Game Preview: 2/5/19 vs. Minnesota

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Friday, February 1
Chicago 7 at Buffalo 3
Goals: Eichel, Pominville, Okposo
Goalie: Hutton (18 saves/22 shots) / Ullmark (5 saves/7 shots); 1 ENG
PP: 1/3; PK: 2/2; Shots: Buffalo 43 – Chicago 30

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 177)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Casey Nelson (upper body, Dec. 8; injured reserve) – 22 games
Johan Larsson (upper body, Feb. 1) – 1 game

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
2/2: Placed F Remi Elie on waivers
2/3: Assigned F Remi Elie to Rochester (AHL)
2/4: Recalled F C.J. Smith from Rochester (AHL)

UPCOMING GAMES
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.
Friday, Feb. 15: NY Rangers at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
WILD at SABRES

  • This is the second of two meetings between the Sabres and Wild this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Minnesota 3-2 in Minnesota on Nov. 17, 2018
  • The Sabres are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Wild; 1-8-1 at home.
  • This is the 24th game all-time between Buffalo and Minnesota; Buffalo has a 10-12-1 series record.
  • The Sabres are 2-8-1 at home against the Wild all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 6-7-3 all-time on February 5.
  • February 5, 1981: Don Edwards makes 31 saves in his 14th and final shutout as a member of the Sabres as Buffalo defeats Philadelphia 4-0.
  • February 5, 1983: Bob Sauve and Dan Bouchard make 22 saves each as the Sabres and Nordiques battle to the third of 11 scoreless ties in franchise history.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Tonight’s matchup is the second game of a seven-game homestand that ties the stretch from Jan. 20 to Feb. 2, 1997 as the longest in franchise history.
  • With a win tonight, the Sabres will have swept a multi-game season series against the Wild for the first time in the history of the matchup.
  • Jason Pominville has recorded seven points (2+5) in his last six games against the Wild, including four points (1+3) in three matchups since he re-joined the Sabres last season.
  • Jeff Skinner has totaled five points (2+3) in five games against Minnesota since the beginning of the 2016-17 season.
  • Jack Eichel has five points (2+3) in five career games against the Wild.
  • Jake McCabe enters tonight’s game with points in three straight games against Minnesota (1+3).
  • Linus Ullmark has stopped 65 of 69 shots (.942) to earn a 2-0-0 record in two career games against the Wild.

HOME COOKING

  • Buffalo enters tonight’s game with a 14-7-3 (.646) record at home. The team’s .646 points percentage at home ranked ninth in the NHL entering play Monday.
  • Carter Hutton is 10-5-2 at home this season with a .922 save percentage and a 2.50 goals-against average.
  • Jeff Skinner leads all Sabres with 26 points (15+11) in 24 home games this season
  • Sam Reinhart has 24 points (6+18) in 24 home games this season and has yet to play two consecutive home games without recording a point in 2018-19.
  • Jack Eichel is also playing at a point-per-game pace at KeyBank Center this season, totaling 22 points (10+12) in 22 home games.
  • Conor Sheary has recorded a point in each of Buffalo’s last four home games (0+4).
  • All five of Lawrence Pilut’s points this season (1+4) have come in his nine games at KeyBank Center.

DAH-LEAN ON ME

  • Entering play Monday, Rasmus Dahlin led rookie defensemen and ranked second among all NHL rookies with 28 points this season. His 23 assists tied for the rookie lead.
  • With 28 points (5+23) through 51 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 45 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 Monday. 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 48 17 37 54 13 28 41
Eichel 2018-19 (Pace) 79 28 61 89 21 46 67
               
Skinner Career High (2016-17) 79 37 26 63 30 18 48
Skinner 2018-19 51 31 16 47 24 12 36
Skinner 2018-19 (Pace) 82 50 26 76 39 19 58
               
Reinhart Career High (2017-18) 82 25 25 50 13 16 29
Reinhart 2018-19 51 12 33 45 11 23 34
Reinhart 2018-19 (Pace) 82 19 53 72 18 37 55

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 39 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 for fourth-most in team history.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 2/4 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 82.1% PK% (8th)
  • Eichel: 2 OTG (T-6th)
  • Ristolainen: 25:14 TOI/GP (7th)
  • Skinner: 31 G (T-2nd), 24 EVG (T-2nd), 7 GWG (T-2nd), 3 OTG (T-3rd)

BUF-MIN CONNECTIONS
Former Sabres:

  • Wild F Marcus Foligno is a native of Buffalo and spent six years (2011-2017) with the Sabres organization, recording 116 points (49+67) in 347 games played with the club. He is the son of former Sabre Mike Foligno.
  • Wild assistant general manager Tom Kurvers (1986-87) spent one season playing for the Sabres, scoring 23 points (6+17) in 55 games. Sabres Head Coach Phil Housley was a teammate of his in Buffalo.
  • Wild assistant coach Bob Woods spent one season (2016-17) as an assistant coach for the Sabres.

Former Wild:

  • Sabres F Johan Larsson played one game with the Wild after being drafted by the club in the second round (56th overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft.
  • Sabres F Jason Pominville spent parts of five seasons (2012-2017) with the Wild in between his two tenures with the Sabres. He recorded 206 points (76+130) in 327 regular season games and added 23 points (9+14) in 36 playoff games.
  • Sabres D Marco Scandella spent parts of seven seasons (2010-2017) with the Wild organization after being drafted by the club in the second round (55th overall) of the 2008 NHL Draft. Scandella scored 89 points (27+62) in 373 regular-season games with the Wild and added nine points (6+3) in 39 playoff games.

