Game Preview: 3/20/17 at DET

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Friday, March 17
Buffalo 2 at Anaheim 1 (SO)
Goals: O’Reilly; GDG- Girgensons
Goalie: Nilsson (39 saves/40 shots)
PP: 0/1; PK: 0/0; Shots: Anaheim 40 – Buffalo 31

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 352)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 72 games
Johan Larsson (wrist, Jan. 3; injured reserve) – 36 games
William Carrier (knee, Feb.4; injured reserve) – 22 games
Kyle Okposo (ribs, March 4) – 8 games
Dmitry Kulikov (upper body, March 5) – 7 games
Justin Falk (calf, March 16) – 2 games
Cody Franson (undisclosed) – 0 games
Taylor Fedun (foot) – 0 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
3/16:
Recalled D Taylor Fedun from Rochester (AHL)
3/20: Recalled D Brady Austin and D Casey Nelson from Rochester (AHL)

UPCOMING GAMES
Tuesday, March 21:
Pittsburgh at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 25: Toronto at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Monday, March 27: Florida at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, March 28: Buffalo at Columbus, 7 p.m.
Sunday, April 2: NY Islanders at Buffalo, 3 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at RED WINGS

  • This is the fourth and final meeting between the Red Wings and Sabres this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Detroit 3-2 (OT) in Buffalo on Jan. 20
  • The Sabres are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Red Wings; 2-6-2 on the road
  • This is the 132nd game all-time between Buffalo and Detroit; Buffalo has a 57-57-18 series record.
  • The Sabres are 21-38-8 on the road against the Red Wings all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 12-9-1 all-time on March 20.
  • March 20, 1977: The Sabres get goals from five different players, including two from Gilbert Perreault, as they defeat the Washington Capitals 6-2 on the road.
  • March 20, 1996: The Sabres acquire Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre, a second-round pick (Cory Sarich) and a third-round pick (Maxim Afinogenov) from St. Louis in exchange for Yuri Khmylev and an eighth-round pick (Andrei Podkonicky).

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres enter tonight’s game with consecutive wins against Detroit for the first time since March 6, 1994 and Nov. 1, 1995. With a win tonight, the Sabres would have three straight wins against the Red Wings for the first time since the team swept the three-game season series in 1988-89.
  • A win tonight would give the Sabres consecutive wins in Detroit for the first time since they won each of their first five games at Joe Louis Arena, from Feb. 16, 1980 to Dec. 12, 1981.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has eight assists in his last eight games against Detroit, including six in his last four at Joe Louis Arena.
  • Sam Reinhart has five points (4+1) in seven career games against the Red Wings, including a point in each of the last three games in Detroit (2+1).
  • Jack Eichel has six points (3+3) in seven career games against Detroit, including three two-point outputs.
  • Robin Lehner has a .946 save percentage and a 1.96 goals-against average in three games against the Red Wings since joining the Sabres.
  • Ryan O’Reilly has 11 points (2+9) in 13 career road games against the Red Wings, including five (1+4) in his last five.
  • Evander Kane (4+0) and Brian Gionta (0+4) each have four points in four games at Joe Louis Arena since joining the Sabres.

WHO’S HOT?

  • Jack Eichel has not gone two games without a point since Jan. 31 and Feb. 2. In the 22 games since, Eichel has totaled 28 points (8+20).
  • Ryan O’Reilly has recorded nine points (4+5) in his last 10 games.
  • Jake McCabe has recorded seven (2+5) of his 18 points in his last 11 games, averaging 21:31 of ice time per game during that stretch.
  • Robin Lehner has stopped 95 of 101 shots (.941) in his last three appearances.

SO LONG, JOE

  • Tonight’s game will be the Sabres’ final visit to Joe Louis Arena.
  • Since Joe Louis Arena opened in December 1979, the Sabres and Red Wings have played 42 times in the building. The Sabres have a 13-23-6 record in those games.
  • Gilbert Perreault is the Sabres’ all-time leading scorer at Joe Louis Arena with 14 points (8+6) in 10 games. With a point tonight, Rasmus Ristolainen would tie Danny Gare and Pierre Turgeon for fifth on the franchise list with seven points.

BACK-TO-BACK
Tonight’s game opens up Buffalo’s 16th of a league-high 19 sets of back-to-back games this season, which will continue tomorrow night vs. Pittsburgh. The Sabres are 6-6-3 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 6-8-1 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 (6), one point (2) and zero points (3).

JACK ATTACK

  • In the time since his Nov. 29 return from an injury that sidelined him for 21 games, Jack Eichel ranks ninth among all NHL skaters with 49 points (20+29) and leads the league with 204 shots on goal.
  • Eichel leads the league in assists (20) and is tied for the league-lead in points (28) since the beginning of February.
  • Eichel has logged 34 points (12+22) in his last 30 games, including 10 multi-point outings during that stretch. The Sabres are 12-2-0 this season (and 21-5-0 in his career) when he has at least two points.
  • Eichel’s .96 points per game rank him 11th among all players with at least 20 games played this season.

*All rankings before 3/19 games.

THE KANE EVENT

  • Evander Kane has scored each of his 25 goals this season in his last 48 games.
  • Kane is tied for 11th in the NHL with 22 even-strength goals despite not scoring his first until Dec. 3.
  • Since Dec. 1, Kane is tied for fourth among all NHL skaters in goals (25), leads the league in even-strength goals (22) and ranks second in shots on goal (191).
  • Kane’s current pace of .367 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 3/19 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)

.39 (32)

.23 (19)

A/GP

.40 (33)

.24 (20)

.57 (47)

.39 (32)

P/GP

.69 (57)

.53 (43)

.96 (79)

.61 (50)

SOG/GP

2.9 (238)

2.1 (172)

4.0 (328)

2.3 (190)

(82-game pace in parentheses)

THEY’VE GOT THE POWER

  • The Sabres rank second in the league with a 23.3% 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%) and the team has led the league only once (1991-92, 22.5%)
  • The team’s current power-play percentage would rank as the fifth-best conversion rate in franchise history and the best since the team’s 23.6% mark in 1984-85. It would be the 38th-best season by any team since the league began publishing the stat in 1987-88.

ASSIST-OLAINEN
Rasmus Ristolainen
is tied for 25th among all NHL skaters with 38 assists this season.

  • Ristolainen has recorded an assist on 22.0 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 before 3/19 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 23.3% PP% (2nd)
  • Eichel: 4.0 S/GP (1st)
  • Foligno: 254 hits (3rd)
  • Kane: 3.6 S/GP (8th)
  • Nilsson: .930 EV SV% (10th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:39 TOI/GP (1st, forwards), 57.6 FO% (6th)
  • Ristolainen: 23 PPA (T-1st), 27:01 TOI (4th), 154 BkS (7th), 24 PPP (T-8th), 38 A (6th, defensemen)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits:
Foligno (254), Ristolainen (184), Gorges (129)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (154), McCabe (102), Gorges (96)
Shots: Kane (216), Eichel (204), Ristolainen (173)

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: 2-7-1 (5), 31/39, 9/30, 24/29
71-80: 1-1-0 (2), 2/3, 0/3, 2/2

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 (2-6; 69-64 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)
March 17 at ANA: W, 2-1 (GDG-Girgensons)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played

Dmitry Kulikov … 1 game … 500 NHL games
Brian Gionta … 4 games … 1,000 NHL games
Goals
Tyler Ennis … 4 goals … 100 NHL goals
Assists
Brian Gionta … 3 assists … 300 NHL assists
Points
Evander Kane … 4 points … 300 NHL points

RECENT MILESTONES
N/A

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