Game Preview: 3/2/18 at Florida


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Wednesday, February 28
Buffalo 2 at Tampa Bay 1 (OT)
Goals: Rodrigues, Pominville
Goalie: Johnson (21 saves/22 shots)
PP: 1/4; PK: 1/1; Shots: Buffalo 34 – Tampa Bay 22

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 221)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zach Bogosian (lower body, Jan. 11; injured reserve) – 21 games
Jake McCabe (shoulder, Feb. 8; injured reserve) – 11 games
Jack Eichel (high-ankle sprain, Feb. 11; injured reserve) – 9 games

2/26: Acquired F Daniel O’Regan, a conditional first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for F Evander Kane; Assigned O’Regan to Rochester (AHL)
2/27: Recalled F Seth Griffith from Rochester (AHL)

Monday, March 5: Toronto at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 7: Calgary at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 8: Buffalo at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 10: Vegas at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Thursday, March 15: Toronto at Buffalo, 7 p.m.


  • This is the third of four meetings between the Sabres and Panthers this season.
  • Last meeting: Florida defeated Buffalo 4-2 in Buffalo on Feb. 1
  • Next meeting: Saturday, April 7 in Florida
  • The Sabres are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Panthers; 3-5-2 on the road.
  • This is the 95th game all-time between Buffalo and Florida; Buffalo has a 48-38-8 series record.
  • The Sabres are 21-20-4 on the road against the Panthers all-time.


  • The Sabres are 10-4-3 all-time on March 2.
  • March 2, 1998: Alexei Zhitnik scores the game’s only goal and Dominik Hasek gets his second shutout in as many nights as the Sabres top the New York Rangers 1-0 at Madison Square Garden.
  • March 2, 2007: The Sabres score eight goals, including the first two of Mike Ryan’s career, to top the Montreal Canadiens 8-5 and improve to first place in the NHL.


  • The Sabres enter tonight’s game with a 5-0-1 record in their last six games against Atlantic Division opponents and an 8-6-3 record against the division this season.
  • The Sabres are seeking their first road win against the Panthers since Nov. 12, 2015.


  • Jason Pominville has totaled 38 points (15+23) in 40 career games against Florida, including nine points (4+5) in his last nine meetings.
  • Ryan O’Reilly has 16 points (7+9) in his last 16 games against the Panthers, including points in 12 of those contests and four two-point games.
  • Sam Reinhart has nine points (5+4) in his last nine games against the Panthers.


  • Sam Reinhart has totaled 20 points (7+13) in his last 20 games.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has 22 points (6+16) in his last 27 games dating back to Dec. 29. Ristolainen’s 22 points during that span tied for fourth among NHL defensemen entering play Thursday.
  • Ryan O’Reilly has recorded nine points (2+7) in his last nine games.
  • Evan Rodrigues has posted nine points (4+5) in his last 11 games
  • Chad Johnson is 4-1-0 with a .939 save percentage in his last six appearances.


  • The Sabres enter tonight’s game with a 6-1-1 record in their last eight road games.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has recorded 13 points (4+9) in his last 13 road games.
  • Sam Reinhart has totaled nine points (3+6) in his last nine road games.
  • Chad Johnson has stopped 78 of 82 shots faced in his last three road games (.951), earning wins in all three of those contests.


  • The Sabres have tallied at least one power-play goal in 15 of their last 23 games dating back to Jan. 7 at Philadelphia (and went 0-for-0 on Jan. 11 vs. Columbus), converting at a 27.5 percent clip during that span.
  • Buffalo’s 19 power-play goals during this stretch led the league entering play Thursday.
  • Ryan O’Reilly led the league entering play Thursday with seven power-play goals scored since Jan. 7. O’Reilly, Kyle Okposo and Rasmus Ristolainen all tied for fourth in the league with 11 power-play points during that stretch.
  • O’Reilly’s 11 power-play goals this season tied for fifth in the league before Thursday’s games.


  • Ryan O’Reilly, who leads the NHL in faceoffs won (971) and faceoff percentage (60.5%) this season, is climbing the single-season record books as well. His 971 wins already rank as the third-most wins by a Sabre in a season (behind his last two seasons) and are on pace to become the second-most by any NHL player in a season:
    • Rod Brind’Amour (CAR), 2005-06 – 1,268
    • Ryan O’Reilly *pace* (BUF), 2017-18 1,248
    • Adam Oates (WSH), 1999-00 – 1,235
    • Rod Brind’Amour (CAR), 2001-02 – 1,218
    • Joe Sakic (COL), 2000-01 – 1,214
  • At his current pace, O’Reilly would become just the third player ever to win at least 1,000 faceoffs in a season while maintaining a faceoff percentage of at least 59 percent, joining Rod Brind’Amour (five times) and Patrice Bergeron (two times).

