Game Preview: 4/8/17 at FLA

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Wednesday, April 5
Montreal 1 at Buffalo 2
Goals: Ristolainen, Ennis
Goalie: Lehner (31 saves/32 shots)
PP: 0/0; PK: 1/1; Shots: Montreal 32 – Buffalo 30

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 394)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed

Cody McCormick (blood clots, Oct. 13; injured reserve) – 80 games
Johan Larsson (wrist, Jan. 3; injured reserve) – 44 games
Taylor Fedun (foot, March 20) – 8 games
Kyle Okposo (illness, March 28) – 4 games
Anders Nilsson (undisclosed, April 5) – 1 game

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
4/3:
Recalled F Alexander Nylander from Rochester (AHL)
4/5: Recalled G Linus Ullmark from Rochester (AHL)
4/6: Assigned G Linus Ullmark to Rochester (AHL)
4/7: Recalled G Linus Ullmark from Rochester (AHL); Assigned D Brendan Guhle to Rochester (AHL) from Prince George (WHL)
4/8: Signed F Sean Malone to a two-year, entry-level contract

REMAINING GAMES
Sunday, April 9:
Buffalo at Tampa Bay, 5 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at PANTHERS

  • This is the fourth and final meeting between the Sabres and Panthers this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Florida 4-2 in Buffalo on March 27
  • The Sabres are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Panthers; 3-4-3 on the road.
  • This is the 92nd game all-time between Buffalo and Florida; Buffalo has a 48-35-8 series record.
  • The Sabres are 21-19-4 on the road against the Panthers all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 5-6-1 all-time on April 8 (regular season only).
  • April 8, 1973: The Sabres earn the first playoff victory in franchise history, topping Montreal 5-1.
  • April 8, 1977: Jim Lorentz scores the first hat trick in Sabres playoff history (and Gilbert Perreault records an assist on all three Lorentz goals) in a 7-1 win over Minnesota.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • After going 4-9-3 in their first 16 games against Atlantic Division opponents this season, the Sabres are 9-2-1 in their last 12.
  • The Sabres are 53-for-61 (86.9%) on the penalty kill in their last 24 games.
  • A win tonight would give the Sabres consecutive wins against the Panthers for the first time since they won three in a row from Feb. 10 to Oct. 29, 2011. Buffalo hasn’t won three games against Florida in a season since 2009-10.
  • The Panthers are one of only six NHL teams (excluding the Sabres) that Jack Eichel has not yet recorded a goal against.

TAMING THE CATS

  • Ryan O’Reilly has 15 points (6+9) in his last 13 games against the Panthers, including points in 11 of those contests and four two-point games.
  • Evander Kane has 16 points (11+5) in his last 16 games against Florida.
  • Sam Reinhart has eight points (5+3) in his last six games against the Panthers.
  • Jack Eichel has four assists in his last four games against Florida.
  • Brian Gionta has a point in each of his last three games against the Panthers (1+2).

BACK-TO-BACK
Tonight’s game opens up Buffalo’s 19th of a league-high 19 sets of back-to-back games this season, which will conclude tomorrow night at Tampa Bay. The Sabres are 8-7-3 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 6-11-1 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 (8), one point (2) and zero points (4).

JACK ATTACK

  • In the time since his Nov. 29 return from an injury that sidelined him for 21 games, Jack Eichel is tied for seventh among all NHL skaters with 57 points (24+33) and leads the league with 241 shots on goal.
  • Eichel has logged 42 points (16+26) in his last 38 games, including 12 multi-point outings during that stretch. The Sabres are 14-2-0 this season (and 22-5-1 in his career) when he has at least two points.
  • Eichel’s .97 points per game rank him ninth among all players with at least 20 games played this season.
  • If Eichel finishes the season at a point-per-game pace or better, he will be the eighth player in franchise history to do so in one of his first two full NHL seasons, joining Rick Martin (1971-72), Rene Robert (1972-73), Dave Andreychuk (1983-84), Phil Housley (1983-84), Pierre Turgeon (1988-89), Alexander Mogilny (1990-91) and Thomas Vanek (2006-07).

