Game Preview: 12/8/19 at Edmonton

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Saturday, December 7
Buffalo 5 at Vancouver 6 (OT)
Goals: Okposo, Ristolainen, Olofsson, Girgensons, Johansson
Goalie: Hutton (24 saves/30 shots)
PP: 1/4; PK: 1/2; Shots: Vancouver 30 – Buffalo 28

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 143)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Matt Hunwick (neck, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 30 games
Vladimir Sobotka (knee, Nov. 9; injured reserve) – 14 games
Tage Thompson (upper body, Nov. 19; injured reserve) – 10 games
Rasmus Dahlin (concussion, Nov. 27; injured reserve) – 6 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
12/3: Assigned F Curtis Lazar to Rochester (AHL)
12/4: Assigned F Jean-Sebastien Dea to Rochester (AHL)
12/7: Activated F Kyle Okposo from IR

UPCOMING GAMES
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.
Saturday, Dec. 14: Buffalo at NY Islanders, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 17: Buffalo at Toronto, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at OILERS

  • This is the first of two meetings between the Sabres and Oilers this season.
  • Last meeting: Edmonton defeated Buffalo 7-2 in Edmonton on Jan. 14
  • Next meeting: Thursday, Jan. 2 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Oilers; 6-4-0 on the road.
  • This is the 78th game all-time between Buffalo and Edmonton; Buffalo has a 26-40-11 series record.
  • The Sabres are 11-24-3 on the road against the Oilers all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 9-6-5 all-time on December 8.
  • December 8, 1974: Gary Bromley needs to make just 14 saves to earn a 5-0 shutout victory against the Minnesota North Stars.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Tonight’s game is the third in a three-game road trip through Western Canada for the Sabres. Buffalo is 13-7-4 against the Pacific Division since the beginning of last season, including a 3-2-3 record in 2019-20.
  • The Sabres are 26-40-11 all-time against the Oilers but are 11-6-1 against Edmonton since 2005-06 and 4-2-0 against them in the last three seasons.
  • All 11 of Jeff Skinner’s goals this season have come during 5-on-5 play. According to NaturalStatTrick.com, he entered play Saturday night tied for sixth-most in the league.

STRIKING OIL

  • Kyle Okposo has tallied 14 points (7+7) in 14 career games against Edmonton. The Oilers are one of four NHL teams (San Jose, Vancouver, Vegas) that he has recorded exactly a point per game against, his highest per-game rate against any team.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has 14 points (2+12) in 11 career games against the Oilers, including at least a point in each of his last six meetings. It’s his best career per-game output against any NHL opponent.
  • Jack Eichel has totaled nine points (5+4) in seven career games against Edmonton.
  • Casey Mittelstadt scored in both meetings between the Sabres and Oilers last season.

VIC-O MODE

  • Victor Olofsson leads all NHL rookies with 12 goals this season and ranks second among rookies with 28 points.
  • He has recorded 16 points (6+10) in his last 15 games, including two-point outings in each of the team’s last three contests.
  • Olofsson is the first Sabres rookie to record three straight multi-point games since Tyler Ennis did so from Jan. 15 to 20, 2011.
  • The last Sabres rookie to record at least four consecutive multi-point games was Ales Kotalik, who did it in four straight games from Jan. 3 to 10, 2003.

GOING STREAKING

  • Jack Eichel enters today’s game on a career-best 12-game point streak that began on Nov. 16. As of the conclusion of yesterday’s game, his 10 goals and 22 points during the streak led the NHL during that timeframe.
  • Eichel’s streak is the longest active point streak in the NHL and the longest by a Sabre since Tim Connolly tallied points in 16 straight from Dec. 23, 2009 to Jan. 25, 2010.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen enters the game with points in five straight contests (1+5). It is his first five-game streak since Jan. 18 to 25, 2018 (1+5). With a point tonight, he would tie his career-best six straight games with a point from Feb. 12 to 25, 2017 (0+6).

BACK-TO-BACK
Tonight’s game wraps up Buffalo’s eighth of 14 sets of back-to-back games this season, which began with a 6-5 overtime loss yesterday at Vancouver. The Sabres are 3-4-1 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 2-4-1 in the second game so far this season. Buffalo’s point breakdown in previous back-to-back sets is: four points (0), three points (1), two points (4), one point (0) and zero points (2).

EVEN-STRENGTH IMPROVEMENT
The Sabres have seen positive trends at even strength in the team’s 13 games since returning from Stockholm, Sweden. 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 13 Games 57.41 50.64 50.64 49.42

During the 13-game stretch that began on Nov. 14 vs. Carolina, the team has tied or led its opponent at 5-on-5 in…

  • goals: nine times
  • shots: eight times
  • shot attempts: eight times
  • scoring chances: eight times

SETTING THE PACE

  • With 18 goals in 30 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 30 games currently has him on pace to finish the season with 49 goals and 112 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.
  • LaFontaine (83) and Mogilny (78) in 1992-93 are the only two Sabres ever to have recorded more even-strength points in a season than the 77 Eichel is currently on pace for.
  • 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 (33) since Ray Sheppard’s 38 in 1987-88 and the most points by a Sabres rookie (71) since Rick Martin’s franchise-record 74 in 1971-72. Gilbert Perreault (72 in 1970-71) is the only other player in franchise history to finish his rookie season with a point total higher than Olofsson’s current pace.
  • Sam Reinhart’s 11 goals in 30 games put him on pace for a career-high goal total (30).

POINTS IN BUNCHES

  • Jack Eichel has recorded 11 multi-point games this season, tying for eighth-most in the NHL at the conclusion of yesterday’s game.
  • After yesterday’s game, his four multi-goal games tied for fourth-most (one shy of the league lead) and his eight multi-assist games tied for the league lead.
  • Eichel has already recorded at least three points seven times this season, topping his previous career-high total (6) set in the 2016-17 season. Only Leon Draisaitl (8) and Connor McDavid (8) had more games with at least three points this season after yesterday’s game.
  • Eichel’s three games with at least four points this season tied for the league lead after yesterday’s game. 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).

ONE BUFFALO

  • The Sabres and the Buffalo Bills are playing on the same day for the third of five times this season after doing so three times last season.
  • The teams have played on the same date 222 times, with both teams winning their respective games on 50 of those days.
  • The Sabres are 119-69-34 when playing on a Bills game day and the Bills enter this game 95-125-2 on those dates.
  • The last time the Sabres and Bills both won on the same date was Nov. 24, 2019.

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

  • Eichel: 18 G (T-5th), 13 EVG (T-4th), 28 EVP (6th), 23 A (T-6th), 41 PTS (7th), 110 S (9th), 13 PPP (T-9th)
  • Hutton: 2 SO (T-2nd)
  • Olofsson: 7 PPG (T-5th)
  • Ristolainen: 92 hits (10th)
  • Skinner: 114 S (5th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (92), McCabe (46), Girgensons (42)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (50), Ristolainen (39), Jokiharju (27)
Shots: Skinner (114), Eichel (110), Olofsson (75)

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: 3-4-3 (8), 34/34, 4/33, 23/32

OVERTIME RESULTS (2-5; 122-133 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)
Dec. 7 at VAN: L, 6-5 (GWG-Miller, 3:21)

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 … 2 goals … 100 career goals
Assists
Marco Scandella … 10 assists … 100 career assists
Points
Jimmy Vesey … 3 points … 100 career points
Zach Bogosian … 9 points … 200 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
Rasmus Asplund … 1st NHL goal … Dec. 2 vs. NJD
Jack Eichel … 300th NHL point … Dec. 7 at VAN

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