Game Preview: 3/30/19 at NY Islanders

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Thursday, March 28
Detroit 5 at Buffalo 4 (OT)
Goals: Okposo, Scandella, Mittelstadt, Eichel
Goalie: Ullmark (29 saves/34 shots)
PP: 1/3; PK: 2/3; Shots: Buffalo 39 – Detroit 34

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 228)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Jake McCabe (upper body, March 4) – 12 games
Matt Hunwick (upper body, March 23) – 4 games
Zach Bogosian (lower body, March 25) – 3 games
Rasmus Ristolainen (illness, March 26) – 2 games
Evan Rodrigues (upper body, March 28) – 1 game

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
3/24: Recalled D Lawrence Pilut from Rochester (AHL)
3/26: Signed D Casey Fitzgerald to a two-year, entry-level contract with an AAV of $925,000; Recalled D William Borgen from Rochester (AHL)
3/27: Recalled F Victor Olofsson from Rochester (AHL)
3/28: Recalled D Matt Tennyson from Rochester (AHL); Assigned F Tage Thompson to Rochester (AHL)

REMAINING GAMES
Sunday, March 31: Columbus at Buffalo, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, April 2: Nashville at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Thursday, April 4: Ottawa at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 6: Buffalo at Detroit, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at ISLANDERS

  • This is the third and final meeting between the Sabres and Islanders this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated New York 3-1 in Buffalo on Feb. 12
  • The Sabres are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Islanders; 5-4-1 on the road.
  • This is the 171st game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo has an 82-64-24 series record.
  • The Sabres are 36-36-12 on the road against the Islanders all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 9-11-5 all-time on March 30.
  • March 30, 2007: Chris Drury records three points (2+1), including his career-best 37th goal of the season, as the Sabres top the New York Islanders 6-4 in Buffalo.
  • March 30, 2011: Jhonas Enroth makes 23 saves to record his first career shutout in a 1-0 victory over the New York Rangers at home.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • With a win tonight, the Sabres will have won the season series against the Islanders for the first time since the 2015-16 season (2-1-0).
  • Kyle Okposo has tallied a point in each of his last four games against his former club (2+2).
  • Jack Eichel has totaled seven points (2+5) in his five meetings with the Islanders since the beginning of last season, including three points (1+2) in two games in New York.
  • Casey Mittelstadt recorded an assist in his only previous matchup with the Islanders.
  • Linus Ullmark is 3-1-0 in four career games against the Islanders with a .938 save percentage and a 1.75 goals-against average.
  • Buffalo’s penalty kill is 10-for-11 (90.9 percent) in the team’s last six games against the Islanders.

BACK-TO-BACK
Tonight’s game opens Buffalo’s final of 16 sets of back-to-back games this season, which continues tomorrow night vs. Columbus. The Sabres are 7-7-1 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 6-7-2 in the second game so far this season. Buffalo’s point breakdown in their previous back-to-back sets is: four points (3), three points (1), two points (6), one point (2) and zero points (3).

A FRESH START

  • Through his first 15 games with the Sabres, Brandon Montour has recorded eight points (2+6), tying Jack Eichel (6+2) for most points during that stretch. Six of his eight points as a Sabre (2+4) have come at even strength.
  • According to NaturalStatTrick.com, Montour’s CF%, FF% and SCF% during 5-on-5 play through 15 games with the Sabres top his full-season rates in each of those categories from both of his first two NHL seasons, as well as his rates through 62 games with Anaheim this season.
  • In these 15 games, Montour has also seen a drastic uptick in scoring rates in goals (.44), assists (.65) and points (1.09) per 60 minutes played at 5-on-5 compared to his rates from the last two seasons.

DAH-LEAN ON ME

  • Entering play Friday, Rasmus Dahlin led rookie defensemen and ranked third among all NHL rookies in points (41). His 33 assists ranked second among all rookies.
  • With 41 points (8+33) through 77 games, Dahlin is already guaranteed to finish the season with more points per game than he had in the Swedish Hockey League last season, when he totaled 20 points (7+13) in 41 games for Frölunda.
  • With his assist on March 20 vs. Toronto, Dahlin passed Bobby Orr (38 points in 1966-67) for the second-most points ever recorded by an NHL defenseman before his 19th birthday, trailing only Phil Housley (57 points in 1982-83).
  • With seven 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: Housley (13) and Orr (8).
  • Dahlin’s three game-winning goals this season are the most ever recorded by a Sabres rookie defenseman. His total also ties for ninth-most by any Sabres rookie and eighth-most in a season by any defenseman in franchise history.

JACK ATTACK

  • Jack Eichel has set new career-high marks in goals (27), assists (49) and points (76) this season. He is the first Sabres player to record at least 75 points in a season since Derek Roy (81) and Jason Pominville (80) both did so in 2007-08.
  • Eichel is the first Sabres player to record at least 45 assists in a season since Tim Connolly recorded 48 in 2009-10. The last Sabre to record at least 50 assists was Pominville (53) in 2007-08.
  • He has also joined Rick Martin and Thomas Vanek as the third player in franchise history to record at least 20 goals in each of his first four NHL seasons.

SKINNER, SKINNER, CHICKEN DINNER

  • Jeff Skinner has scored 37 goals this season, becoming the fifth player ever to score at least 35 in his first season with the Sabres and tying his previous single-season high set in 2016-17.
  • With his next goal, he will tie Gilbert Perreault (1970-71) and Ray Sheppard (1987-88) for third-most ever scored by a first-year Sabre.
  • Skinner’s 29 even-strength goals are already the most ever recorded by player in his first year with the Sabres, breaking a record previously held by Danny Gare (26) since 1974-75.
  • Skinner has a chance to become the first Sabres player to score at least 40 goals since Thomas Vanek (40) in 2008-09. He would become just the 11th different player in Sabres history to score at least 40 in a season.