Sabres with Minnesota connections:

  • Sabres Head Coach Phil Housley is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota. He played two seasons of high school hockey at South St. Paul High prior to turning pro.
  • Sabres F Casey Mittelstadt is a native of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and played high school hockey at Eden Prairie High. Before turning pro, Mittelstadt played one season of college hockey at the University of Minnesota. He put up 30 points (11+19) in 34 games and earned Big Ten All-Freshman honors.
  • Sabres F Kyle Okposo in a native of St. Paul, Minnesota. He played one year at Shattuck St. Mary’s before attending the University of Minnesota. In 58 games with the Gophers, Okposo recorded 51 points (26+25) and was named to the WCHA’s All-Rookie Team and earned Second All-Star Team honors.

Nathan Beaulieu:

  • Played with Wild D Greg Pateryn in Montreal.

Zach Bogosian:

  • Played with Wild F Eric Fehr in Winnipeg.
  • Played for Team USA with Wild D Ryan Suter at the 2009 IIHF World Championship.

Jason Botterill:

  • Played in Atlanta when Wild goaltending coach Bob Mason was a goaltending consultant for the Thrashers.
  • Was the assistant general manager of the Penguins when Wild F Eric Fehr was playing in Pittsburgh.

Phil Housley:

  • Played with Wild assistant coach Dean Evason in Calgary.
  • Played with Wild General Manager Paul Fenton in Winnipeg and again for Team USA at the 1989 IIHF World Championship. The duo later reunited in Nashville, where Fenton was the assistant general manager and Housley was on the Predators’ coaching staff.
  • Was an assistant coach in Nashville when Wild D Anthony Bitetto, G Devan Dubnyk, F Eric Fehr and D Brad Hunt were playing for the Predators.
  • Played for Team USA with Wild assistant general manager Tom Kurvers at the 1989 IIHF World Championship.
  • Represented the United States in international play with Wild assistant coach Darby Hendrickson at the 2000 and 2001 IIHF World Championships.

Matt Hunwick:

  • Played with Wild F Eric Fehr in Toronto.
  • Won a gold medal with Wild F Zach Parise and D Ryan Suter for Team USA at the 2004 World Junior Championship. Hunwick and Suter played together again at the same tournament the following year.

Carter Hutton:

  • Played with Wild D Anthony Bitetto, G Devan Dubnyk and F Matt Hendricks in Nashville. Wild General Manager Paul Fenton was the Predators’ assistant general manager during Hutton’s tenure with the team.
  • Played with Wild D Brad Hunt in St. Louis.

Johan Larsson:

  • Won a gold medal with Wild D Jonas Brodin while representing Sweden at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship. The duo reunited later that year while playing for Sweden at the 2012 IIHF World Championship.

Jake McCabe:

  • Represented the United States with Wild D Ryan Suter at the 2014 IIHF World Championship.
  • Played for Team USA with Wild F Matt Hendricks at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.

Kyle Okposo

  • Represented the United States with Wild F Zach Parise and D Ryan Suter at the 2010 IIHF World Championship. Okposo and Suter also played together at the 2009 tournament.
  • Played for Team USA with Wild F J.T. Brown at the 2012 IIHF World Championship.

Jason Pominville:

  • Represented the United States with Wild F Zach Parise at the 2008 IIHF World Championship.

Rasmus Ristolainen:

  • Represented Finland with Wild F Mikael Granlund at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Played with Wild F Mikko Koivu for Team Finland at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Conor Sheary:

  • Played with Wild F Eric Fehr in Pittsburgh.

Jeff Skinner:

  • Played with Wild G Devan Dubnyk for Team Canada at both the 2011, 2012 and 2013 IIHF World Championships.
  • Played with Wild F Victor Rask and F Eric Staal in Carolina. Skinner and Staal also played for Team Canada together at the 2013 IIHF World Championship.

Vladimir Sobotka:

  • Played with Wild D Brad Hunt in St. Louis.

Steve Smith:

  • Was an assistant coach in Carolina when Wild F Victor Rask and F Eric Staal played for the Hurricanes.
  • Was an assistant coach for the Oilers when Wild G Devan Dubnyk, F Eric Fehr, and D Brad Hunt were playing in Edmonton.

Tage Thompson:

  • Won a gold medal for Team USA with Wild F Jordan Greenway at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (154), Girgensons (82), McCabe (68)
Blocked Shots: Bogosian (79), Ristolainen (78), McCabe (76)
Shots: Eichel (191), Skinner (167), Ristolainen (126)

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
51-60: 0-1-0 (0), 3/7, 1/3, 2/2

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
Zach Bogosian … 2 games … 600 career games played
Rasmus Ristolainen … 3 games … 400 career games played
Marco Scandella … 3 games … 500 career games played
Jason Pominville … 7 games … 712 games with Sabres (T-8th in franchise history)
Zemgus Girgensons … 8 games … 400 career games played
Goals
Jack Eichel … 10 goals … 100 career goals
Assists
Kyle Okposo … 4 assists … 300 career assists
Matt Hunwick … 8 assists … 100 career assists
Jeff Skinner … 9 assists … 200 career assists
Points
Jason Pominville … 1 point … 512 points with Sabres (sole possession, 8th in franchise history)

RECENT MILESTONES
Sam Reinhart … 300th NHL game … Feb. 1 vs. CHI
Jason Pominville … 212th goal with Sabres (sole possession, 11th in franchise history) … Feb. 1 vs. CHI

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