Game Preview: 1/22/21 at Washington

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Tuesday, January 19
Buffalo 0 at Philadelphia 3
Goals: N/A
Goalie: Hutton (19 saves/20 shots)/Johansson (8 save/9 shots); 1 ENG
PP: 0/3; PK: 2/2; Shots: Buffalo 40 – Philadelphia 30

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 8)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 4 games
Kyle Okposo (lower body, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 4 games
Carter Hutton (upper body, Jan. 22) – 0 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
1/18: Recalled G Jonas Johansson from the taxi squad
1/19: Recalled F Rasmus Asplund from the taxi squad; Placed F Kyle Okposo on IR
1/21: Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Loaned F Rasmus Asplund to the taxi squad

UPCOMING GAMES
Sunday, Jan. 24: Buffalo at Washington, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 26: NY Rangers at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 28: NY Rangers at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 30: New Jersey at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 31: New Jersey at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at CAPITALS

  • This is the third of eight meetings between the Sabres and Capitals this season.
  • Last meeting: Washington defeated Buffalo 2-1 in Buffalo on Jan. 15
  • Next meeting: Sunday, Jan. 24 in Washington
  • The Sabres are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Capitals; 2-6-2 on the road.
  • This is the 166th game all-time between Buffalo and Washington; Buffalo has a 90-54-21 series record.
  • The Sabres are 41-29-12 on the road against the Capitals all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 10-6-1 all-time on January 22.
  • January 22, 1988: Phil Housley records his second career hat trick in a 7-3 win over New Jersey. Housley still holds the Sabres’ franchise record for most career hat tricks by defenseman (2).
  • January 22, 1989: Lindy Ruff scores his 100th NHL goal in a 6-4 win at home against the Bruins.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Rasmus Dahlin has recorded seven points (2+5) in seven career meetings with the Capitals, including four points (1+3) in three road games.
  • Taylor Hall has recorded nine points (3+6) in his last eight meetings with the Capitals.
  • Jack Eichel has posted nine points (3+6) in eight games against the Capitals since the beginning of the 2017-18 season.

YOU AGAIN?

  • The Capitals swept the first series between these teams this season, winning back-to-back games in Buffalo on Jan. 14 and 15. Ten players recorded at least two points in the two-game series, including three points from Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie.
  • The Sabres outshot the Capitals 57-49 in those games but were outscored 8-5. Buffalo also led Washington in shot attempts at even strength by a 71-67 margin.
  • Six Sabres in the series (Rasmus Ristolainen, Jake McCabe, Tobias Rieder, Riley Sheahan, Colin Miller, Jeff Skinner) had a better shot attempts percentage at even strength than the Capitals player with the best mark in those games (Nick Jensen).
    • All six of those Sabres did so despite having offensive zone start percentages at or below 50 percent in the series.
  • Ristolainen (62.7% SAT%) and McCabe (61.5%), in particular, had success at even strength against Washington. With the pair on the ice together, the Sabres outchanced* the Capitals 15-3 and outscored them 3-0 during 5-on-5 play.

*Scoring chance data tracked by NaturalStatTrick.com and originally defined by WAR On Ice: http://blog.war-on-ice.com/new-defining-scoring-chances/index.html

DOMINANT DEFENSE

  • Entering play Thursday, four Sabres defensemen rank in the league’s top 40 in shot attempts percentage (min. 30 minutes played): Jake McCabe (15th, 58.1%), Rasmus Ristolainen (24th, 56.7%), Brandon Montour (35th, 55.0%) and Rasmus Dahlin (40th, 54.0%).
  • According to NaturalStatTrick.com, McCabe and Ristolainen rank 10th among NHL pairs who have played at least 30 minutes together this season. They have a SAT% of 58.0 percent when skating together at even strength despite an offensive zone start rate of just 44.7 percent.

GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION

  • Taylor Hall has recorded six points (1+5) in his first four games with the Sabres after signing as a free agent in the offseason. Entering play Thursday, his six points tied for second-most in the NHL this season.
  • Before being held without a point on Tuesday at Philadelphia, Hall became the 20th player ever to begin his Sabres career with a three-game point streak and the fourth player to record at least six points through his first three regular-season games with Buffalo, joining Doug Gilmour, Steve Heinze and Bob Sweeney.

