Game Preview: 1/24/21 at Washington

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Friday, January 22
Buffalo 3 at Washington 4 (SO)
Goals: Staal, Cozens, Sheahan
Goalie: Ullmark (29 saves/32 shots)
PP: 0/2; PK: 1/1; Shots: Washington 32 – Buffalo 27

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 11)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 5 games
Kyle Okposo (lower body, Jan. 14) – 5 games
Carter Hutton (upper body, Jan. 22) – 1 game

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
1/24: Recalled F Casey Mittelstadt from taxi squad; Activated F Kyle Okposo from IR; Loaned F Dylan Cozens to taxi squad

UPCOMING GAMES
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.
Tuesday, Feb. 2: Buffalo at NY Islanders, 6 p.m.

TODAY’S GAME
SABRES at CAPITALS

  • This is the fourth of eight meetings between the Sabres and Capitals this season.
  • Last meeting: Washington defeated Buffalo 4-3 (SO) in Washington on Jan. 22
  • Next meeting: Thursday, Feb. 11 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Capitals; 1-6-3 on the road.
  • This is the 167th game all-time between Buffalo and Washington; Buffalo has a 90-54-22 series record.
  • The Sabres are 41-29-13 on the road against the Capitals all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 11-8-0 all-time on January 24.
  • January 24, 1978: The Sabres host the NHL All-Star game at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. Sabres forward Rick Martin scores to tie the game late in the third period and Gilbert Perreault scores the game-winning goal in overtime.
  • January 24, 1981: Twelve Sabres get on the scoresheet, led by Danny Gare’s two-goal night, as the Sabres defeat the Capitals 7-4 in Washington.
  • January 24, 2017: Jack Eichel beats Juuse Saros in overtime to earn a 5-4 win at Nashville, giving the Sabres three straight overtime wins.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Today’s game will be broadcast on ESPN 1520 in Buffalo due to Buffalo Bills coverage on WGR 550.
  • If he plays, today will be Linus Ullmark’s 100th NHL game. He would become the 15th goaltender to appear in at least 100 regular-season games for the Sabres. With a win, he would tie Robin Lehner for the 12th-most wins in franchise history (42).
  • Eric Staal, Dylan Cozens and Riley Sheahan all scored their first goals as Sabres on Friday at Washington. They were the second trio of Sabres ever to score their first goals for the team in the same game, joining Dave Andreychuk, Paul Cyr and Hannu Virta (Oct. 6, 1982 vs. Quebec).
  • Taylor Hall has recorded nine points (3+6) in his last nine meetings with the Capitals.
  • Jack Eichel has posted nine points (3+6) in nine games against the Capitals since the beginning of the 2017-18 season.
  • Rasmus Dahlin has recorded four points (1+3) in four career road games in Washington.

GOOD DAY FOR A MATINEE

  • Today’s game is the first of 11 afternoon games for the Sabres this season.
  • Buffalo went 7-2-2 in afternoon games during the 2019-20 season, including a 6-2-0 record at home and a 1-0-2 mark on the road.

YOU AGAIN?

  • The Capitals have won the first three games in the season series against the Sabres despite Buffalo outchancing* them by a 65-46 margin (50-37 at 5-on-5) in those games. The Sabres have had a high-danger scoring chance advantage of 29-17 (23-13 at 5-on-5) in the season series.
  • A total of 26 players (13 on each team) have recorded at least a point in the first three games between these teams this season. Each team has had eight different goal-scorers.
  • Of players with at least 20 minutes of ice time in the season series, eight Sabres (Jake McCabe, Rasmus Ristolainen, Colin Miller, Sam Reinhart, Taylor Hall, Jack Eichel, Riley Sheahan, Tobias Rieder) have matched or bettered the top Capitals player (Alex Ovechkin) in terms of shot attempts percentage at even strength.
    • All but Reinhart, Hall and Eichel did so despite having offensive zone start percentages below 50 percent in the series.
  • McCabe (62.7% SAT%) and Ristolainen (61.7%), in particular, have had success at even strength against Washington. With the pair on the ice together, the Sabres have outchanced* the Capitals 23-5 and outscored them 6-1 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

ONE BUFFALO

  • The Sabres and the Buffalo Bills are playing on the same day for the only time this season after doing so six times last season. The Sabres were 4-2-0 in those six games.
  • The teams have previously played on the same date 244 times, with both teams winning their respective games on 61 of those days.
  • The Sabres are 131-77-36 all-time when playing on a Bills game day.
  • Of the 244 days on which both teams have played, 20 have been Bills playoff game days, including the AFC Championship games in 1992 and 1993. The Sabres are 11-8-1 on Bills playoff game days.
  • The last time the Sabres and Bills both won on the same date was Nov. 24, 2019.

DOMINANT DEFENSE

  • Entering play Saturday, Jake McCabe (14th, 59.7%) and Rasmus Ristolainen (20th, 57.7%) rank among the league’s top 20 defensemen in shot attempts percentage (min. 30 minutes played).
  • According to NaturalStatTrick.com, McCabe and Ristolainen have the sixth-best possession numbers among NHL pairs who have played at least 30 minutes together this season. They have a SAT% of 59.8 percent when skating together during 5-on-5 play despite an offensive zone start rate (36.7%) that ranks as the 15th-toughest among the 79 qualifying pairs.

RISTO’S RECORDS

  • With his goal on Jan. 15 vs. Washington, 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 five games of the season, Jack Eichel entered play Saturday tied for the NHL lead in assists.
  • 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), .57 A/GP (10th), .96 PTS/GP (11th)

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 Entering play in 2020-21, his 10 career shorthanded goals tied 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 Entered 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 1/23 games)

  • Eichel: 6 A (T-1st)
  • Hall: 5 A (T-5th)
  • Reinhart: 1 GWG (T-4th)
  • Ristolainen: 23 hits (T-5th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (23), Lazar (10), Miller (10)
Blocked Shots: Jokiharju (6), Eichel/Montour/Rieder (5)
Shots: Eichel (15), Skinner (15), Dahlin/Montour/Olofsson (13)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK] 1-10: 1-3-1 (3), 14/16, 3/17, 5/6

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

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (0-1; 77-72 all-time)
Jan. 22 at.WSH: L, 4-3 (GDG-Carlson)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Linus Ullmark … 1 game … 100 career games played
Rasmus Ristolainen … 2 games … 500 career games played
Cody Eakin … 9 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
Dylan Cozens … 1st NHL goal … Jan. 22 at WSH

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