Game Preview: 12/21/18 at Washington


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Tuesday, December 18
Florida 5 at Buffalo 2
Goals: Skinner, Ristolainen
Goalie: Hutton (31 saves/35 shots); 1 ENG
PP: 0/3; PK: 2/3; Shots: Florida 36 – Buffalo 32

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 139)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Scott Wilson (ankle, Oct. 4; injured reserve) – 35 games
Jake McCabe (upper body, Nov. 29; injured reserve) – 9 games
Casey Nelson (upper body, Dec. 8; injured reserve) – 6 games
Lawrence Pilut (lower body, Dec. 15; injured reserve) – 3 games
Nathan Beaulieu (lower body, Dec. 16) – 2 games

12/15: Recalled D Matt Hunwick from his conditioning loan in Rochester (AHL); Activated D Marco Scandella from IR
12/16: Recalled D Brendan Guhle from Rochester (AHL); Placed D Lawrence Pilut on IR
12/17: Assigned D Matt Tennyson to Rochester (AHL)
12/19: Placed F Patrik Berglund on unconditional waivers with intent to terminate his contract

Saturday, Dec. 22: Anaheim at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 27: Buffalo at St. Louis, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 29: Boston at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 31: NY Islanders at Buffalo, 6 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 3: Florida at Buffalo, 7 p.m.


  • This is the second of three meetings between the Sabres and Capitals this season.
  • Last meeting: Washington defeated Buffalo 4-3 (SO) in Washington on Dec. 15
  • Next meeting: Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Capitals; 2-6-2 on the road.
  • This is the 160th game all-time between Buffalo and Washington; Buffalo has an 88-50-21 series record.
  • The Sabres are 41-27-12 on the road against the Capitals all-time.


  • The Sabres are 13-5-3 all-time on December 21.
  • December 21, 1975: Rick Martin scores four goals and Fred Stanfield scores three as the Sabres defeat Washington by a score of 14-2, the largest winning margin in franchise history. The Sabres roster combined for 40 points in the game, the most in team history.
  • December 21, 1991: Alexander Mogilny sets the franchise record for fastest goal from the start of a game, beating Toronto goaltender Jeff Reese just five seconds after the opening faceoff.


  • Jack Eichel enters tonight’s contest on his first seven-game point streak (9+5) since January 2018. With a point tonight, he’d have his longest streak since he tallied in a career-best 11 straight games from Feb. 14 to March 7, 2017.
  • Jeff Skinner has points in seven straight games (5+4) for the first time since March 16 to 27, 2017. A point tonight would give him his first career eight-game point streak.
  • The Sabres are winless in their last six visits to Washington (0-4-2). Their last road win against the Capitals came on Nov. 22, 2014.
  • Rasmus Dahlin recorded a career-high three points (1+2) on Saturday, when these teams last met.
  • Sam Reinhart has points in each of his last three games against the Capitals (1+3).
  • Jeff Skinner has 17 points (8+9) in 20 career visits to Washington.


  • Since Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner and Sam Reinhart began playing together on Nov. 13 vs. Tampa Bay, the Sabres have gone 11-4-3 and gotten a goal from at least one of the three in all but one of the team’s 18 games.
  • Each of the three has played at a point-per-game pace or better in the 18 games since they began playing together as a line:
    • Eichel: 27 points (10 +17), plus-12 rating
    • Reinhart: 22 points (6+16), plus-10 rating
    • Skinner: 18 points (13+5), plus-10 rating


  • The Sabres are 6-7-2 this season when trailing after two periods. Entering play Thursday, their six wins when trailing after 40 minutes tied for second-most in the league and their .400 win percentage in those games ranked second.
  • Buffalo’s six wins when trailing after two have already surpassed last season’s total and leave the team three third-period comebacks shy of the franchise record of nine set in the 2005-06 season.


  • The Sabres are 11-2-5 in one-goal games so far this season. Buffalo last won more than half of its one-goal games in a season in 2011-12 (21-9-11).
  • The team’s current .611 winning percentage in one-goal games would be the seventh-best mark in franchise history and would be the Sabres’ best record in one-goal games since 1989-90 (18-6-3, .667).


