Game Preview: 12/2/19 vs. New Jersey

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Saturday, November 30
Buffalo 1 at Toronto 2 (OT)
Goals: Ristolainen
Goalie: Hutton (41 saves/43 shots)
PP: 0/2; PK: 0/1; Shots: Toronto 43 – Buffalo 30

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 128)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Matt Hunwick (neck, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 27 games
Vladimir Sobotka (knee, Nov. 9; injured reserve) – 11 games
Kyle Okposo (concussion, Nov. 17; injured reserve) – 8 games
Tage Thompson (upper body, Nov. 19; injured reserve) – 7 games
Evan Rodrigues (lower body, Nov. 25) – 4 games
Rasmus Dahlin (concussion, Nov. 27; injured reserve) – 3 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
11/25: Recalled F Jean-Sebastien Dea from Rochester (AHL)
11/27: Activated F Marcus Johansson from IR; Placed D Rasmus Dahlin on IR

UPCOMING GAMES
Thursday, Dec. 5: Buffalo at Calgary, 9 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 7: Buffalo at Vancouver, 4 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 8: Buffalo at Edmonton, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 10: St. Louis at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 12: Nashville at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
DEVILS at SABRES

  • This is the second of three meetings between the Sabres and Devils this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated New Jersey 7-2 in Buffalo on Oct. 5
  • Next meeting: Thursday, April 2 in New Jersey
  • The Sabres are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Devils; 4-5-1 at home.
  • This is the 159th game all-time between Buffalo and New Jersey; Buffalo has a 77-55-26 series record.
  • The Sabres are 42-27-11 at home against the Devils all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 7-11-1 all-time on December 2.
  • December 2, 1969: The NHL announces its decision to expand to Buffalo and Vancouver in the 1970-71 season.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • After winning the first meeting between the teams this season by a score of 7-2 on Oct. 5 in Buffalo, the Sabres are looking to clinch the season series against the Devils for the first time since 2013-14.
  • A win would also give the Sabres wins in three straight home games against the Devils for the first time since they topped New Jersey in all four of their visits to Buffalo in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
  • Victor Olofsson has recorded points in 10 of his last 12 games (4+6).
  • All 10 of Skinner’s goals this season have come during 5-on-5 play. According to NaturalStatTrick.com, he entered play Sunday tied for seventh-most in the league.

HOT AGAINST NEW JERSEY

  • Sam Reinhart has scored four goals and recorded 13 shots in his last three games against the Devils, tallying at least a goal in each contest.
  • Jake McCabe has points in four of his last five games against New Jersey (2+2), including a point in three straight home games.
  • Zach Bogosian recorded an assist in both of his meetings with the Devils last season.
  • Jack Eichel has posted eight points (5+3) in his last eight games against New Jersey, including three points (1+2) when these teams last met.
  • Jeff Skinner has totaled five points (2+3) in his last five matchups with the Devils.

EVEN-STRENGTH IMPROVEMENT
The Sabres have seen positive trends at even strength in the team’s last 10 games. In that span, Buffalo’s 5-on-5 numbers have improved on the team’s per-60 rates from its first 17 games in every meaningful category, including goals for and against, shots for and against, shot attempts for and against, and scoring chances for and against.

Buffalo Sabres at 5-on-5 (via NaturalStatTrick.com)

GF% SF% CF% SCF%
First 17 Games 50.79 48.21 48.61 47.72
Last 10 Games 56.41 52.02 52.64 51.24

During the 10-game stretch that began on Nov. 14 vs. Carolina, the team has tied or led its opponent in…

  • 5-on-5 goals: seven times
  • 5-on-5 shots: eight times
  • 5-on-5 shot attempts: seven times
  • 5-on-5 scoring chances: seven times

GOING STREAKING

  • Jack Eichel enters today’s game on a nine-game point streak that began on Nov. 16. Entering play Sunday, his eight goals and 16 points during the streak both tied for the NHL lead during that timeframe.
  • Eichel has recorded at least one assist in each of the last seven games. The longest assist streak of his career is nine games, set from Feb. 14 to March 4, 2017.

SETTING THE PACE

  • With 16 goals in 27 games so far this season, Jack Eichel is on pace to shatter his previous best goal total (28), set in the 2018-19 season.
  • Eichel’s output through 27 games currently has him on pace to finish the season with 49 goals and 106 points, which would be the highest goal and point totals by a Sabre since Pat LaFontaine (53+95) and Alexander Mogilny (76+51) in 1992-93.
  • Sam Reinhart’s nine goals in 27 games put him on pace for a career-high goal total (27).
  • Victor Olofsson’s goal and point totals currently have him on pace for the best offensive season by a Sabres rookie in decades. If he maintains his current pace, he would finish the season with the most goals by a Sabres rookie (30) since Donald Audette’s 31 in 1991-92 and the most points by a Sabres rookie (61) since Ray Sheppard’s 65 in 1987-88.