*The NHL began keeping faceoff stats in the 1997-98 season.


  • The Sabres scored two shorthanded goals on Feb. 11 vs. Colorado, marking the second time this season the team has scored two shorthanded goals in a game (last: Oct. 7 at NY Islanders).
  • Buffalo entered play Thursday tied for the league lead with nine shorthanded goals this season, the team’s highest total since the 2007-08 season (9).
  • Ryan O’Reilly’s four shorthanded assists tied for the league lead entering play Thursday, and his four shorthanded points tied for second.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 3/1 games)

  • Girgensons: 2 SHG (T-6th)
  • O’Reilly: 971 FOW (1st), 60.5% FO% (1st), 1,604 FO (1st), 4 SHP (T-2nd), 11 PPG (T-5th)
  • Pouliot: 2 SHG (T-6th)
  • Ristolainen: 26:33 TOI/GP (3rd)

Former Sabres:

  • Jamie McGinn recorded 27 points (14+13) in 63 games for the Sabres during the 2015-16 season.
  • 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:

  • Seth Griffith recorded five assists in 21 games for Florida during the 2016-17 season.

Victor Antipin:

  • Teammates with Evgenii Dadonov for Team Russia at the 2015 and 2016 World Championships.

Nathan Beaulieu:

  • Represented Canada alongside Mark Pysyk at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

Zemgus Girgensons:

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

Chad Johnson:

  • Johnson, Radim Vrbata and Keith Yandle were teammates for the Phoenix Coyotes during the 2012-13 season.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Represented the United States alongside Keith Yandle at the 2010 World Championship.
  • Teammates with Michael Haley for the New York Islanders from 2009-2012.

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.
  • Teammates with Jamie McGinn for the Colorado Avalanche from 2011-2015.
  • Played alongside Michael Matheson for Team Canada at the 2016 World Championship.

Sam Reinhart:

  • Played alongside Michael Matheson for Team Canada at the 2016 World Championship.

Rasmus Ristolainen:

  • Represented Finland alongside Aleksander Barkov at the 2012 World U18 Championship and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

NHL Draft:

  • Justin Falk (110th overall) was taken two picks before Colton Sceviour (112th overall) in the fourth round of the 2007 NHL Draft.
  • Johan Larsson (56th overall by Minnesota), Alex Petrovic (36th overall) and Connor Brickley (50th overall) were all drafted in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft.
  • Nathan Beaulieu (17th overall) and Jonathan Huberdeau (3rd overall) were both taken in the first round of the 2011 NHL Draft. They were also teammates for the Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) from 2009-2012 and for Team Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship.
  • The first round of the 2012 NHL Draft saw both Zemgus Girgensons (14th overall) and Mike Matheson (23rd overall) go off the board.
  • 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. Jared McCann (24th overall) was also taken in the first round in 2014.

Hits: Ristolainen (161), McCabe (110), Girgensons (107)
Blocked Shots: Scandella (91), Ristolainen (86), McCabe (79)
Shots: Eichel (201), O’Reilly (172), Reinhart/Ristolainen (136)

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: 3-4-3 (9), 24/33, 3/25, 23/28
41-50: 4-6-0 (8), 27/31, 10/33, 15/26
51-60: 3-6-1 (7), 28/32, 6/24, 32/38
61-70: 3-1-0 (6), 10/9, 3/14, 7/9

OVERTIME RESULTS (5-10; 113-121 all-time)
Oct. 17 at VGK: L, 5-4 (GWG-Perron, 3:52)
Oct. 21 at BOS: W, 5-4 (GWG-O’Reilly, 2:59)
Nov. 11 at MTL: L, 2-1 (GWG-Pacioretty, 3:08)
Nov. 14 at PIT: L, 5-4 (GWG-Sheary, 0:16)
Dec. 8 at CHI: L, 3-2 (GWG-Forsling, 4:55)
Dec. 10 at STL: L, 3-2 (GWG-Tarasenko, 4:24)
Dec. 15 vs. CAR: L, 5-4 (GWG-Slavin,2:15)
Dec. 27 at NYI: L, 3-2 (GWG-Barzal, 1:08)
Dec. 29 at NJD: W, 4-3 (GWG-Ristolainen, 2:37)
Jan. 1 vs. NYR: L, 3-2 (GWG-Miller, 2:43)
Jan. 22 at CGY: W, 2-1 (GWG-Eichel, 1:30)
Feb. 6 vs. ANA: L, 4-3 (GWG-Henrique, 1:36)
Feb. 15 at OTT: L, 3-2 (GWG-Hoffman,1:13)
Feb. 22 at DET: W, 3-2 (GWG-Scandella, 4:59)
Feb. 28 at TBL: W, 2-1 (GWG-Pominville, 1:26)

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

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Zemgus Girgensons … 3 points … 100 career points


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