Game Preview: 2/15/19 vs. NY Rangers

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Tuesday, February 12
NY Islanders 1 at Buffalo 3
Goals: Skinner, Pominville, Larsson
Goalie: Ullmark (24 saves/25 shots)
PP: 0/1; PK: 0/0; Shots: NY Islanders 25 – Buffalo 22

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 186)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Casey Nelson (upper body, Dec. 8; injured reserve) – 26 games
Zach Bogosian (lower body, Feb. 10) – 2 games
Casey Mittelstadt (lower body, Feb. 12) – 1 game

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
N/A

UPCOMING GAMES
Sunday, Feb. 17: Buffalo at New Jersey, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 19: Buffalo at Florida, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 21: Buffalo at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 23: Washington at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 25: Buffalo at Toronto, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
RANGERS at SABRES

  • This is the third and final meeting between the Sabres and Rangers this season.
  • Last meeting: New York defeated Buffalo 3-1 in New York on Nov. 4, 2018
  • The Sabres are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Rangers; 3-5-2 at home.
  • This is the 183rd game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo has an 82-65-35 series record.
  • The Sabres are 49-28-15 at home against the Rangers all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 10-5-3 all-time on February 15.
  • February 15, 2011: Jhonas Enroth becomes the first goaltender in NHL history to earn his first three career wins via the shootout with a 3-2 shootout win at Montreal.
  • February 15, 2015: Zach Bogosian makes his Sabres debut against the Philadelphia Flyers.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Tonight’s matchup is the final game of a seven-game homestand that ties the stretch from Jan. 20 to Feb. 2, 1997 as the longest in franchise history.
  • With at least a point in each of the six games during the homestand (2+6), Jack Eichel is looking to extend his point streak to seven games for the second time this season.
  • Eichel has recorded 11 points (4+7) in 11 career games against the New York, making the Rangers one of 15 NHL teams he has tallied at least a point per game against.
  • Sam Reinhart has recorded eight points (2+6) in eight games against New York dating back to the beginning of the 2016-17 season.
  • Kyle Okposo has totaled 20 points (5+15) in 20 games against the Rangers since the beginning of the 2013-14 season.
  • Conor Sheary has recorded five points (4+1) in his last five games against the Rangers, including goals in both of the previous meetings this season (3+0).
  • Carter Hutton is 4-1-0 in his career against New York, boasting a .953 save percentage and a 1.48 goals-against average in those games.

HOME COOKING

  • Buffalo enters tonight’s game with a 17-8-4 (.655) record at home. The team’s .655 points percentage at home ranked eighth in the NHL before Thursday’s games.
  • Carter Hutton is 10-6-2 at home this season with a .922 save percentage and a 2.48 goals-against average.
  • Jeff Skinner leads all Sabres with 30 points (18+12) in 29 home games this season.
  • With 29 points (11+18) in 27 home games, Jack Eichel is also playing above a point-per-game pace at KeyBank Center this season.
  • Sam Reinhart has totaled 25 points (6+19) in 23 home games since the beginning of November, posting nine multi-point home games during that stretch.

DYNAMIC DUO

  • Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner have both recorded a point on the same goal 27 times this season, making them the most productive Sabres duo since Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek combined on 39 goals in the 2011-12 season.
  • At least one of the two has recorded a point on 85 of the team’s 161 goals this season (52.8%).

JACK ATTACK

  • Jack Eichel recorded his 42nd and 43rd assists of the season on Tuesday vs. NY Islanders. He is the first Sabres player to record at least 40 assists in a season since Jason Pominville (43) in the 2011-12 season.
  • Entering play Thursday, Eichel’s 43 assists tied for 12th-most in the league and his 31 even-strength assists ranked 10th.
  • Eichel is currently on pace for 46 even-strength assists this season. Only five different players have recorded at least 45 even-strength assists since the 2005-06 season: Henrik Sedin (3x), Joe Thornton (3x), Connor McDavid (2x), Evgeni Malkin and Michael Nylander.

RISING IN THE RECORD BOOKS

  • With a goal on Feb. 7 vs. Carolina, Jason Pominville moved past Mike Foligno into eighth place in franchise history with his 512th points as a member of the Sabres. He currently trails Don Luce by 13 points for seventh-most.
  • Pominville is also just two goals from tying Luce for 10th-most goals in Sabres history, 11 assists behind Luce for seventh-most in franchise history and three games played from tying Alexei Zhitnik for eighth-most regular-season games played by a Sabre.

DAH-LEAN ON ME

  • Entering play Thursday, Rasmus Dahlin led rookie defensemen and ranked second among all NHL rookies with 31 points this season. His 25 assists ranked second among all NHL rookies.
  • With 31 points (6+25) through 56 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 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 (36) and multi-point games (15) this season. His 49 points leave him just one shy of his career high 50 from the 2017-18 season.
  • The Sabres are 20-8-5 this season when Reinhart records at least one point and 29-4-7 (.813) 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 previous 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 53 18 43 61 14 31 45
Eichel 2018-19 (Pace) 79 27 64 91 21 46 67
               
Skinner Career High (2016-17) 79 37 26 63 30 18 48
Skinner 2018-19 56 34 17 51 27 13 40
Skinner 2018-19 (Pace) 82 50 25 75 40 19 59
               
