Game Preview: 12/12/19 vs. Nashville

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Tuesday, December 10
St. Louis 2 at Buffalo 5
Goals: Eichel (2), Reinhart, Larsson, Girgensons
Goalie: Ullmark (28 saves/30 shots)
PP: 0/2; PK: 2/2; Shots: Buffalo 33 – St. Louis 30

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 151)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Matt Hunwick (neck, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 32 games
Vladimir Sobotka (knee, Nov. 9; injured reserve) – 16 games
Tage Thompson (upper body, Nov. 19; injured reserve) – 12 games
Rasmus Dahlin (concussion, Nov. 27; injured reserve) – 8 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
12/7: Activated F Kyle Okposo from IR
12/12: Activated D Rasmus Dahlin from IR

UPCOMING GAMES
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.
Thursday, Dec. 19: Buffalo at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 21: Los Angeles at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
PREDATORS at SABRES

  • This is the first of two meetings between the Sabres and Predators this season.
  • Last meeting: Nashville defeated Buffalo 3-2 in Buffalo on April 2
  • Next meeting: Saturday, Jan. 18 in Nashville
  • The Sabres are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Predators; 1-6-3 at home.
  • This is the 28th game all-time between Buffalo and Nashville; Buffalo has a 10-13-4 series record.
  • The Sabres are 1-8-4 at home against the Predators all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 9-8-4 all-time on December 12.
  • December 12, 1981: Gilbert Perreault factors in on all four goals, including his 13th career hat trick, as the Sabres top the Red Wings by a score of 4-2 in Detroit.
  • December 12, 2000: J-P Dumont records his first hat trick as a member of the Sabres and Dominik Hasek stops all 22 Bruins shots in a 3-0 win at Boston.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Jack Eichel has totaled nine points (3+6) in eight career games against the Predators, including a franchise record-tying five assists on March 31, 2018 in Nashville.
  • Jeff Skinner has posted 17 points (9+8) in 15 career meetings with the Predators. His 1.1 points per game against Nashville trails only his six points (5+1) in five career games against the Carolina Hurricanes (1.2 PTS/GP) as his best scoring rate against any NHL opponent.
  • Kyle Okposo has 12 points (7+5) in 13 career games against Nashville.
  • Sam Reinhart has seven points (6+1) in eight career games against the Predators, including four goals in his last three.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has totaled four assists in his last three games against Nashville.
  • Jake McCabe (1+2) and Evan Rodrigues (0+3) each have three points in their last three matchups with the Predators.
  • Brandon Montour has tallied an assist in two straight meetings with Nashville entering tonight’s game.

HOME COOKING
The Sabres are 9-3-3 (.700) through their first 15 home games of the season, putting the team on pace to tie its ninth-best home record in a season. Buffalo’s plus-17 goal differential at home ranked fourth in the NHL entering play Wednesday.

WHO’S HOT?

  • Jack Eichel was selected as the NHL’s Third Star of the Week for the week ending Dec. 8 after leading all NHL players with seven points (2+5) in four games last week. He followed up the honor with a two-goal performance vs. St. Louis on Tuesday, becoming the third NHL player to reach the 20-goal mark this season.
  • Victor Olofsson has recorded 18 points (6+12) in his last 17 games, including two-point performances in four of the team’s last five games.
  • Johan Larsson enters tonight’s game with nine points (2+7) and a plus-9 rating in Buffalo’s last seven contests. He’s currently on his first three-game point streak since November 2016. With a point tonight, he’d tie his career-best four game streak from March 29 to April 5, 2016 (3+3).
  • Sam Reinhart has totaled five points (3+2) in Buffalo’s last four games.
  • Linus Ullmark is 5-1-1 with a .923 save percentage in his last seven appearances. In those games, Ullmark has posted a .939 save percentage at 5-on-5.

