Game Preview: 2/1/19 vs. Chicago

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Wednesday, January 31
Buffalo 0 at Dallas 1
Goals: N/A
Goalie: Ullmark (26 saves/27 shots)
PP: 0/1; PK: 1/1; Shots: Buffalo 30 – Dallas 27

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 175)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Casey Nelson (upper body, Dec. 8; injured reserve) – 21 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
N/A

UPCOMING GAMES
Tuesday, Feb. 5: Minnesota at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 7: Carolina at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 9: Detroit at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 10: Winnipeg at Buffalo, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 12: NY Islanders at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
BLACKHAWKS at SABRES

  • This is the first of two meetings between the Sabres and Blackhawks this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Chicago 5-3 in Buffalo on March 17, 2018
  • Next meeting: Thursday, March 7 in Chicago
  • The Sabres are 1-6-3 in their last 10 games vs. the Blackhawks; 2-6-2 at home.
  • This is the 122nd game all-time between Buffalo and Chicago; Buffalo has a 54-51-16 series record.
  • The Sabres are 35-18-8 at home against the Blackhawks all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 6-6-5 all-time on February 1.
  • February 1, 1976: Gilbert Perreault records two goals and five assists as the Sabres pick up a 9-5 road win against the California Seals. Danny Gare and the Seals’ Jim Moxey and Wayne Merrick all score goals within 18 seconds of each other in the third period.
  • February 1, 1981: Ric Seiling scores the 3,000th goal in franchise history and Don Edwards records his 13th shutout as a member of the Sabres, as Buffalo defeats Winnipeg 4-0 at home.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres are back in Buffalo for their first game at KeyBank Center since Jan. 12. Tonight’s matchup kicks off a seven-game homestand that ties the stretch from Jan. 20 to Feb. 2, 1997 as the longest in franchise history.
  • After picking up a 5-3 win when these teams last met on March 17, 2018, the Sabres are seeking wins in consecutive meetings with the Blackhawks for the first time since they won three in a row from Dec. 3, 2003 to Dec. 15, 2007.
  • Jason Pominville has totaled nine points (4+5) in his last nine games against Chicago.
  • Jeff Skinner has totaled six points (2+4) in his last six meetings with the Blackhawks.
  • Jack Eichel has recorded a point in five of six career matchups with the Blackhawks, including each of the last four (1+3).
  • Remi Elie recorded a point in each of his four games against Chicago (1+3) in 2017-18.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has recorded six assists in his last seven games against the Blackhawks.
  • Sam Reinhart is expected to appear in his 300th NHL game tonight.

HOME COOKING
Buffalo enters tonight’s game with a 14-6-3 (.674) record at home. The team’s .647 points percentage at home ranked seventh in the NHL entering play Thursday. It would rank as the Sabres’ 15th-best home record ever and would be their best since the 2009-10 season (25-10-5, .683)

HOT AT HOME

  • Carter Hutton is 10-4-2 at home this season with a .926 save percentage and a 2.36 goals-against average. He has allowed more than two goals just once in his last nine home games, posting a .920 save percentage or better in each of the eight other home games during that stretch.
  • Jeff Skinner (15+9) and Sam Reinhart (6+18) each have 24 points in 23 home games this season. Reinhart has yet to play two consecutive home games without recording a point in 2018-19.
  • All five of Lawrence Pilut’s points this season (1+4) have come in his eight games at KeyBank Center.
  • Tage Thompson (2+1), Conor Sheary (0+3) and Vladimir Sobotka (0+3) have all recorded a point in each of Buffalo’s last three home games.
  • Rasmus Dahlin has points in each of his last two home games (0+2).

DAH-LEAN ON ME

  • Entering play Thursday, Rasmus Dahlin led rookie defensemen and ranked second among all NHL rookies with 28 points this season. His 23 assists led all NHL rookies in 2018-19.
  • With 28 points (5+23) through 50 games, Dahlin is scoring at a higher rate than he did in the Swedish Hockey League last season, when he totaled 20 points (7+13) in 41 games for Frölunda.
  • Dahlin’s current point total puts him on pace for 46 points this season. It would trail only Phil Housley (57 points in 1982-83) for the most ever recorded by a defenseman before his 19th birthday.
  • With six multi-point games so far this season, Dahlin has recorded more multi-point games as an 18-year-old than all but two defensemen in NHL history: Phil Housley (13) and Bobby Orr (8).

SCORING WHEN IT COUNTS

  • Jeff Skinner’s seven game-winning goals tied for second-most in the NHL this season entering play Thursday. 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 was also tied for third 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.