Reinhart Career High (2017-18) 82 25 25 50 13 16 29
Reinhart 2018-19 56 13 36 49 12 26 38
Reinhart 2018-19 (Pace) 82 19 53 72 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 is on pace to become the first Sabres player to record at least 90 points since Daniel Briere (95) in 2006-07 and would also trail only LaFontaine’s franchise-record 52 even-strength assists in 1992-93.
  • Jeff Skinner is on pace to have the seventh 50-goal season in Sabres history and the first since 1992-93 (Mogilny and LaFontaine). His 40 even-strength goals would be the fourth-most in team history 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.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 2/14 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 82.1% PK% (9th)
  • Eichel: 2 OTG (T-7th), 208 S (10th), 31 EVA (10th)
  • Ristolainen: 25:09 TOI/GP (7th)
  • Skinner: 27 EVG (T-1st), 34 G (2nd), 7 GWG (T-2nd), 3 OTG (T-3rd)

BUF-NYR CONNECTIONS
Former Rangers:

  • Sabres D Matt Hunwick spent the 2014-15 season with the Rangers. He recorded 11 points (2+9) in 55 regular-season games with the club, in addition to skating in six playoff games.

Former Sabres:

  • Rangers assistant coach Lindy Ruff is a former player and head coach for the Sabres. He spent 10 seasons (1979-89) in a Sabres sweater and was the team’s head coach from 1997 to 2013, earning two Jack Adams Award nominations (2006, 2007) and winning once (2006).
  • Rangers assistant general manager Jim Schoenfeld was drafted in the first round (5th overall) by the Sabres in the 1972 NHL Draft and spent 11 seasons (1972-1982, 1984-1985) with the club. Schoenfeld, a former captain and a two-time NHL All Star, was inducted into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame in 1996.
  • Rangers assistant coach Greg Brown was selected by the Sabres in the second round (26th overall) of the 1986 NHL Draft and played parts of two seasons (1990-91, 1992-93) with the club.

Jason Botterill:

  • Played in Buffalo when Rangers assistant coach Lindy Ruff was the head coach of the Sabres.
  • Was a scout for the Stars when Rangers assistant coach David Oliver was playing in Dallas.

Jack Eichel:

  • Played for Boston University when Rangers Head Coach David Quinn was the head coach of the Terriers, a team that won the 2015 Beanpot and played in the National Championship game.
  • Played for Team USA with Rangers D Brady Skjei at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Won a bronze medal for the United States with Rangers D Tony DeAngelo at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Phil Housley:

  • Played with Rangers General Manager Jim Schoenfeld and assistant coach Lindy Ruff in Buffalo.
  • Played for the Sabres when Rangers General Manager Jim Schoenfeld was the head coach in Buffalo and again when he was the head coach in Washington.
  • Coached Rangers F Jimmy Vesey at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, where the United States won a gold medal.

Matt Hunwick:

  • Played with Rangers D Adam McQuaid in Boston.
  • Played with Rangers D Kevin Shattenkirk in Colorado.

Carter Hutton:

  • Played with Rangers D Kevin Shattenkirk in St. Louis.

Johan Larsson:

  • Played for Team Sweden with Rangers F Jesper Fast at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Won a gold medal with Rangers F Mike Zibanejad at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship. The duo won a second gold medal together at the 2018 IIHF World Championship.

Jake McCabe:

  • Won a gold medal for the United States with Rangers F Jimmy Vesey at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Played for Team USA with Rangers F Kevin Hayes at the 2014 IIHF World Championship and with D Brady Skjei at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.

Davis Payne:

  • Was the head coach of the Blues when Rangers D Kevin Shattenkirk was playing in St. Louis.
  • Played for the Bruins when Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton was the director of scouting in Boston.

Evan Rodrigues:

  • Played for Boston University when Rangers Head Coach David Quinn was the head coach of the Terriers, a team that won the 2015 Beanpot and played in the National Championship game.

Jeff Skinner:

  • Played for Team Canada at the 2013 IIHF World Championship when Rangers assistant coach Lindy Ruff was the head coach of the team.

Vladimir Sobotka:

  • Played with Rangers D Adam McQuaid in Boston.
  • Played with Rangers D Kevin Shattenkirk in St. Louis.

Tage Thompson:

  • Won a bronze medal with Rangers D Neal Pionk while representing the United States at the 2018 IIHF World Championship.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (162), Girgensons (91), McCabe (76)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (89), Bogosian (85), McCabe (77)
Shots: Eichel (208), Skinner (184), Ristolainen (137)

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: 3-2-1 (7), 20/22, 5/16, 11/13

OVERTIME RESULTS (6-6; 119-127 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)
Feb. 8 vs. CAR: L, 6-5 (GWG-Teravainen, 3:25)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (4-1; 74-67 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)
Feb. 5 vs. MIN: W, 5-4 (GDG-Reinhart)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Jason Pominville … 2 games … 712 games with Sabres (T-8th in franchise history)
Zemgus Girgensons … 3 games … 400 career games played
Goals
Jason Pominville … 2 goals … 213 goals with Sabres (T-10th in franchise history)
Jack Eichel … 9 goals … 100 career goals
Assists
Kyle Okposo … 3 assists … 300 career assists
Matt Hunwick … 8 assists … 100 career assists
Jeff Skinner … 8 assists … 200 career assists 

RECENT MILESTONES
Rasmus Ristolainen … 400th NHL game … Feb. 9 vs. DET
Marco Scandella … 500th NHL game … Feb. 9 vs. DET

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