Game Preview: 12/21/19 vs. Los Angeles

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Thursday, December 19
Buffalo 1 at Philadelphia 6
Goals: Olofsson
Goalie: Hutton (23 saves/29 shots)
PP: 1/2; PK: 2/5; Shots: Philadelphia 29 – Buffalo 17

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 164)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Matt Hunwick (neck, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 36 games
Vladimir Sobotka (knee, Nov. 9; injured reserve) – 20 games
Tage Thompson (upper body, Nov. 19; injured reserve) – 16 games
Jack Eichel (upper body, Dec. 19) – 1 game
Johan Larsson (lower body, Dec. 21) – 0 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
12/15: Assigned F Casey Mittelstadt to Rochester (AHL)
12/20: Recalled F Curtis Lazar from Rochester (AHL)

UPCOMING GAMES
Monday, Dec. 23: Buffalo at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 27: Boston at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 29: Buffalo at Boston, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 31: Tampa Bay at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 2: Edmonton at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

TODAY’S GAME
KINGS at SABRES

  • This is the second of two meetings between the Sabres and Kings this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Los Angeles 3-0 in Los Angeles on Oct. 17
  • The Sabres are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Kings; 9-1-0 at home.
  • This is the 127th game all-time between Buffalo and Los Angeles; Buffalo has a 62-45-19 series record.
  • The Sabres are 36-17-9 at home against the Kings all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 13-6-3 all-time on December 21.
  • December 21, 1975: Rick Martin scores four goals and Fred Stanfield scores three as the Sabres defeat Washington by a score of 14-2, the largest winning margin in franchise history. The Sabres roster combined for 40 points in the game, the most in team history.
  • December 21, 1991: Alexander Mogilny sets the franchise record for fastest goal from the start of a game, beating Toronto goaltender Jeff Reese just five seconds after the opening faceoff.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Buffalo has gone 7-for-27 (25.9%) on the power play in nine games during the month of December. The Sabres have scored at least one power-play goal in each of the team’s last three games, going 4-for-7 (57.1%) during that stretch.
  • Linus Ullmark has won all three of his career meetings with Los Angeles, logging a .929 save percentage in those games.
  • Jack Eichel has 10 points (4+6) in eight career games against the Kings, including four multi-point outings.
  • Jeff Skinner has scored six goals in his last four meetings with Los Angeles.
  • Brandon Montour has posted an assist in five of his seven career games against the Kings, including each of his last two.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has four points (1+3) in his last four games against Los Angeles.
  • Evan Rodrigues tallied a point in both of his last two games against the Kings (0+2).

KING SLAYERS
The Sabres have compiled a 15-2-1 record (one tie) at home against the Kings dating back to the beginning of the 1993-94 season, outscoring Los Angeles 73-32 in those games. The Kings’ lone wins in Buffalo during that stretch came on Feb. 21, 2003 and Feb. 17, 2018.

HOME COOKING
The Sabres are 10-3-3 (.719) through their first 16 home games of the season, putting the team on pace for its ninth-best home record in a season. Buffalo’s plus-18 goal differential at home ranks fourth in the NHL.

WHO’S HOT?

  • Jack Eichel has been selected as the NHL’s Third Star of the week for each of the last two weeks. Entering play Friday, his 15 points since the beginning of December led all NHL players and his eight goals during that span tied for second-most in the league.
  • Eichel, who has recorded two points in each of his last four games played, is the first player to do so for the Sabres since Andrej Sekera recorded five straight multi-point games from Feb. 26 to March 6, 2011.
  • Victor Olofsson entered play Friday tied for second in the NHL during the month of December with 13 points. His five goals tied for ninth and his eight assists tied for fifth.
  • Olofsson has now recorded 23 points (9+14) in his last 21 games, including two-point performances in five of the team’s last nine games. He has failed to record a point in just three of those 21 games and entered play Friday leading all NHL rookies in goals (15) and points (33) this season.
  • Rasmus Dahlin has recorded at least a point (1+4) in each of his four games since returning from an eight-game injury absence and now has seven points (1+6) in his last seven games played dating back to Nov. 21.
  • Sam Reinhart has totaled eight points (3+5) in Buffalo’s last eight games, including three multi-point games during that stretch.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has eight points (1+7) in the Sabres’ last 11 games dating back to Nov. 29 vs. Toronto. His plus-11 mark in those games ties as the fourth-best plus/minus rating in the NHL during that span.
  • Linus Ullmark has posted a 6-2-2 record in his last 10 appearances.