POINTS IN BUNCHES

  • Jack Eichel has recorded nine multi-point games this season, tying for 10th-most in the NHL before Sunday’s games.
  • Entering play Sunday, his four multi-goal games tied for third-most (one shy of the league lead) and his six multi-assist games tied for fifth-most (also one behind the league leaders).
  • Eichel has already recorded at least three points six times this season, matching his previous career-high total set in the 2016-17 season. Only Leon Draisaitl (8) and Connor McDavid (8) had more games with at least three points this season entering play Sunday.
  • Eichel’s three games with at least four points this season tied for the league lead entering play Sunday. Since he entered the league in 2015-16, only seven players have totaled at least four points more times than Eichel’s eight: Nikita Kucherov (15), Patrick Kane (10), Connor McDavid (10), Johnny Gaudreau (9), Brad Marchand (9), Alex Ovechkin (9) and Steven Stamkos (9).

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 12/1 games)

  • Eichel: 12 EVG (T-3rd), 547 FO (4th), 25 EVP (T-5th), 16 G (T-6th), 99 S (6th), 35 PTS (7th), 257 FOW (9th), 1 OTG (T-10th)
  • Hutton: 2 SO (T-1st)
  • Johansson: 1 OTG (T-10th)
  • Olofsson: 6 PPG (T-6th)
  • Ristolainen: 85 hits (T-9th)
  • Skinner: 95 S (T-10th)
  • Ullmark: 1 SO (T-9th)

BUF-NJD CONNECTIONS

  • Sabres forward Marcus Johansson played for the Devils for two seasons (2017-19 to 2018-19). In 77 games with New Jersey, Johansson scored 17 goals and added 24 assists.
  • Devils defenseman Matt Tennyson spent two seasons (2017-18 to 2018-19) with the Sabres organization, appearing in 19 games for Buffalo.
  • Devils forward Miles Wood was born in Buffalo. He is the son of former Sabre Randy Wood.
  • Sabres forward Jack Eichel played for Team USA with Devils defenseman Will Butcher at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship. The duo won a bronze medal together the following year with Devils forwards Miles Wood and John Hayden at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Sabres forward Jack Eichel played for Team USA at the 2019 IIHF World Championship with Devils forward Jack Hughes.
  • Sabres defenseman Henri Jokiharju and Devils forward John Hayden played for the Blackhawks together for one season (2018-19).
  • Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe played for Team USA with Devils forward Miles Wood at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour and Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen played in Anaheim together for parts of two seasons (2016-17 to 2017-18).
  • Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour and forward Sam Reinhart played for Team Canada with Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood and defenseman Damon Severson at the 2019 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres forward Sam Reinhart and Devils forward Taylor Hall won a gold medal together for Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen played for Team Finland together at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
  • Sabres defenseman Marco Scandella won a silver medal for Team Canada with Devils forward Taylor Hall at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Sabres forward Jeff Skinner represented Canada with Devils forward Travis Zajac at the 2011 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres forward Jeff Skinner and Devils defenseman Matt Tennyson were teammates in Carolina for one season (2016-17).
  • Sabres forward Jeff Skinner played with Devils forwards Taylor Hall and Wayne Simmonds, and defenseman P.K. Subban for Team Canada at the 2013 IIHF World Championship. Skinner and Simmonds later won a silver medal together at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (85), McCabe (44), Girgensons (38)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (45), Ristolainen (36), Jokiharju/Scandella (25)
Shots: Eichel (99), Skinner (95), Olofsson (68)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10: 8-1-1 (17), 38/24, 12/39, 23/30
11-20: 2-6-2 (6), 21/35, 2/26, 21/29
21-30: 2-3-2 (6), 19/23, 1/19, 18/24

OVERTIME RESULTS (2-4; 122-132 all-time)
Oct. 7 at CBJ: L, 4-3 (GWG-Texier, 2:08)
Oct. 9 vs. MTL: W, 5-4 (GWG-Johansson, 1:30)
Oct. 22 vs. SJS: W, 4-3 (GWG-Eichel, 3:13)
Nov. 14 vs. CAR: L, 5-4 (GWG-Hamilton, 2:28)
Nov. 27 vs. CGY: L, 3-2 (GWG-Lindholm, 1:17)
Nov. 30 at TOR: L, 2-1 (GWG-Tavares, 1:45)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (1-1; 76-70 all-time)
Oct. 11 vs. FLA: W, 3-2 (GDG-Eichel)
Oct. 28 vs. ARI: L, 3-2 (GDG-Schmaltz)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Goals
Sam Reinhart … 4 goals … 100 career goals
Assists
Marco Scandella … 10 assists … 100 career assists
Points
Jimmy Vesey … 3 points … 100 career points
Jack Eichel … 6 points … 300 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
Brandon Montour … 200th NHL game … Nov. 27 vs. CGY
Rasmus Asplund … 1st NHL point (assist) … Nov. 27 vs. CGY
Jake McCabe … 300th NHL game … Nov. 30 at TOR

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