5-ON-5 GOALS

  • According to NaturalStatTrick.com, the Sabres entered play Wednesday with three players among the league’s leaders in 5-on-5 goals: Jeff Skinner (11, T-8th), Jack Eichel (10, T-12th), Sam Reinhart 10, T-12th).
  • Only 18 NHL players had at least 10 goals during 5-on-5 play entering play Wednesday. Buffalo joined the Edmonton Oilers (Draisaitl, Kassian, McDavid) as one of two teams with three players among those 18.

JACK ATTACK

  • Jack Eichel enters today’s game on a career-best 14-game point streak that began on Nov. 16. Entering play Wednesday, his 12 goals, 25 points and plus-16 rating during the streak all led the NHL during that timeframe. His 13 assists trailed only Evgeni Malkin (14) for the league lead.
  • Eichel’s streak is the longest active point streak in the NHL and the second-longest streak in the league this season, one game shy of Patrick Kane’s 15-game streak from Nov. 2 to 30 (11+13)
  • The streak is the longest by a Sabre since Tim Connolly tallied points in 16 consecutive games from Dec. 23, 2009 to Jan. 25, 2010. Only four players in Sabres history have recorded a point streak of more than 14 games: Dave Andreychuk (2x), Tim Connolly, Rick Martin and Gilbert Perreault.
  • Perreault holds Buffalo’s franchise record with points in 18 consecutive games from Oct. 24 to Dec. 4, 1971 (10+21).

EVEN-STRENGTH IMPROVEMENT
The Sabres have seen positive trends at even strength in the team’s 15 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 15 Games 58.06 50.56 51.17 50.26

During the 15-game stretch that began on Nov. 14 vs. Carolina, the team has tied or led its opponent at 5-on-5 in…

  • goals: 11 times
  • shots: nine times
  • shot attempts: 10 times
  • scoring chances: 10 times

SETTING THE PACE

  • With 20 goals in 32 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 32 games currently has him on pace to finish the season with 51 goals and 113 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 in 1992-93) is the only Sabre ever to have recorded more even-strength points in a season than the 79 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 (31) since Donald Audette’s 31 in 1991-92 and the most points by a Sabres rookie (72) 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 as high as Olofsson’s current pace.
  • Sam Reinhart’s 12 goals in 32 games put him on pace for a career-high goal total (31).

POINTS IN BUNCHES

  • Jack Eichel has recorded 12 multi-point games this season, tying for ninth-most in the NHL before Wednesday’s games.
  • Entering play Wednesday, his five multi-goal games tied for the league lead and his eight multi-assist games tied for second-most, trailing only Connor McDavid (9).
  • 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 Connor McDavid (9) and Leon Draisaitl (8) had more games with at least three points this season entering play Wednesday.
  • Eichel’s three games with at least four points this season tied for the league lead entering play Wednesday. 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 12/11 games)

  • Eichel: 15 EVG (T-1st), 20 G (3rd), 31 EVP (T-4th), 4 GWG (T-5th), 44 PTS (6th), 24 A (T-8th), 113 S (T-10th)
  • Hutton: 2 SO (T-2nd)
  • Olofsson: 7 PPG (T-5th)
  • Ristolainen: 100 hits (9th)
  • Skinner: 118 S (T-6th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (100), Girgensons (47), McCabe (47)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (52), Ristolainen (40), Jokiharju (28)
Shots: Skinner (118), Eichel (113), Olofsson (79)

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
31-40: 2-0-0 (4), 8/4, 0/5, 4/5

OVERTIME RESULTS (3-5; 123-133 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)
Dec. 8 at EDM: W, 3-2 (GWG-Miller, 1:13)

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)
Games Played
Jeff Skinner … 7 games … 700 career games played
Goals
Sam Reinhart … 1 goal … 100 career goals
Kyle Okposo … 10 goals … 200 career goals
Assists
Marco Scandella … 9 assists … 100 career assists
Points
Jimmy Vesey … 1 point … 100 career points
Kyle Okposo … 6 points … 500 career points
Zach Bogosian … 8 points … 200 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
Jack Eichel … 300th NHL point … Dec. 7 at VAN

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