  • The Sabres are 8-5 in games that have been tied after regulation this season, including a 5-4 record in overtime and a 3-1 record in shootouts. Their five overtime wins have already matched their overtime win total from last season (5-10) and their three shootout wins are the team’s highest total since 2014-15 (8-5).
  • Jeff Skinner entered play Thursday tied for the league lead with three overtime goals this season. Skinner’s total through 35 games matches the Sabres’ single-season record shared by Daniel Briere (2006-07) and Derek Roy (2009-10) and ties him for 10th-most career overtime goals in franchise history.

Tonight’s game opens up Buffalo’s eighth of 16 sets of back-to-back games this season, which continues tomorrow night vs. Anaheim. The Sabres are 4-2-1 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 4-1-2 in the second game so far this season. Buffalo’s point breakdown in their previous back-to-back sets is: four points (3), three points (1), two points (1), one point (2) and zero points (0).


  • Sam Reinhart enters tonight’s game on a career-best 11-game point streak (5+13), topping his previous career high of five games set from Dec. 20 to 29, 2017. It is the longest active streak in the NHL and the longest by a Sabre since the 2016-17 season. With a point tonight, he would own the longest streak by a Sabre since Tim Connolly recorded points in 16 straight from Dec. 23, 2009 to Jan. 25, 2010.
  • Reinhart has recorded 31 points (8+23) in his last 28 games, including each of his career-high 11 multi-point games this season.
  • The Sabres are 15-4-3 this season when Reinhart records at least one point and 26-4-6 (.806) in his career when he records at least two.


  • Jack Eichel recorded his 17th multi-point game of the season on Sunday at Boston (2+2). He has now recorded two points in seven of his last 10 games.
  • Entering play Thursday, Eichel’s 17 multi-point games ranked third in the league lead this season, one behind co-leaders Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon. Through 35 games, he is one shy of his career-high 18 in a season.

Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner are currently on pace to shatter their personal bests in points and make a mark in the Sabres’ record books on the strength of career-best production at even strength that ranks them among the best even-strength players in the league this season.

  • If he maintains his current pace, Eichel would finish the season with the second-most even-strength points ever recorded by a Sabre (82), trailing only Pat LaFontaine (83) in 1992-93, and would top LaFontaine’s franchise-record 52 even-strength assists that season. He would also become the first Sabre to record more than 95 points since the 1992-93 season (LaFontaine/Mogilny/Hawerchuk).
  • Skinner is currently on pace to log the second-highest goal total in Sabres history (59), trailing only Mogilny in 1992-93 (76). His 45 even-strength goals would finish behind only Mogilny’s even-strength total from 1992-93 (49) for most in team history.
Player/Season GP G A PTS ES G ES A ES P
Eichel Career High (2017-18) 67 25 39 64 22 20 42
Eichel 2018-19 35 14 32 46 11 24 35
Eichel 2018-19 (Pace) 82 33 75 108 26 56 82
Skinner Career High (2016-17) 79 37 26 63 30 18 48
Skinner 2018-19 35 25 12 37 19 8 27
Skinner 2018-19 (Pace) 82 59 28 87 45 19 63

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 12/20 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 45 PTS (6th), 20 W (T-6th), 82.5% PK% (9th)
  • Eichel: 152 S (2nd), 24 EVA (T-2nd), 35 EVP (3rd), 46 P (T-5th), 32 A (6th)
  • Hutton: 13 W (T-9th)
  • Ristolainen: 25:49 TOI/GP (5th), 111 hits (5th)
  • Skinner: 3 OTG (T-1st), plus-21 (T-1st), 6 GWG (2nd), 19 EVG (2nd), 25 G (2nd)

Former Capitals:

  • Sabres assistant coach Chris Hajt played five games for the Capitals during the 2003-04 season.
  • Sabres Head Coach Phil Housley spent two seasons playing for the Capitals (1996-1998), recording 71 points (17+54) in 141 games played.

Former Sabres:

  • Capitals assistant coach Scott Arniel played for the Sabres for four seasons (1986-1990) and was a teammate of Sabres Head Coach Phil Housley. He later rejoined the organization as an assistant coach from 2002 to 2006.

