Game Preview: 1/5/19 at Boston

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Thursday, January 3
Florida 3 at Buffalo 4
Goals: Skinner (2), Thompson, Reinhart
Goalie: Ullmark (35 saves/38 shots)
PP: 0/3; PK: 2/3; Shots: Florida 38 – Buffalo 33

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 162)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Scott Wilson (ankle, Oct. 4; injured reserve) – 41 games
Casey Nelson (upper body, Dec. 8; injured reserve) – 12 games
Zemgus Girgensons (upper body, Dec. 29; injured reserve) – 3 games
Jack Eichel (upper body, Jan. 3) – 1 game

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
12/30: Assigned G Scott Wedgewood to Rochester (AHL)
12/31: Recalled F C.J. Smith from Rochester (AHL)

UPCOMING GAMES
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.
Wednesday, Jan. 16: Buffalo at Calgary, 9:30 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at BRUINS

  • This is the fourth and final meeting between the Sabres and Bruins this season.
  • Last meeting: Boston defeated Buffalo 3-2 (OT) in Buffalo on Dec. 29, 2018
  • The Sabres are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Bruins; 5-3-2 on the road.
  • This is the 293rd game all-time between Buffalo and Boston; Buffalo has a 125-122-45 series record.
  • The Sabres are 51-72-21 on the road against the Bruins all-time.

THIS DAY IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 8-6-3 all-time on January 5.
  • January 5, 1996: The Sabres retire Tim Horton’s No. 2 jersey before a 3-1 home win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres are 8-4-3 against the Atlantic Division this season.
  • The road team has won six of the seven games between these teams since the beginning of last season.
  • Sam Reinhart has posted seven assists in seven games against the Bruins since the beginning of last season
  • Linus Ullmark stopped 35 of 37 shots (.946) to post a win in his only previous meeting with Boston when these teams met on Dec. 16.
  • Sam Reinhart has already set career-high totals in assists (31) and multi-point games (13) this season. The Sabres are 17-5-4 this season when Reinhart records at least one point and 28-4-6 (.816) in his career when he records at least two.

HALFWAY MARK

  • Buffalo is 22-13-6 at the halfway point this season. It’s the first time the Sabres have been above a .500 points percentage after their 41st game since the 2009-10 season (26-11-4).
  • Buffalo’s 22 wins through 41 games tie as the team’s 10th-highest total through 41 in franchise history. Their 50 points rank 15th in team history at the 41-game mark.
  • The Sabres have improved in every major team category from this point last season, including record, goal differential, shot differential, power play and penalty kill.

COMEBACK KIDS

  • 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 before Friday’s games and their .333 win percentage in those games tied for third
  • 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.

NOT TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT

  • The Sabres are 12-3-6 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 .571 winning percentage in one-goal games would be the 11th-best mark in franchise history and would be the Sabres’ best record in one-goal games since 2006-07 (25-9-7, .610).

SCORING WHEN IT COUNTS

  • Jeff Skinner scored his seventh game-winning goal of the season on Thursday vs. Florida. Entering play Friday, his total tied for the most in the NHL this season. He is the first Sabres player with at least seven game-winners in a season since Derek Roy in 2008-09 and is four shy of matching the single-season franchise record shared by Danny Gare (1979-80) and Alexander Mogilny (1992-93).
  • Skinner also entered play Friday tied for the league lead with three overtime goals this season. Skinner’s total 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.

DAH-LEAN ON ME
Entering play Friday, 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 40 points this season. It would tie 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.

LEADING THE WAY

  • All three of the Sabres’ top three scorers 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) 80 30 68 98 22 50 72
               
Skinner Career High (2016-17) 79 37 26 63 30 18 48
Skinner 2018-19 41 28 13 41 22 9 31
Skinner 2018-19 (Pace) 82 56 26 82 44 18 62
               
Reinhart Career High (2017-18) 82 25 25 50 13 16 29
Reinhart 2018-19 41 9 32 40 8 22 30
Reinhart 2018-19 (Pace) 82 18 64 80 16 44 60

MAKING HISTORY

  • If the Sabres’ top scorers continue their current pace, the team would have three 80-point players for the first time since 1992-93 (Pat LaFontaine, Alexander Mogilny, Dale Hawerchuk).
  • 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. He and Sam Reinhart 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 Danny Gare (1979-80) for the second-most goals in Sabres history, trailing only Mogilny in 1992-93 (76). His 44 even-strength goals would finish behind only Mogilny’s even-strength total from 1992-93 (49), tying Rick Martin’s 44 in 1973-74 for second-most in team history.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 1/4 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 83.3% PK% (7th), 50 PTS (8th), 22 W (T-10th)
  • Eichel: 164 S (3rd), 25 EVA (T-5th), 34 A (T-10th)
  • Ristolainen: 25:38 TOI/GP (5th), 126 hits (8th)
  • Skinner: 3 OTG (T-1st), 7 GWG (T-1st), 20 EVG (T-1st), 28 G (2nd)

BUF-BOS CONNECTIONS
Former Bruins:

  • Sabres D Matt Hunwick was selected by Boston in the seventh round (224th overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft. In four seasons with the Bruins (2007-2011), Hunwick skated in 164 games and recorded 56 points (13+43).
  • Sabres assistant coach Davis Payne spent parts of two seasons (1995-1997) playing for the Bruins. He skated in 22 games and notched one assist.
  • Sabres F Vladimir Sobotka was selected by Boston in the fourth round (106th overall) of the 2005 NHL Draft. He spent three seasons (2007-2010) with the club, appearing in 134 games and recording 22 points (6+16).

