  • Represented Canada alongside Sidney Crosby at the 2015 World Championship.

Cody Franson:

  • Played alongside Patric Hornqvist for the Nashville Predators from 2009-2011 and again at the end of the 2014-15 season. Matt Cullen was also on the team during the 2014-15 season.
  • Teammates with Phil Kessel for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2011-2015.

Josh Gorges:

  • He and Justin Schultz are both from Kelowna, British Columbia.
  • Played with Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury for Team Canada at the 2004 World Junior Championship.

Jake McCabe:

  • Played with Justin Schultz for the University of Wisconsin (WCHA) during the 2011-12 season.

Matt Moulson:

  • He was drafted by the Penguins in the ninth round (263rd overall) of 2003 NHL Draft but never suited up for Pittsburgh.

Anders Nilsson:

  • Played with Justin Schultz for the Edmonton Oilers during the 2015-16 season.

Ryan O’Reilly:

  • Teammates with Justin Schultz for Team Canada at the 2013 World Championship.
  • Represented Canada alongside Sidney Crosby at the 2015 World Championship and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Sam Reinhart:

  • Teammates with Derrick Pouliot at the 2014 World Junior Championship for Team Canada.

Rasmus Ristolainen:

  • Represented Finland alongside Olli Maata at the 2012 and 2013 World Junior Championships, as well as the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

NHL Draft:

  • Cody Franson (79th overall) and Kris Letang (62nd overall) were both taken in the third round of the 2005 NHL Draft. They also both played for Team Canada at the 2007 World Junior Championship.
  • Kyle Okposo (7th overall by the New York Islanders) and Phil Kessel (5th overall by Boston) were both first-round selections in the 2006 NHL Draft.
  • Ryan O’Reilly (33rd overall by Colorado), Robin Lehner (46th overall by Ottawa) and Brian Dumoulin (51st overall by Carolina) were all second-round picks in the 2009 NHL Draft.
  • Zemgus Girgensons (14th overall) and Olli Maata (22nd overall) were both first-round picks in the 2012 NHL Draft.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits:
Foligno (229), Ristolainen (163), Gorges (112)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (142), McCabe (87), Gorges (83)
Shots: Kane (181), Eichel (175), Ristolainen (157)

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: 1-3-1 (3), 16/18, 4/14, 12/13

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 (1-6; 68-64 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)
March  4 vs. TBL: L, 2-1 (GDG-Point)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played

Dmitry Kulikov … 1 game … 500 NHL games
Kyle Okposo … 8 games … 600 NHL games
Goals
Tyler Ennis … 4 goals … 100 NHL goals
Assists
Brian Gionta … 5 assists … 300 NHL assists
Points
Jack Eichel … 3 points … 100 NHL points
Evander Kane … 9 points … 300 NHL points

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

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