JACK ATTACK

  • With two points (1+1) on Tuesday night at Toronto, Jack Eichel became the first Buffalo player to reach 50 points in 35 or fewer games since 1992-93 (Pat LaFontaine and Alexander Mogilny). He joins Rick Martin as the only other player in franchise history to record at least 20 goals and 50 points in each of his first five NHL seasons.
  • Eichel has scored in a personal-best four straight games played entering today’s contest. He entered play Friday ranked second in the league with 24 goals this season, including a league-high 18 at even strength.
  • Since scoring four goals on Nov. 16 vs. Ottawa, Eichel has recorded a point in a career-best 17 straight games played. He now trails Gilbert Perreault (18 games, Oct. 24 to Dec. 4, 1971) by one game for the most consecutive games played with a point in franchise history.
  • Entering play Friday, his 16 goals, 31 points and plus-17 rating since the run started all led the NHL during that timeframe. His 15 assists were two shy of the league lead during that stretch.

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: Jack Eichel (13, T-5th), Jeff Skinner (11, T-12th), Sam Reinhart 10, T-19th).
  • Only 25 NHL players had at least 10 goals during 5-on-5 play entering play Friday. Buffalo joined the Edmonton Oilers (Draisaitl, Kassian, McDavid) as one of two teams with three players among those 25.

SETTING THE PACE

  • With 24 goals in 35 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 36 team games currently has him on pace to finish the season with 56 goals and 116 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 (34) since Ray Sheppard’s 38 in 1987-88 and the most points ever recorded by a Sabres rookie (75), topping Rick Martin’s franchise-record 74 in 1971-72.
  • Sam Reinhart’s 12 goals in 36 games put him on pace for a career-high goal total (27).

POINTS IN BUNCHES

  • Jack Eichel has recorded 15 multi-point games this season, tying for third-most in the NHL before Friday’s games.
  • Entering play Friday, his six multi-goal games led the league and his eight multi-assist games tied for second-most, trailing only Connor McDavid (10).
  • 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 Friday.
  • Eichel’s three games with at least four points this season tied for the league lead entering play Friday. 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 (11), 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 fourth of five times this season after doing so three times last season.
  • The teams have played on the same date 223 times, with both teams winning their respective games on 50 of those days.
  • The Sabres are 120-69-34 when playing on a Bills game day and the Bills enter this game 95-126-2 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 before 12/20 games)

  • Eichel: 18 EVG (1st), 24 G (2nd), 34 EVP (T-3rd), 50 PTS (T-5th), 16 PPP (T-7th), 4 GWG (T-8th), 26 A (T-8th), 128 S (T-9th), 6 PPG (T-9th)
  • Hutton: 2 SO (T-3rd)
  • Olofsson: 9 PPG (3rd)
  • Ristolainen: 107 hits (T-9th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (107), Girgensons (55), McCabe (55)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (57), Ristolainen (42), Scandella (31)
Shots: Eichel (128), Skinner (120), Olofsson (91)

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: 3-2-1 (7), 18/21, 4/13, 12/16

OVERTIME RESULTS (3-6; 123-134 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)
Dec. 14 at NYI: L, 3-2 (GWG-Beauvillier, 3:04)

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 … 3 games … 700 career games played
Conor Sheary … 8 games … 300 career games played
Goals
Sam Reinhart … 1 goal … 100 career goals
Kyle Okposo … 9 goals … 200 career goals
Assists
Marco Scandella … 9 assists … 100 career assists
Points
Kyle Okposo … 5 points … 500 career points
Zach Bogosian … 8 points … 200 career points 

RECENT MILESTONES
N/A

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