Game Preview: 1/3/19 vs. Florida


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Monday, December 31
NY Islanders 3 at Buffalo 1
Goals: Okposo
Goalie: Hutton (30 saves/32 shots); 1 ENG
PP: 1/2; PK: 2/2; Shots: Buffalo 40 – NY Islanders 33

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 158)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Scott Wilson (ankle, Oct. 4; injured reserve) – 40 games
Casey Nelson (upper body, Dec. 8; injured reserve) – 11 games
Zemgus Girgensons (upper body, Dec. 29; injured reserve) – 2 games

12/29: Recalled G Scott Wedgewood from Rochester (AHL); Activated F Jason Pominville from IR; Placed F Zemgus Girgensons on IR
12/30: Assigned G Scott Wedgewood to Rochester (AHL)
12/31: Recalled F C.J. Smith from Rochester (AHL)

Saturday, Jan. 5: Buffalo at Boston, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 8: New Jersey at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 11: Buffalo at Carolina, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 12: Tampa Bay at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 14: Buffalo at Edmonton, 9 p.m.


  • This is the third of four meetings between the Sabres and Panthers this season.
  • Last meeting: Florida defeated Buffalo 5-2 in Buffalo on Dec. 18, 2018
  • Next meeting: Thursday, Feb. 19 in Florida
  • The Sabres are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Panthers; 3-7-0 at home.
  • This is the 99th game all-time between Buffalo and Florida; Buffalo has a 48-41-9 series record.


  • The Sabres are 11-5-5 all-time on January 3.
  • January 3, 1974: Rick Martin opens the scoring and then scores twice more to earn his fifth career hat trick as the Sabres dispatch the Penguins 6-1.
  • January 3, 1993: Alexander Mogilny scores twice (and assists on Brad May’s overtime goal), stretching his goal streak to eight games to tie a franchise record.


  • The Sabres are 7-4-3 against the Atlantic Division this season, including a 4-2-2 record at home.
  • Buffalo entered play Wednesday ranked fifth in the NHL with a penalty kill percentage of 83.8 percent this season and ranked first during the month of December with a 91.7 percent success rate.
  • Jack Eichel’s 18 multi-point games this season tied him for second-most in the league entering play Wednesday and have already matched his single-season high.
  • With no wins in their last seven games against Florida, Buffalo needs a win tonight to avoid the team’s first-ever eight-game winless streak against the Panthers.
  • Sam Reinhart has 15 points (8+7) in 15 career games against the Panthers, including five multi-point games and points in each of the last five meetings (3+4). His point-per-game rate against Florida ties his output against Nashville (6+1 in 7 GP) for his best against any NHL team.
  • Jeff Skinner has recorded eight points (6+2) in his last seven games against Florida.
  • Carter Hutton is 2-1-0 in four career appearances against the Panthers with a .933 save percentage and a 2.03 goals-against average.

Buffalo enters tonight’s game with a 12-5-3 (.675) record at home. The team’s .675 points percentage at home is tied for ninth in the NHL before Wednesday’s games and would tie as the Sabres’ 11th-best home record ever, and  would be their best since the 1989-90 season (27-11-2, .700).


  • The Sabres are 6-10-2 this season when trailing after two periods. Their six wins when trailing after 40 minutes ties for second-most in the league and their .333 win percentage in those games ranks fourth.
  • 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 11-3-6 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 .550 winning percentage in one-goal games would be the 16th-best mark in franchise history and would be the Sabres’ best record in one-goal games since 2006-07 (25-9-7, .610).


  • The Sabres are 8-6 in games that have been tied after regulation this season, including a 5-5 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 Sunday 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.


  • Sam Reinhart has recorded 35 points (8+27) in his last 32 games, including each of his career-high 12 multi-point games this season. His 30 assists this season have already matched his previous career high.
  • The Sabres are 16-5-4 this season when Reinhart records at least one point and 27-4-6 (.811) in his career when he records at least two.

Entering play Wednesday, Rasmus Dahlin led rookie defensemen and tied for third among all NHL rookies with 20 points (4+16) this season.

  • With his 20th point in his 37th game on Dec. 22 vs. Anaheim, he became the fourth-fastest 18-year-old defenseman in NHL history to reach the 20-point mark, trailing only Phil Housley (28 GP), Ray Bourque (30 GP) and Aaron Ekblad (34 GP).
  • Only nine defensemen in NHL history have recorded more points before their 19th birthdays than Dahlin’s
  • Dahlin’s totals put him on pace for 41 points this season. It would rank as the eighth-most by a rookie defenseman since the 2005-06 season and would trail only Phil Housley (57 points in 1982-83) for most ever by a defenseman before his 19th birthday.


