Game Preview: 1/4/18 at MIN

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Sunday, January 1
NY Rangers 3 at Buffalo 2 (OT)
Goals: Reinhart, Ristolainen
Goalie: Lehner (39 saves/42 shots)
PP: 1/5; PK: 2/3; Shots: NY Rangers 42 – Buffalo 33

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 151)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Taylor Fedun (lower body, Nov. 17; injured reserve) – 22 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
N/A

UPCOMING GAMES
Friday, Jan. 5: Buffalo at Winnipeg, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 7: Buffalo at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 9: Winnipeg at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 11: Columbus at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 18: Buffalo at NY Rangers, 7:30 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at WILD

  • This is the second of two meetings between the Sabres and Wild this season.
  • Last meeting: Minnesota defeated Buffalo 5-4 in Buffalo on Nov. 22
  • The Sabres are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Wild; 7-3-0 on the road
  • This is the 22nd game all-time between Buffalo and Minnesota; Buffalo has a 9-11-1 series record.
  • The Sabres are 7-3-0 on the road against the Wild all-time.

THIS DAY IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 6-7-3 all-time on January 4.
  • January 4, 1976: The Sabres defeat the Soviet Wings 12-6 in an international exhibition game at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, handing the Soviets the worst loss ever by a USSR squad in international play. The Sabres were one of only two teams from the NHL to defeat the Wings on their tour.
  • January 4, 1984: Real Cloutier scores his second hat trick in six days and Gilbert Perreault registers five assists as the Sabres roll to a 9-4 win at Winnipeg.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The road team has won 16 of the 21 games all-time between the Sabres and Wild, including each of the last six. The Sabres’ last loss in Minnesota came on Nov. 13, 2014.
  • The Sabres are 4-3-5 (.542) in their last 12 games, and haven’t gone two straight games without a point since that stretch began with a win on Dec. 5 at Colorado.
  • Evander Kane has five points (1+4) in five games against the Wild since the beginning of the 2014-15 season.
  • Robin Lehner is 2-1-1 with a .952 save percentage in four career games against Minnesota.
  • December tied as the second-most productive month of Jack Eichel’s career (8+8), trailing only his 18-point output (9+9) in March 2017. His totals tied him for second among all NHL players in goals and sixth in points among all NHL players in December.

WHO’S HOT?

  • Jack Eichel has totaled 11 points (7+4) in his last seven games. Since beginning that stretch on Dec. 15, Eichel ranks in the top three in the league in goals (T-1st, 7), even-strength goals (T-1st, 6) and even-strength points (T-2nd, 10) as of Jan. 3.
  • Robin Lehner is 4-2-4 with a .934 save percentage in his last 10 games and has only one game below .920 during that stretch. Lehner’s .928 save percentage in December ranked fifth among all NHL goaltenders with at least 10 games played in the month.
  • Kyle Okposo enters tonight’s game with five points (1+4) in his last five games, including at least a point in each of his last three (1+3). He hasn’t gone two games without recording a point since Dec. 2 and 5.
  • Ryan O’Reilly has four points (1+3) in his last four games.
  • With a goal and an assist in each of his last two games, Rasmus Ristolainen has recorded consecutive multi-point games for the second time in his career (last: Dec. 13 and 16, 2016). With a multi-point game tonight, he would become the first Sabres defenseman to log three straight multi-point games since Andrej Sekera posted six in a row from Feb. 26 to March 6, 2011.

WORKING OVERTIME

  • The Sabres have had each of their last three games decided in overtime.
  • If tonight’s game goes to overtime, it will be the first time the Sabres have been tied after regulation in four straight games since the team went 2-0-2 (three shootouts) from March 10 to 17, 2012
  • The Sabres have had four consecutive games decided by an overtime goal only once in franchise history, when the team went 1-0-3 in four games from March 11 to 17, 2004.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Tonight’s game is the fifth of seven consecutive games away from KeyBank Center for the Sabres. This stretch is the fourth time the team has ever played away from home seven times in a row, the longest such stretch in franchise history, and the first time since January 2012. The team’s next game in Buffalo will take place on Jan. 9 vs. Winnipeg.

