Game Preview: 3/27/17 vs. FLA

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Saturday, March 25
Toronto 2 at Buffalo 5
Goals: Eichel (2), O’Reilly, Kane, Kulikov
Goalie: Lehner (32 saves/34 shots)
PP: 2/2; PK: 3/3; Shots: Buffalo 38 – Toronto 34

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 372)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 75 games
Johan Larsson (wrist, Jan. 3; injured reserve) – 39 games
Cody Franson (undisclosed; March 20) – 3 games
Taylor Fedun (foot; March 20) – 3 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
3/23:
Assigned F Justin Bailey, D Brady Austin and D Casey Nelson to Rochester (AHL)
3/25: Recalled D Brady Austin from Rochester (AHL); Activated F William Carrier from IR; Assigned F Hudson Fasching to Rochester

UPCOMING GAMES
Tuesday, March 28:
Buffalo at Columbus, 7 p.m.
Sunday, April 2: NY Islanders at Buffalo, 3 p.m.
Monday, April 3: Toronto at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, April 5: Montreal at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 8: Buffalo at Florida, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
PANTHERS at SABRES

  • This is the third of four meetings between the Sabres and Panthers this season.
  • Last meeting: Florida defeated Buffalo 4-3 (SO) in Florida on Dec. 20
  • Next meeting: Saturday, April 8 in Florida
  • The Sabres are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Panthers; 3-6-1 at home.
  • This is the 91st game all-time between Buffalo and Florida; Buffalo has a 47-35-8 series record.
  • The Sabres are 26-16-4 at home against the Panthers all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 14-6-4 all-time on March 27.
  • March 27, 1990: Mike Foligno records his 500th point as a member of the Sabres in a 6-5 win at Detroit. Foligno finished his Sabres career with 511 points in 664 games.
  • March 27, 2010: Jason Pominville scores to record his 300th NHL point in a 7-1 win at home against Tampa Bay.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres are 7-1-1 in their last nine games against Atlantic Division opponents, including a 3-0-1 at KeyBank Center. A win or overtime loss tonight would give the team its best 10-game stretch against divisional opponents since the 2010-11 season.
  • Buffalo is 43-for-49 (87.8%) on the penalty kill in their last 19 games.
  • If he dresses, tonight will be Brian Gionta’s 1,000th NHL game.

TAMING THE CATS

  • Ryan O’Reilly has 14 points (5+9) in his last 12 games against the Panthers, including points in 10 of those contests and four two-point games.
  • Sam Reinhart has seven points (5+2) in his last five games against Florida, including two points in each of his last three.
  • Evander Kane has 16 points (11+5) in his last 15 games against the Panthers.
  • The Panthers are one of only six NHL teams (excluding the Sabres) that Jack Eichel has not yet recorded a goal against.

WHO’S HOT?

  • Jack Eichel has not gone two games without a point since Jan. 31 and Feb. 2. In the 25 games since, Eichel has totaled 32 points (11+21).
  • Tyler Ennis has three assists in his last three games.
  • Kyle Okposo recorded two assists in his return the lineup on Saturday vs. Toronto and now has 14 points (4+10) in his last 15 games played.
  • Robin Lehner has stopped 192 of 204 shots (.941) in his last six appearances.

#G1000NTA
Brian Gionta
is expected to appear in his 1,000th NHL game tonight. If he dresses, Buffalo’s captain will become the…

  • 312th NHL player (23rd active player) to play in 1,000 games.
  • 43rd American player to reach the milestone.
  • 10th player to appear in his 1,000th game as a member of the Sabres.

Gionta’s Career Breakdown
Games played for New Jersey – 473 (2001-02 to 2008-09)
Games played for Montreal –  303 (2009-10 to 2013-14)
Games played for Buffalo – 224* (2014-15 to Present)
1st NHL Game – 12/30/2001 at Edmonton (with New Jersey)
500th NHL Game – 1/14/2010 vs. Dallas (with Montreal)
1,000th NHL Game – 3/27/2017 vs. Florida* (with Buffalo)

Facts from the day of Gionta’s first NHL game (Dec. 30, 2001)
No. 1 Song:
“How You Remind Me” by Nickelback
No. 1 Album: “Weathered” by Creed
No. 1 Movie: “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”
Top-Selling Holiday Toy: Bratz Dolls
NFL Results: Alex Van Pelt led the Buffalo Bills to a 14-9 win over Vinny Testaverde and the New York Jets.

Other players to appear in their 1,000th NHL game as a member of the Sabres

Player Date Opponent
Dick Duff March 7, 1971 vs. Toronto
Gilbert Perreault Jan. 29, 1984 vs. Pittsburgh
Craig Ramsay Oct. 28, 1984 vs Calgary
Don Lever Jan. 27, 1986 at Montreal
Phil Russell March 12, 1986 at Chicago
Dale Hawerchuk Feb. 4, 1995 at Florida
Charlie Huddy March 8, 1996 at Anaheim
James Patrick Dec. 4, 1999 vs. NY Rangers
Mike Grier Nov. 3, 2010 vs. Boston

BACK-TO-BACK
Tonight’s game opens up Buffalo’s 17th of a league-high 19 sets of back-to-back games this season, which will continue tomorrow night at Columbus. The Sabres are 7-6-3 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 6-9-1 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 (7), one point (2) and zero points (3).