RISTO’S RECORDS

  • With his goal when these teams last met on Jan. 15 in Buffalo, Rasmus Ristolainen ascended the Sabres’ record books in two categories:
    • His 43rd career goal broke a tie with Bill Hajt for the 10th-most goals by a defenseman in Sabres history. He now trails Tyler Myers and Jim Schoenfeld by two goals for eighth-most.
    • He tied Jim Schoenfeld for the seventh-most career points recorded by a Sabres defenseman (228). He now trails Bill Hajt by 16 points for sixth-most.
  • Ristolainen already held the franchise record for most overtime goals by a defenseman (4) and is tied for ninth all-time among the team’s blueliners with six game-winning goals.
  • Ristolainen’s career per-game output ranks him among the franchise’s top 15 defensemen in every major scoring category (min. 82 GP): .09 G/GP (13th), .37 A/GP (12th), .46 PTS/GP (11th)

WE LIKE EICH

  • With six assists through his first four games of the season, Jack Eichel entered play Thursday leading the NHL in assists and tied for the second-most points for the league.
  • Eichel is one goal from tying Jochen Hecht for the 19th-most goals in franchise history (138).
  • Eichel’s career per-game output ranks in the franchise’s top 15 in every major scoring category (min. 82 GP): .38 G/GP (14th), .58 A/GP (10th), .96 PTS/GP (11th)

HE’S DAHL HE’S CRACKED UP TO BE

  • Rasmus Dahlin’s career points-per-game rate (.58) currently ranks as the 18th-highest rate among active NHL defensemen with more than 10 career games played and as the fifth-best such rate in Sabres history.
  • Only six defensemen in Sabres history have had at least one season as prolific as Dahlin’s .68 points per game in his second NHL season in 2019-20: Phil Housley (8x), John Van Boxmeer (2x), Garry Galley (2x), Doug Bodger, Brian Campbell and Jerry Korab
  • The 20-year-old leads Buffalo defensemen with 21:05 of ice time per game in 2020-21.

WELCOME TO BUFFALO
The Sabres had seven new players on their opening-night roster this season:

Player, Pos. How Acquired Pronunciation Notes
Dylan Cozens, C Draft (2019) KUH-zihns Buffalo’s first-round pick (7th overall) in the 2019 NHL Draft recently earned a silver medal and was named to the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship all-star team after leading all players with eight goals in the tournament.
Cody Eakin, C Free Agency EE-kihn His 10 career shorthanded goals tie for 20th-most in the NHL since he entered the league in 2011-12.
Taylor Hall, LW Free Agency HAWL Won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s MVP in 2017-18; his 1.05 points per game in the last three seasons ranks 17th in the NHL.
Matt Irwin, D Free Agency UHR-wihn Has a career shot attempts percentage (SAT%) of 51.3 percent and has never finished a full NHL season below 50.1 percent.
Tobias Rieder, LW Free Agency REE-duhr His three shorthanded goals in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs tied an NHL postseason record; he was the seventh player ever to score three in a single postseason.
Riley Sheahan, C Free Agency SHAY-uhn His 5.42 goals against per 60 minutes on the penalty kill in 2019-20 ranked 15th-best among the top 100 NHL forwards in shorthanded ice time.
Eric Staal, C Trade (MIN) STAWL Enters the 2020-21 season ranked in the top 10 among active NHL players in career regular-season games played (7th), goals (6th) and points (8th).

 SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 1/21 games)

  • Eichel: 6 A (1st), 6 PTS (T-2nd), 3 PPP (T-6th)
  • Hall: 5 A (T-2nd), 6 PTS (T-2nd), 3 PPP (T-6th)
  • Reinhart: 1 GWG (T-3rd)
  • Ristolainen: 18 hits (T-5th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (18), Miller (8), Lazar/McCabe (7)
Blocked Shots: Montour (5), Jokiharju/McCabe/Rieder (4)
Shots: Skinner (14), Reinhart (12), Dahlin/Eichel/Montour (11)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]1-10: 1-3-0 (2), 11/12, 3/15, 4/5

OVERTIME RESULTS (0-0; 126-134 all-time)
N/A

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (0-0; 77-71 all-time)
N/A

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Linus Ullmark … 2 games … 100 career games played
Rasmus Ristolainen … 3 games … 500 career games played
Cody Eakin … 10 games … 600 career games played
Goals
Rasmus Ristolainen … 2 goals … 45 career goals (T-8th in franchise history, defensemen)
Kyle Okposo … 4 goals … 200 career goals
Points
Rasmus Ristolainen … 1 point … 229 career points (sole possession, 7th in franchise history, defensemen)
Brandon Montour … 8 points … 100 career points
Wins
Carter Hutton … 6 wins … 100 career wins

RECENT MILESTONES
N/A

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