Nathan Beaulieu:

  • Played with Capitals F Lars Eller and F Devante Smith-Pelly in Montreal.
  • Won a bronze medal for Team Canada with Capitals F Devante Smith-Pelly at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Zach Bogosian:

  • Played for Team USA with Capitals D Matt Niskanen and F T.J. Oshie at the 2009 IIHF World Championship.

Jason Botterill:

  • Was the assistant general manager in Pittsburgh when Capitals D Matt Niskanen played for the Penguins.

Phil Housley:

  • Played with Capitals assistant coach Scott Arniel in Buffalo and again in Winnipeg.

Carter Hutton:

  • Played with Capitals F Dmitrij Jaskin in St. Louis.

Matt Hunwick:

  • Played for the Rangers when Capitals assistant coach Scott Arniel was an associate coach in New York.
  • Won a bronze medal with Capitals F T.J. Oshie while representing the United States at the 2013 IIHF World Championship.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Played for Team USA with Capitals F T.J. Oshie at the 2009 and 2010 IIHF World Championships.
  • Was a teammate of Capitals D Matt Niskanen at the 2009 IIHF World Championship.

Johan Larsson:

  • Played for Team Sweden with Capitals F Nicklas Backstrom at the 2012 IIHF World Championship.

Davis Payne:

  • Was an assistant coach in Los Angeles when Capitals F Nic Dowd was playing for the Kings.
  • Was the Blues’ head coach when Capitals F Lars Eller and F T.J. Oshie were playing in St. Louis.

Sam Reinhart:

  • Won a gold medal for Team Canada with Capitals D Madison Bowey at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Vladimir Sobotka:

  • Played with Capitals G Pheonix Copley, F Dmitrij Jaskin and F T.J. Oshie in St. Louis.
  • Has represented the Czech Republic with Capitals D Michal Kempny twice; at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.

Tage Thompson:

  • Played with Capitals G Pheonix Copley and F Dmitrij Jaskin in St. Louis.

Hits: Ristolainen (111), Girgensons (57), Okposo (44)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (63), Bogosian (60), McCabe (44)
Shots: Eichel (152), Skinner (107), Ristolainen (90)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK] 1-10: 6-4-0 (12), 26/28, 8/38, 22/30
11-20: 6-2-2 (14), 35/27, 4/28, 26/29
21-30: 5-3-2 (12), 31/32, 5/28, 23/29
31-40: 3-1-1 (7), 16/15, 4/16, 14/15

OVERTIME RESULTS (5-4; 118-125 all-time)
Oct. 27 at CBJ: L, 5-4 (GWG-Panarin, 0:31)
Oct. 30 vs. CGY: L, 2-1 (GWG-Gaudreau, 2:40)
Nov. 8 at MTL: W, 6-5 (GWG-Ristolainen, 1:38)
Nov. 19 at PIT: W, 5-4 (GWG-Eichel, 0:45)
Nov. 23 vs. MTL: W, 3-2 (GWG-Skinner, 3:06)
Nov. 27 vs. SJS: W, 3-2 (GWG-Skinner, 1:41)
Nov. 30 at FLA: L, 3-2 (GWG-Barkov, 2:26)
Dec. 4 vs. TOR: L, 4-3 (GWG-Matthews, 4:57)
Dec. 11 vs. LAK: W, 4-3 (GWG-Skinner, 1:49)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (3-1; 73-67 all-time)
Nov. 10 vs. VAN: W, 4-3 (GDG-Mittelstadt)
Nov. 16 at WPG: W, 2-1 (GDG-Sheary)
Nov. 24 at DET: W, 3-2 (GDG-Reinhart)
Dec. 15 at WSH: L, 4-3 (GDG-Ovechkin)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Remi Elie … 2 games … 100 career games played
Vladimir Sobotka … 5 games … 500 career games played
Jason Pominville … 1 goal … 211 goals with Sabres (T-11th in franchise history)
Kyle Okposo … 5 assists … 300 career assists
Matt Hunwick … 8 assists … 100 career assists
Jason Pominville … 3 points … 511 points with Sabres (T-8th in franchise history)

Sam Reinhart … 100th NHL assist … Dec. 18 vs. FLA

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