LEADING THE WAY
Each of the Sabres’ top three scorers is currently on pace to top his previous personal best in points 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 72 27 49 76 19 34 53
Eichel 2018-19 (Pace) 77 29 52 81 20 36 57
               
Reinhart Career High (2017-18) 82 25 25 50 13 16 29
Reinhart 2018-19 77 20 42 62 18 30 48
Reinhart 2018-19 (Pace) 82 21 45 66 19 32 51
               
Skinner Career High (2016-17) 79 37 26 63 30 18 48
Skinner 2018-19 77 37 23 60 29 15 44
Skinner 2018-19 (Pace) 82 39 24 64 31 16 47

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 3/29 games)

  • Eichel: 284 S (7th)
  • Ristolainen: 24:42 TOI/GP (9th)
  • Skinner: 3 OTG (T-3rd), 29 EVG (T-6th), 7 GWG (T-7th)

BUF-NYI CONNECTIONS
Former Sabres:

  • Islanders director of goaltending Mitch Korn served as the Sabres goaltending coach for eight seasons (1990 to 1998).
  • Islanders G Robin Lehner played for the Sabres for three seasons (2015 to 2018), finishing his tenure with the team with a 42-61-22 record, 2.77 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage.

Former Islanders:

  • Islanders F Kyle Okposo was selected by the Islanders in the first round (7th overall) of the 2006 NHL Draft. He spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Islanders (2007 to 2016), recording 369 points (139+230) in 529 games.

Zach Bogosian:

  • Played with Islanders F Andrew Ladd in Atlanta and Winnipeg.

Jason Botterill:

  • Was the assistant general manager for the Penguins when Islanders G Thomas Greiss and F Tom Kuhnhackl were playing in Pittsburgh.

Chris Hajt:

  • Played with Islanders assistant coach John Gruden in Washington.

Phil Housley:

  • Played in New Jersey when Islanders General Manager Lou Lamoriello was the general manager of the Devils and Islanders assistant general manager Chris Lamoriello was a scout for the team.
  • Was an assistant coach in Nashville alongside Islanders associate coach Lane Lambert and director of goaltending Mitch Korn when Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz was the head coach of the Predators.

Matt Hunwick:

  • Played with Islanders D Johnny Boychuk in Boston.
  • Played with Islanders F Tom Kuhnhackl in Pittsburgh.
  • Played with Islanders F Leo Komarov and F Matt Martin in Toronto. Islanders General Manager Lou Lamoriello was the general manager of the Maple Leafs during Hunwick’s tenure with the team.

Johan Larsson:

  • Played with Islanders F Cal Clutterbuck in Minnesota.
  • Played for Team Sweden with Islanders G Robin Lehner at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Jake McCabe:

  • Played for Team USA with Islanders F Brock Nelson at the 2014 and 2016 IIHF World Championships.

Davis Payne:

  • Played with Islanders assistant coach John Gruden in Boston.

Jason Pominville:

  • Played with Islanders F Cal Clutterbuck in Minnesota.

Rasmus Ristolainen:

  • Played for Team Finland with Islanders F Valtteri Filppula at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Marco Scandella:

  • Played with Islanders F Cal Clutterbuck in Minnesota.

Conor Sheary:

  • Played with Islanders F Tom Kuhnhackl in Pittsburgh.

Jeff Skinner:

  • Played for Team Canada with Islanders F Cal Clutterbuck at the 2011 IIHF World Championship.
  • Represented Canada with Islanders F Jordan Eberle and F Andrew Ladd at the 2011, 2012 and 2013 IIHF World Championships.

Steve Smith:

  • Was a scout for the Blackhawks when Islanders F Andrew Ladd was playing in Chicago.
  • Was an assistant coach for the Oilers when Islanders F Jordan Eberle was playing in Edmonton.

Vladimir Sobotka:

  • Played with Islanders D Johnny Boychuk in Boston.

Scott Wilson:

  • Played with Islanders G Thomas Greiss and F Tom Kuhnhackl in Pittsburgh.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (219), Girgensons (136), Larsson (106)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (119), Bogosian (116), McCabe (95)
Shots: Eichel (284), Skinner (256), Ristolainen (177)

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: 3-6-1 (7), 26/38, 7/30, 19/22
61-70: 2-8-0 (4), 23/39, 6/27, 18/26
71-80: 1-5-1 (3), 17/30. 3/18, 13/18

OVERTIME RESULTS (7-7; 120-128 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)
March 1 vs. PIT: W, 4-3 (GWG-Sheary, 4:11)
March 28 vs. DET: L, 5-4 (GWG-Bertuzzi, 2:18)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (6-2; 76-68 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)
Feb. 21 at TBL: L, 2-1 (GDG-Stamkos)
March 7 at CHI: L, 5-4 (GDG-Kane)
March 17 vs. STL: W, 4-3 (GDG-Reinhart)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Goals
Jason Pominville … 1 goal … 217 goals with Sabres (sole possession, 10th in franchise history)
Assists
Kyle Okposo … 1 assist … 300 career assists
Jeff Skinner … 2 assists … 200 career assists

RECENT MILESTONES
William Borgen … 1st NHL game … March 26 at OTT
Victor Olofsson … 1st NHL game … March 28 vs. DET
Victor Olofsson … 1st NHL point (assist) … March 28 vs. DET
Jack Eichel … 100th NHL goal … March 28 vs. DET

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