SAM I AM

  • Sam Reinhart has already set career-high totals in assists (33) and multi-point games (13) this season. His 45 points leave him just five shy of his career high 50 from the 2017-18 season.
  • The Sabres are 19-8-4 this season when Reinhart records at least one point and 28-4-6 (.816) in his career when he records at least two.

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:
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 47 16 37 53 12 28 40
Eichel 2018-19 (Pace) 79 27 62 89 20 47 67
               
Skinner Career High (2016-17) 79 37 26 63 30 18 48
Skinner 2018-19 50 31 14 45 24 10 34
Skinner 2018-19 (Pace) 82 51 23 74 39 16 56
               
Reinhart Career High (2017-18) 82 25 25 50 13 16 29
Reinhart 2018-19 50 12 33 45 11 23 34
Reinhart 2018-19 (Pace) 82 20 54 74 18 38 56

MAKING HISTORY

  • At his current pace, Jack Eichel would finish the season with the fifth-most even-strength points ever recorded by a Sabre, trailing only Pat LaFontaine (83) and Alexander Mogilny (78) in 1992-93, and Gilbert Perreault in 1975-76 (70) and 1979-80 (68).
  • Eichel would also trail only LaFontaine’s franchise-record 52 even-strength assists in 1992-93.
  • Jeff Skinner is currently on pace to become the seventh 50-goal scorer in Sabres history and the first since 1992-93 (Mogilny and LaFontaine). His 38 even-strength goals would finish behind only Mogilny’s even-strength total from 1992-93 (49), Rick Martin’s 44 in 1973-74, and Danny Gare’s 41 in 1975-76 and 39 in 1979-80 for fifth-most in team history.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 1/31 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 81.9% PK% (9th)
  • Eichel: 2 OTG (T-6th), 28 EVA (T-8th), 189 S (T-10th)
  • Ristolainen: 25:14 TOI/GP (7th)
  • Skinner: 31 G (2nd), 24 EVG (T-2nd), 7 GWG (T-2nd), 3 OTG (T-3rd)

BUF-CHI CONNECTIONS
Former Blackhawks:

  • Sabres Head Coach Phil Housley played for the Blackhawks for two seasons (2001-2003), recording 68 points (21+47) in 137 games played.
  • Sabres assistant coach Steve Smith played for the Blackhawks for six seasons (1991-1997), scoring 136 points (25+11) in 317 games. He was a teammate of current Blackhawks goaltending coach Jimmy Waite while playing in Chicago.

Blackhawks with Western New York Connections:

  • Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman attended Canisius High School and is the son of former Sabres Head Coach and General Manager Scotty Bowman.
  • Blackhawks F Patrick Kane was born in Buffalo.
  • Blackhawks assistant coach Barry Smith held the same role for the Sabres from 1985 to 1989. He was on the team’s coaching staff when Sabres Head Coach Phil Housley was playing in Buffalo.

Jason Botterill:

  • Was the assistant general manager for the Penguins when Blackhawks F Chris Kunitz was playing in Pittsburgh.

Jack Eichel:

  • Was coached by Blackhawks assistant coach Don Granato when he played for the United States National Development Program.

Kyle Okposo:

  • Played for the Islanders with Blackhawks Head Coach Jeremy Colliton.

Conor Sheary:

  • Played with Blackhawks F Chris Kunitz in Pittsburgh.

Jeff Skinner:

  • Played with Blackhawks F Marcus Kruger and G Cam Ward in Carolina.

Steve Smith:

  • Was an assistant coach for the Hurricanes with Blackhawks F Marcus Kruger and G Cam Ward were playing in Carolina.
  • Played with Blackhawks assistant general manager Norm Maciver in Edmonton.

Tage Thompson:

  • Was coached by Blackhawks assistant coach Don Granato when he played for the United States National Development Program.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (151), Girgensons (82) McCabe (67)
Blocked Shots: Bogosian (79), Ristolainen (77), McCabe (74)
Shots: Eichel (189), Skinner (157), Ristolainen (123)

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: 4-6-0 (8), 30/34, 1/25, 14/20

OVERTIME RESULTS (6-5; 119-126 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)
Jan. 16 at CGY: W, 4-3 (GWG-Eichel, 1:10)

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
Sam Reinhart … 1 game … 300 career games played
Zach Bogosian … 3 games … 600 career games played
Rasmus Ristolainen … 4 games … 400 career games played
Marco Scandella … 4 games … 500 career games played
Goals
Jason Pominville … 1 goal … 212 goals with Sabres (sole possession, 11th in franchise history)
Assists
Kyle Okposo … 4 assists … 300 career assists
Matt Hunwick … 8 assists … 100 career assists
Points
Jason Pominville … 1 point … 511 points with Sabres (T-8th in franchise history)

RECENT MILESTONES
N/A

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