Game Preview: 1/8/19 vs. New Jersey

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Saturday, January 5
Buffalo 1 at Boston 2
Goals: Ristolainen
Goalie: Ullmark (39 saves/41 shots)
PP: 0/1; PK: 2/2; Shots: Boston 41 – Buffalo 32

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 166)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Scott Wilson (ankle, Oct. 4; injured reserve) – 42 games
Casey Nelson (upper body, Dec. 8; injured reserve) – 13 games
Zemgus Girgensons (upper body, Dec. 29; injured reserve) – 4 games
Jack Eichel (upper body, Jan. 3) – 2 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
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UPCOMING GAMES
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.
Friday, Jan. 18: Buffalo at Vancouver, 10 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
DEVILS at SABRES

  • This is the first of three meetings between the Sabres and Devils this season.
  • Last meeting: New Jersey defeated Buffalo 3-1 in Buffalo on Jan. 30, 2018
  • Next meeting: Sunday, Feb. 17 in New Jersey
  • The Sabres are 2-7-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Devils; 4-5-1 at home.
  • This is the 155th game all-time between Buffalo and New Jersey; Buffalo has a 75-53-26 series record.
  • The Sabres are 40-27-11 at home against the Devils all-time.

THIS DAY IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 11-3-4 all-time on January 8.
  • January 8, 1988: Tom Barrasso stops 29 of 30 Hartford shots and Pierre Turgeon scores the game-winning goal as the Sabres top the Whalers 3-1 at the Aud.
  • January 8, 2000: Miroslav Satan scores on each of his three shots to earn his third hat trick as a member of the Sabres in a 7-4 win at Ottawa.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres are seeking their first win at home against the Devils since April 1, 2014. The Devils have won six straight road games against the Sabres after snapping a four-game losing streak in Buffalo.
  • Jeff Skinner has recorded five points (3+2) in his last five meetings with New Jersey.
  • Jake McCabe enters tonight’s game with a point in each of his last two games against the Devils (1+1).
  • Rasmus Ristolainen posted three points (1+2) in three games against New Jersey last season.
  • Conor Sheary has recorded a point in five of his last six games against the Devils (2+3).
  • 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.

HOME COOKING
Buffalo enters tonight’s game with a 13-5-3 (.690) record at home. The team’s .690 points percentage at home ranked seventh in the NHL before Friday’s games. It would rank as the Sabres’ 10th-best home record ever and would be their best since the 1989-90 season (27-11-2, .700).

COMEBACK KIDS

  • The Sabres are 6-11-2 this season when trailing after two periods. Their six wins when trailing after 40 minutes ties for second-most in the league before Monday’s games and their .316 win percentage in those games ranked 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.

NOT TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT

  • The Sabres are 12-4-6 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 .545 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).

SCORING WHEN IT COUNTS

  • Jeff Skinner scored his seventh game-winning goal of the season on Thursday vs. Florida. Entering play Monday, 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 (9) in 2008-09 and is four shy of matching the single-season franchise record of 11 shared by Danny Gare (1979-80) and Alexander Mogilny (1992-93).
  • Skinner also entered play Monday tied for second in the league 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 Monday, 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 39 points this season. It 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 42 28 13 41 22 9 31
Skinner 2018-19 (Pace) 82 55 25 80 43 18 61
               
Reinhart Career High (2017-18) 82 25 25 50 13 16 29
Reinhart 2018-19 42 9 32 40 8 22 30
Reinhart 2018-19 (Pace) 82 18 62 78 16 43 59

MAKING HISTORY

  • If the Sabres’ top scorers continue their current pace, the team would have three 75-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 score the third-most goals in Sabres history, trailing only Mogilny in 1992-93 (76) and Danny Gare in 1979-80 (56). His 43 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 third-most in team history.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 1/7 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 83.6% PK% (6th)
  • Eichel: 164 S (T-5th), 25 EVA (T-6th), 34 A (T-10th)
  • Ristolainen: 25:34 TOI/GP (5th), 127 hits (T-8th)
  • Skinner: 7 GWG (T-1st), 22 EVG (T-1st), 28 G (2nd), 3 OTG (T-2nd)

BUF-NJD CONNECTIONS
Former Sabres:

  • Devils assistant coach Mike Grier spent parts of four seasons (2003-04, 2005-06, 2009-2011) playing for the Sabres, skating in 241 regular-season games and recording 70 points (23+47).
  • Devils F Drew Stafford spent nine seasons (2006-2015) playing for the Sabres, recording 322 points (145+177) in 563 regular-season games.

Former Devils:

  • Sabres Head Coach Phil Housley spent part of one season (1995-96) playing for the Devils, skating in 22 games a scoring 16 points (1+15).

Devils with Buffalo Connections:

  • Devils F Miles Wood was born in Buffalo. He is the son of former Sabre Randy Wood.

Zach Bogosian:

  • Played for Team USA with Devils F Drew Stafford at the 2009 IIHF World Championship.

Jason Botterill:

  • Was the assistant general manager in Pittsburgh when Devils General Manager Ray Shero was the Penguins’ general manager.
  • Was the director of hockey operations for the Penguins when Devils assistant coach Alain Nasreddine was playing in Pittsburgh.

Jack Eichel:

  • Won a bronze medal with Devils D Will Butcher and F Miles Wood while playing for Team USA at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. Eichel and Butcher previously played together at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Chris Hajt:

  • Played with Devils assistant coach Mike Grier in Washington.

Matt Hunwick:

  • Played with Devils F Brian Boyle in Toronto.
  • Played for Team USA with Devils F Drew Stafford at both the 2004 and 2005 IIHF World Junior Championships, winning a gold medal in 2004. Devils G Cory Schneider was also on the 2005 American team with Hunwick and Stafford.

Jake McCabe:

  • Played for Team USA, which Devils Head Coach John Hynes coached, with Devils G Keith Kinkaid and F Miles Wood at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Played for the United States team that Devils Head Coach John Hynes coached at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Played for Team USA with Devils F Drew Stafford at the 2009 IIHF World Championship.
  • Played for Team USA with Devils D Andy Greene at the 2010 IIHF World Championship.
  • Played for Team USA with Devils F Kyle Palmieri at the 2012 IIHF World Championship.

Jason Pominville:

  • Played for Team USA with Devils F Drew Stafford at the 2008 IIHF World Championship.

Sam Reinhart:

  • Won a gold medal for Team Canada with Devils F Taylor Hall at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.

Rasmus Ristolainen:

  • Represented Finland with Devils D Andy Greene at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Marco Scandella:

  • Won a silver medal for Team Canada with Devils F Taylor Hall at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Conor Sheary:

  • Played with Devils D Ben Lovejoy in Pittsburgh.

Jeff Skinner:

  • Played for Team Canada with Devils F Travis Zajac at the 2011 IIHF World Championship.

Tage Thompson:

  • Won a gold medal for Team USA with Devils F Joey Anderson at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Won a bronze medal for Team USA with Devils D Will Butcher, G Keith Kinkaid and F Blake Coleman at the 2018 IIHF World Championship.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (127), Girgensons (62), McCabe/Okposo (53)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (70), Bogosian (70), McCabe (61)
Shots: Eichel (164), Skinner (132), Ristolainen (107)

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: 1-1-0 (2), 5/5, 0/4, 4/5

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 … 6 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
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