Game Preview: 3/31/19 vs. Columbus

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Saturday, March 30
Buffalo 1 at NY Islanders 5
Goals: Olofsson
Goalie: Hutton (33 saves/38 shots)
PP: 1/2; PK: 1/1; Shots: NY Islanders 38 – Buffalo 32

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 234)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Jake McCabe (upper body, March 4) – 13 games
Matt Hunwick (upper body, March 23) – 5 games
Zach Bogosian (lower body, March 25) – 4 games
Rasmus Ristolainen (illness, March 26) – 3 games
Evan Rodrigues (upper body, March 28) – 2 games
Vladimir Sobotka (upper body, March 30) – 1 game

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
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
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
BLUE JACKETS at SABRES

  • This is the third and final meeting between the Sabres and Blue Jackets this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Columbus 5-4 in Columbus on Jan. 29
  • The Sabres are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games vs. Blue Jackets; 5-4-1 at home.
  • This is the 32nd game all-time between Buffalo and Columbus; Buffalo has an 12-16-3 series record.
  • The Sabres are 7-8-1 at home against the Blue Jackets all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 12-10-0 all-time on March 31.
  • March 31, 1971: Eddie Shack records his second hat trick in 10 days as the Sabres defeat the Penguins 6-4 in Pittsburgh.
  • March 31, 1992: The Sabres and Minnesota North Stars combine for 360 penalty minutes, including 188 to the Sabres and 172 to the North Stars. All three totals (for, against and combined) still stand as Sabres franchise records.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres are 2-0-1 in their last three games against the Blue Jackets and enter tonight’s game looking to earn points in four straight games against Columbus for the first time in the all-time series between the teams.
  • With a win tonight, Buffalo would clinch the season series against Columbus for the first time since 2015-16.
  • Jack Eichel has totaled 12 points (3+9) in 11 career games against the Blue Jackets, including at least a point in each of his five home games against Columbus (3+4).
  • Kyle Okposo has recorded 10 points (5+5) in his last 11 games against Columbus, including three (2+1) in his last three.
  • Jeff Skinner has totaled 20 points (11+9) in 25 career games against the Blue Jackets, including 13 points (6+7) in his last 12.
  • Conor Sheary and Evan Rodrigues have both recorded three points (2+1) in their last three games against Columbus.
  • Jake McCabe has posted three assists in the first two meetings between these teams this season.
  • Casey Mittelstadt has recorded a point in both of his career games against the Blue Jackets (1+1).
  • Casey Nelson recorded an assist in his only previous game against Columbus.

BACK-TO-BACK
Tonight’s game wraps up Buffalo’s final of 16 sets of back-to-back games this season, which began with a 5-1 loss last night at NY Islanders. The Sabres are 7-8-1 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).

WELCOME TO THE NHL

  • Victor Olofsson, who was recalled on Wednesday and made his NHL on Thursday vs. Detroit, has recorded a point in each of his first two NHL games (1+1).
  • Olofsson has led all Sabres in shots (9) and shot attempts (16) in his two games with the team.
  • According to NaturalStatTrick.com, he has also led the team in scoring chances (9), as well as corsi for percentage (58.73%), shots for percentage (61.76%) and scoring chance percentage (61.29%) during 5-on-5 play.
  • In his first season in North America, Olofsson has recorded a team-high 60 points (27+33) in 64 AHL games with the Rochester Americans, also leading all Rochester skaters in goals and assists. He led all SHL players with 27 goals in 2017-18.

A FRESH START

  • Through his first 16 games with the Sabres, Brandon Montour has recorded eight points (2+6), trailing only Jack Eichel (6+3) 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 16 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 16 games, Montour has also seen a drastic uptick in scoring rates in goals (.40), assists (.61) and points (1.01) per 60 minutes played at 5-on-5 compared to his rates from the last two seasons.

DAH-LEAN ON ME

  • Following last night’s game, 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 78 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 (50) and points (77) 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 50 assists since Jason 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 or match 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 73 27 50 77 19 34 53
Eichel 2018-19 (Pace) 77 28 53 81 20 36 56
               
Reinhart Career High (2017-18) 82 25 25 50 13 16 29
Reinhart 2018-19 78 20 42 62 18 30 48
Reinhart 2018-19 (Pace) 82 21 44 65 19 32 50
               
Skinner Career High (2016-17) 79 37 26 63 30 18 48
Skinner 2018-19 78 37 23 60 29 15 44
Skinner 2018-19 (Pace) 82 39 24 63 30 16 46

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings after last night’s game)

  • Eichel: 285 S (T-6th)
  • Ristolainen: 24:42 TOI/GP (9th)
  • Skinner: 3 OTG (T-3rd), 29 EVG (T-6th), 7 GWG (T-7th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (219), Girgensons (137), Larsson (107)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (119), Bogosian (116), McCabe (95)
Shots: Eichel (285), Skinner (257), 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: 1-6-1 (3), 18/35. 4/20, 14/19

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 (5-3; 75-69 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
Victor Olofsson … 1st NHL goal … March 30 at NYI

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