I LIKE EICH

  • Jack Eichel is currently on pace to shatter his personal bests in goals (24), assists (33) and points (57) on the strength of top-10 production at even strength (T-9th in NHL in ES goals, T-10th in ES points).
  • Eichel’s 14 even-strength goals through 39 games match his total from last season (61 games) and are just two shy of his career-best total from 2015-16 (81 games).
  • Eichel’s 29 even-strength points through 39 games are four shy of his total from last season (61 games) and are just six shy of his career-best total from 2015-16 (81 games).

Jack Eichel’s Production by Season

Season GP G A PTS ES G ES A ES P
2015-16 81 24 32 56 16 19 35
2016-17 61 24 33 57 14 19 33
2017-18 39 15 20 35 14 15 29
2017-18 (Pace) 82 32 42 74 29 32 61

SETTING THEM UP AND KNOCKING THEM DOWN

  • Of Jack Eichel’s 35 points so far this season, 22 have been goals or primary assists recorded during 5-on-5 play (excludes empty-net goals).
  • Through 39 games, Eichel’s 22 primary points (11+11) during 5-on-5 play have already surpassed his 61-game total from last season (11+10) and are just two shy of his total from his 81-game rookie season (12+12).

2017-18 Primary Points Leaders at 5-on-5 (Through 1/2 games)

Player Team Goals Primary Assists Primary Points
Nikita Kucherov TBL 19 6 25
Nathan MacKinnon COL 10 13 23
Patrick Kane CHI 12 10 22
John Tavares NYI 12 10 22
Jack Eichel BUF 11 11 22

*All primary point stats via NaturalStatTrick.com

ROCKING ROBIN

  • Robin Lehner is 4-2-4 with a .934 save percentage in his last nine games.
  • In those games, he has also stopped 264 of 278 shots faced during 5-on-5 play (.950), which includes three goals allowed with an opponent’s extra attack er on the ice.
  • Lehner is 2-1-4 with a .931 save percentage in his last seven contests away from KeyBank Center.
  • Since joining the Sabres in 2015-16, Lehner has posted a .920 save percentage in 110 games, ranking him ninth among all goalies with at least 75 games played during that span entering play Wednesday.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings entering play Wednesday)

  • Eichel: 14 EVG (T-9th), 29 EVP (T-10th)
  • Kane: 3 SHG (T-2nd), 3 SHP (T-2nd), 162 S (4th)
  • O’Reilly: 576 FOW (1st), 61.5% FO% (1st), 937 FO (2nd)
  • Ristolainen: 26:47 TOI/GP (3rd)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: McCabe (87) Ristolainen (86), Kane (84)
Blocked Shots: Scandella (64), McCabe (60), Ristolainen (53)
Shots: Kane (162), Eichel (130), O’Reilly (95)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10: 3-5-2 (8), 26/36, 5/36, 29/35
11-20: 2-6-2 (6), 20/35, 5/28, 23/27
21-30: 2-6-2 (6), 18/31, 2/32, 24/32
31-40: 3-3-4 (9), 22/27, 3/22, 21/26

OVERTIME RESULTS (2-8; 110-119 all-time)
Oct. 17 at VGK: L, 5-4 (GWG-Perron)
Oct. 21 at BOS: W, 5-4 (GWG-O’Reilly)
Nov. 11 at MTL: L, 2-1 (GWG-Pacioretty)
Nov. 14 at PIT: L, 5-4 (GWG-Sheary)
Dec. 8 at CHI: L, 3-2 (GWG-Forsling)
Dec. 10 at STL: L, 3-2 (GWG-Tarasenko)
Dec. 15 vs. CAR: L, 5-4 (GWG-Slavin)
Dec. 27 at NYI: L, 3-2 (GWG-Barzal)
Dec. 29 at NJD: W, 4-3 (GWG-Ristolainen)
Jan. 1 vs. NYR: L, 3-2 (GWG-Miller)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (0-1; 69-65 all-time)
Oct. 5 vs. MTL: L, 3-2 (GDG-Drouin)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Wins
Buffalo Sabres … 2 home wins … 1,000 regular-season home wins
Games Played
Robin Lehner … 4 games … 200 career games played
Jacob Josefson … 9 games … 300 career games played
Assists
Rasmus Ristolainen … 4 assists … 100 career assists
Points
Marco Scandella … 1 point … 100 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
Jake McCabe … 200th NHL game … Dec. 29 at NJD

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