Former Sabres:

  • Bruins goaltending coach Bob Essensa spent the 2001-02 season with the Sabres. In nine games, he had an .850 save percentage and a 2.91 goals-against average.
  • Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco held the same position for the Sabres during the 2013-14 season.
  • Jaroslav Halak was a member of the Sabres for six days during the 2013-14 season. He was acquired from the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 28 before being dealt to the Washington Capitals on March 5 and did not appear in a game during his brief stint in Buffalo.

Sabres with Massachusetts Connections:

  • Sabres F Jack Eichel is a native of North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and played college hockey at Boston University. In one year with the Terriers (2014-15), Eichel led all NCAA Division I skaters with 71 points (26+45) in 40 games and became the second freshman ever to win the Hobey Baker Award.
  • Sabres G Carter Hutton played four seasons (2006-2010) of college hockey at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Hutton finished his collegiate career as the school’s all-time leader in goals-against average (2.33), save percentage (.913) and shutouts (10). He earned a spot on the 2010 Hockey East Second All-Star Team and was named the team’s most valuable player.
  • Sabres F Evan Rodrigues played collegiate hockey at Boston University, posting 121 points (42+79) in 146 games with the Terriers. In 2015 he ranked second in the nation in assists (40) and points (61) and was named to the Hockey East Second All-Star Team.
  • Sabres F Conor Sheary hails from Winchester, Massachusetts. He played college hockey at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (2010-2014) and captained the team his senior year. He finished his collegiate career ranked seventh in UMass-Amherst history is assists (66), seventh in points (104) and 15th in goals (38).

Zach Bogosian:

  • Played for Team USA with Bruins F David Backes at the 2009 IIHF World Championship.

Jason Botterill:

  • Played with Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco in Atlanta.

Jack Eichel:

  • Played for Team USA with Bruins D Matt Grzelcyk at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Won a bronze medal for Team USA with Bruins D Brandon Carlo at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Chris Hajt:

  • Played in Washington when Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco was the head coach of the Capitals.

Phil Housley:

  • Played with Bruins assistant coaches Kevin Dean and Jay Pandolfo in New Jersey.
  • Played with Bruins goaltending coach Bob Essensa in Winnipeg.

Matt Hunwick:

  • Played in Colorado when Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco was the head coach of the Avalanche.

Carter Hutton:

  • Played with Bruins F Joakim Nordstrom in Chicago.

Johan Larsson:

  • Won a gold medal for Team Sweden with Bruins F Joakim Nordstrom at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Played for the Islanders with Bruins G Jaroslav Halak and assistant coach Jay Pandolfo.
  • Played for Team USA with Bruins F David Backes at the 2009 IIHF World Championship.

Davis Payne:

  • Played in Boston with Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney.
  • Was the head coach of the St. Louis Blues when Bruins F David Backes and G Jaroslav Halak were playing for the team.

Jason Pominville:

  • Played for Team USA with Bruins F David Backes at the 2008 IIHF World Championship.

Sam Reinhart:

  • Won a gold medal for Team Canada with Bruins F Brad Marchand at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.

Rasmus Ristolainen:

  • Played for Team Finland with Bruins G Tuukka Rask at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Jeff Skinner:

  • Played with Bruins F Joakim Nordstrom in Carolina.

Steve Smith:

  • Was an assistant coach in Carolina when Bruins F Joakim Nordstrom was playing for the Hurricanes.

Vladimir Sobotka:

  • Played with Bruins F David Backes and G Jaroslav Halak in St. Louis.
  • Represented the Czech Republic with Bruins F David Krejci at the 2006 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Played for the Czech Republic National Team with Bruins F David Pastrnak at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey and again at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (126), Girgensons (62), McCabe (52)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (69), Bogosian (67), McCabe (59)
Shots: Eichel (164), Skinner (126), Ristolainen (105)

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
41-50: 1-0-0 (2), 4/3, 0/3, 2/3

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 … 7 games … 300 career games played
Goals
Jason Pominville … 1 goal … 211 goals with Sabres (T-11th in franchise history)
Assists
Kyle Okposo … 5 assists … 300 career assists
Matt Hunwick … 8 assists … 100 career assists
Points
Jason Pominville … 3 points … 511 points with Sabres (T-8th in franchise history) 

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

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