HOME COOKIN’

  • Ryan O’Reilly has 27 points (9+18) in his last 24 home games.
  • Jack Eichel has 32 points (13+19) in 27 home games this season, including 10 multi-point outings.
  • Evander Kane has 11 points (8+3) in his last 10 home games.
  • Kyle Okposo has 13 points (5+8) in his last 13 home games, including two points in each of his last three.

JACK ATTACK

  • In the time since his Nov. 29 return from an injury that sidelined him for 21 games, Jack Eichel is tied for sixth among all NHL skaters with 53 points (23+30) and leads the league with 220 shots on goal.
  • Eichel has logged 38 points (15+23) in his last 33 games, including 11 multi-point outings during that stretch. The Sabres are 13-2-0 this season (and 22-5-0 in his career) when he has at least two points.
  • Eichel’s .98 points per game rank him ninth among all players with at least 20 games played this season.

*All rankings before 3/26 games.

THE KANE EVENT

  • Evander Kane has scored each of his 26 goals this season in his last 51 games.
  • Kane is tied for 11th in the NHL with 23 even-strength goals despite not scoring his first until Dec. 3.
  • Since Dec. 1, Kane ranks sixth among all NHL skaters in goals (26) and leads the league in even-strength goals (23).

*All rankings before 3/26 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)

.43 (35)

.23 (19)

A/GP

.40 (33)

.24 (20)

.56 (46)

.38 (31)

P/GP

.69 (57)

.53 (43)

.98 (80)

.62 (51)

SOG/GP

2.9 (238)

2.1 (172)

4.1 (334)

2.3 (190)

(82-game pace in parentheses)

THEY’VE GOT THE POWER

  • The Sabres rank first in the league with a 24.5% 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 third-best conversion rate in franchise history and the best since the team’s 25.4% mark in 1975-76. It would be the 13th-best season by any team since the league began publishing the stat in 1987-88.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 3/26 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 24.5% PP% (1st)
  • Eichel: 4.1 S/GP (1st)
  • Foligno: 266 hits (3rd)
  • Kane: 3.6 S/GP (7th)
  • Lehner: .922 SV% (9th)
  • Moulson: 11 PPG (T-8th)
  • Nilsson: .930 EV SV% (9th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:37 TOI/GP (1st, forwards), 57.8 FO% (6th)
  • Ristolainen: 24 PPA (T-2nd), 26:42 TOI (5th), 156 BkS (7th), 25 PPP (T-8th), 39 A (T-6th, defensemen)

BUF-FLA Connections
Former Sabres:

  • Mark Pysyk was taken by the Sabres in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft. In 125 games over four seasons, Pysyk recorded 26 points (5+21).

Former Panthers:

  • Dmitry Kulikov played seven seasons in Florida before coming to Buffalo in a trade on June 25, 2016. Drafted in the first round (14th overall) by Florida in 2009, Kulikov was the second-ranked defenseman in goals (28), assists (110) and points (138) in 460 games for the Panthers from 2009 to 2016.

Jack Eichel:

  • Was named to Team North America for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey along with Aaron Ekblad and Vincent Trochek.

Tyler Ennis:

  • Played at the 2015 World Championship with Aaron Ekblad on Team Canada.
  • Shares a birthplace of Edmonton, Alberta with Alex Petrovic.

Zemgus Girgensons:

  • Spent the 2011-12 season playing with Michael Matheson for the Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL).

Evander Kane:

  • Represented Canada alongside James Reimer at the 2011 World Championship.

Jake McCabe:

  • Represented the United States alongside Vincent Trochek at the 2013 World Junior Championship and the 2014 World Championship.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Represented the United States alongside Keith Yandle at the 2010 World Championship.

Ryan O’Reilly:

  • He and Aaron Ekblad share a birthdate. O’Reilly was born on Feb. 7, 1991, and Ekblad was born on Feb. 7, 1996. The two also played together for Team Canada at the 2015 World Championship.
  • Played alongside Michael Matheson when Team Canada participated in the 2016 World Championships.

Rasmus Ristolainen:

  • Represented Finland at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey with Aleksander Barkov and Jussi Jokinen. He and Aleksander Barkov were also teammates at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

NHL Draft:

  • Nicolas Deslauriers (84th overall) and Reilly Smith (69th overall) were both taken in the third round of the 2009 NHL Draft.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen (8th overall) and Alexander Barkov (2nd overall) were both selected in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
  • Sam Reinhart (2nd overall) and Aaron Ekblad (1st overall) were the top two picks in the 2014 NHL Draft.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits:
Foligno (266), Ristolainen (186), Gorges (133)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (156), McCabe (108), Gorges (100)
Shots: Kane (229), Eichel (220), Ristolainen (177)

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: 3-2-0 (6), 10/9, 4/8, 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 (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
Brian Gionta … 1 game … 1,000 NHL games
Kyle Okposo … 7 games … 600 NHL games
Goals
Tyler Ennis … 4 goals … 100 NHL goals
Assists
Brian Gionta … 3 assists … 300 NHL assists
Points
Evander Kane … 3 points … 300 NHL points

RECENT MILESTONES
Dmitry Kulikov … 500th NHL game … 3/25 vs. TOR

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