  • Since Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner and Sam Reinhart began playing together on Nov. 13 vs. Tampa Bay, the Sabres have gone 12-7-4 and gotten a goal from at least one of the three in all but four of the team’s 23 games.
  • Each of the three has played at or near a point-per-game pace in the 23 games since they began playing together as a line:
    • Eichel: 30 points (11+19), plus-10 rating
    • Reinhart: 26 points (6+20), plus-9 rating
    • Skinner: 20 points (14+6), plus-5 rating
  • All three are currently on pace to shatter their personal bests in points on the strength of career-best production at even strength that ranks them each among the best even-strength players in the league this season:
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 40 15 34 49 11 25 36
Eichel 2018-19 (Pace) 82 31 70 100 23 51 74
Skinner Career High (2016-17) 79 37 26 63 30 18 48
Skinner 2018-19 40 26 13 39 20 9 29
Skinner 2018-19 (Pace) 82 53 27 80 41 18 59
Reinhart Career High (2017-18) 82 25 25 50 13 16 29
Reinhart 2018-19 40 8 31 38 7 21 28
Reinhart 2018-19 (Pace) 82 16 64 78 14 43 57


  • At his current pace, Jack Eichel would finish the season with the third-most even-strength points ever recorded by a Sabre, trailing only Pat LaFontaine (83) and Mogilny (78) in 1992-93, and would trail only 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).
  • Jeff Skinner is currently on pace to tie for the third-most goals in Sabres history, trailing only Mogilny in 1992-93 (76) and Danny Gare in 1979-80 (56). His 41 even-strength goals would finish behind only Mogilny’s even-strength total from 1992-93 (49) and Rick Martin’s 44 in 1973-74 for most in team history.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 1/2 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 8% PK% (5th), 48 PTS (T-10th), 21 W (T-10th)
  • Eichel: 164 S (T-2nd), 25 EVA (T-5th), 34 A (T-7th), 36 EVP (T-8th)
  • Ristolainen: 125 hits (6th), 25:34 TOI/GP (6th)
  • Skinner: 3 OTG (T-1st), 26 G (T-2nd), 20 EVG (T-2nd), 6 GWG (T-2nd)

Former Sabres:

  • Panthers Head Coach Bob Boughner played for the Sabres for three seasons (1995-1998), recording 13 points (2+11) in 177 games played.
  • Panthers D Mark Pysyk spent the first four years of his career (2012-2016) with the Sabres organization after being selected by Buffalo in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft. He recorded 26 points (5+21) in 125 games played with the team.

Nathan Beaulieu:

  • Won a bronze medal with Panthers F Jonathan Huberdeau and D Mark Pysyk while representing Canada at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Zach Bogosian:

  • Played with Panthers G Michael Hutchinson in Winnipeg.

Jack Eichel:

  • Played for Team North America with Panthers D Aaron Ekblad and F Vincent Trocheck at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Phil Housley:

  • Coached Panthers F Vincent Trocheck at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. The duo won a gold medal together for the United States.

Matt Hunwick:

  • Played for the Rangers with Panthers D Keith Yandle.
  • Played with Panthers G James Reimer in Toronto.
  • Won a bronze medal for Team USA with Panthers F Nick Bjugstad at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.

Jake McCabe:

  • Won a gold medal for Team USA with Panthers F Vincent Trocheck at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Represented the United States with Panthers F Frank Vatrano at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Played for the Islanders with Panthers F Michael Haley.
  • Played with Panthers D Keith Yandle for Team USA at the 2010 IIHF World Championship.

Sam Reinhart:

  • Played for Team Canada with Panthers D Aaron Ekblad at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Won a gold medal with Panthers D Mike Matheson while representing Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.

Rasmus Ristolainen:

  • Has represented Finland in international play with Panthers F Aleksander Barkov on three separate occasions: at the 2012 and 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships and at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Jeff Skinner:

  • Played for Team Canada with Panthers G James Reimer at the 2011 IIHF World Championship.
  • Won a silver medal with Panthers D Mike Matheson while representing Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.

Steve Smith:

  • Was a scout for the Blackhawks when Panthers F Troy Brouwer was playing in Chicago.

Hits: Ristolainen (125), Girgensons (62), Okposo (50)
Blocked Shots: Bogosian (66), Ristolainen (66), McCabe (56)
Shots: Eichel (164), Skinner (122), Ristolainen (104)

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: 4-4-2 (10), 24/27, 7/31, 27/29

OVERTIME RESULTS (5-5; 118-126 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)
Dec. 29 vs. BOS: L, 3-2 (GWG-Kuraly, 3:44)

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
Johan Larsson … 8 games … 300 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)

Vladimir Sobotka … 500th NHL game … Dec. 31 vs. NYI


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