*All rankings before 4/7 games.

THE KANE EVENT

  • Evander Kane has scored each of his 27 goals this season in his last 56 games.
  • Kane is tied for 15th in the NHL with 24 even-strength goals despite not scoring his first until Dec. 3.
  • Since Dec. 1, Kane ranks eighth among all NHL skaters in goals (27) and leads the league in even-strength goals (24).

*All rankings before 4/7 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)

.41 (33)

.22 (18)

A/GP

.40 (33)

.24 (20)

.56 (46)

.39 (32)

P/GP

.69 (57)

.53 (43)

.97 (79)

.61 (50)

SOG/GP

2.9 (238)

2.1 (172)

4.1 (335)

2.3 (186)

(82-game pace in parentheses)

THEY’VE GOT THE POWER

  • The Sabres ranked first in the league with a 24.8% success rate on the power play entering play Tuesday.
  • 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.

ASSIST-OLAINEN
Rasmus Ristolainen
entered play Friday tied for 32nd among all NHL skaters with 39 assists this season.

  • Ristolainen has recorded an assist on 20.4 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 five goals to fall below 20 percent.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 4/7 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 24.8% PP% (1st)
  • Eichel: 4.1 S/GP (1st)
  • Foligno: 279 hits (5th)
  • Kane: 3.8 S/GP (5th)
  • Nilsson: .933 EV SV% (6th), .923 SV% (10th)
  • O’Reilly: 21:33 TOI/GP (1st, forwards), 57.9 FO% (5th)
  • Ristolainen: 24 PPA (4th), 26:34 TOI/GP (5th), 39 A (7th, 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.

Cody Franson:

  • Played with James Reimer for the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2010-15.

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.

Ryan O’Reilly:

  • He and Aaron Ekblad share a birth date. 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.

Zemgus Girgensons:

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

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 (279), Ristolainen (192), Gorges (140)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (158), McCabe (113), Gorges (107)
Shots: Kane (256), Eichel (241), O’Reilly (185)

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: 5-5-0 (10), 21/23, 7/18, 21/24

OVERTIME RESULTS (6-6; 108-111 all-time)
Oct. 18 at CGY: L, 4-3 (GWG-Monahan, 2:26)
Nov. 11 vs. NJD: L, 2-1 (GWG-Greene, 0:29)
Dec. 5 at WSH: L, 3-2 (GWG-Johansson, 2:38)
Dec. 6 vs. EDM: W, 4-3 (GWG-Ristolainen, 0:57)
Dec. 16 vs. NYI: W, 3-2 (GWG-Ristolainen, 0:42)

Jan. 5 at CHI: L, 4-3 (GWG-Kane, 0:56)
Jan. 20 vs. DET: W, 3-2 (GWG-Okposo, 4:34)
Jan. 21 at MTL: W, 3-2 (GWG-Bogosian, 1:48)
Jan. 24 at NSH: W, 5-4 (GWG-Eichel, 2:35)

Feb. 2 vs. NYR: L, 2-1 (GWG-Kreider, 3:56)
Feb. 7 vs. SJS: W, 5-4 (GWG-Kane, 1:05)
Feb. 28 vs. NSH: L, 5-4 (GWG-Forsberg, 2:45)

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)
Goals

Tyler Ennis … 3 goals … 100 NHL goals
Assists
Brian Gionta … 2 assists … 300 NHL assists
Points
Evander Kane … 1 point … 300 NHL points

RECENT MILESTONES
C.J. Smith … 1st NHL game … April 2 vs. NYI
C.J. Smith … 1st NHL point (assist) … April 2 vs. NYI
Alexander Nylander … 1st NHL game … April 3 vs. TOR

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s