Game Preview: 1/26/21 vs. NY Rangers

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Sunday, January 24
Buffalo 4 at Washington 3 (SO)
Goals: Miller, Olofsson, Staal
Goalie: Ullmark (28 saves/31 shots)
PP: 3/5; PK: 1/3; Shots: Buffalo 48 – Washington 31

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 13)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 6 games
Carter Hutton (upper body, Jan. 22) – 2 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
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 the taxi squad; Activated F Kyle Okposo from IR; Loaned F Dylan Cozens to the taxi squad
1/25: Loaned G Jonas Johansson to the taxi squad; Reassigned F Rasmus Asplund and G Dustin Tokarski from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
1/26: Recalled F Dylan Cozens from the taxi squad; Loaned F Casey Mittelstadt to the taxi squad

UPCOMING GAMES
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.
Thursday, Feb. 4: Buffalo at NY Islanders, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
RANGERS at SABRES

  • This is the first of eight meetings between the Sabres and Rangers this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated New York 3-2 in New York on Feb. 7, 2020.
  • Next meeting: Thursday, Jan. 28 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Rangers; 2-6-2 at home.
  • This is the 186th game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo has an 83-67-35 series record.
  • The Sabres are 49-29-15 at home against the Rangers all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 7-10-1 all-time on January 26.
  • January 26, 1983: The Sabres get a goal from seven different players in a 7-3 win at home against the Montreal Canadiens.
  • January 26, 2006: Seven different Sabres score, led by Thomas Vanek’s two-goal night, in Buffalo’s 8-4 win at Toronto.
  • January 26, 2016: Jack Eichel scores twice and Robin Lehner records 34 saves and his second career assist in his return to Ottawa as the Sabres top the Senators 3-2.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • With a victory tonight, the Sabres would have wins in consecutive matchups with the Rangers for the first time since they won three in a row from April 2, 2016 to Jan. 3, 2017.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen is expected to play in his 500th NHL game tonight. He will become the 31st player to appear in 500 games for the Sabres and the first to do so since Drew Stafford played his 500th game with the team on March 11, 2014 vs. Nashville.
  • Kyle Okposo has scored at a point-per-game pace in his last 21 games against the Rangers (5+16) dating back to Dec. 20, 2013.
  • Eric Staal has totaled 11 points (5+6) in his eight games against the Rangers since the beginning of the 2016-17 season.
  • Taylor Hall has recorded 12 points (6+6) in 12 games against the Rangers dating back to the beginning of the 2015-16 season, including two four-point games during that span.
  • Colin Miller has five assists in his last six games against the Rangers.

LAST TIME OUT

  • The Sabres defeated the Washington Capitals 4-3 in a shootout at Capital One Arena to improve to 2-1-1 on the road in 2020-21.
  • Linus Ullmark became the 15th goaltender to appear in at least 100 regular-season games for the Sabres, and tied Robin Lehner for the 12th-most wins in franchise history (42). With his next win, he’ll tie Dave Dryden for 11th-most.
    • Ullmark stopped all three Washington shooters in the shootout. He is now 5-3 in his career in shootouts with an .844 save percentage (27-for-32) that ranks fifth all-time among NHL goaltenders with at least 10 career shots faced.
  • Eric Staal scored for the second consecutive game and is now seeking his first three-game goal-scoring streak since Dec. 12 to 15, 2019.
  • Victor Olofsson scored his 15th career power-play goal. Entering play Monday, his 15 goals with the man-advantage tie for fifth-most in the NHL since he made his debut on March 28, 2019.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen recorded two assists for his 36th career multi-point game. The Sabres are 25-5-6 in those games.
  • Jack Eichel notched his second career game-deciding goal in the shootout.

TRUST THE PROCESS

  • According to NaturalStatTrick.com, the Sabres rank near the top of the league at 5-on-5 in several underlying statistical categories that are typically predictive of success:
    • Corsi percentage: 53.7% (6th)
    • High-danger chance percentage: 64.2% (3rd)
    • Expected goals percentage: 57.7% (2nd)
  • Through their first six games, the Sabres have led their opponents at 5-on-5 in each of these categories in every game except when they were out-attempted 51-49 by the Flyers in Buffalo’s 6-1 win on Jan. 18.

OUT OF THE BOX

  • Entering play Monday, the Sabres have been the least-penalized team in the NHL at 4:10 penalty minutes per game.
  • The Sabres (plus-13) and the Rangers (plus-9) have the top two penalty differentials in the league entering Monday’s games.

DOMINANT DEFENSE

  • Entering play Monday, Jake McCabe (9th, 60.1%) and Rasmus Ristolainen (26th, 57.4%) rank among the league’s top 30 defensemen in corsi percentage (min. 30 minutes played).
  • According to NaturalStatTrick.com, McCabe and Ristolainen have the 10th-best possession numbers among NHL pairs who have played at least 30 minutes together this season. They have a CF% of 58.6 percent when skating together during 5-on-5 play despite an offensive zone start rate (35.2%) that ranks as the 15th-toughest among the 96 qualifying pairs.
  • Entering play Monday, only Edmonton’s Ethan Bear and Darnell Nurse (8 GF) have been on the ice for more even strength goals as a pair than McCabe and Ristolainen’s seven goals.

RISTO’S RECORDS

  • With his goal on Jan. 15 vs. Washington, Rasmus Ristolainen 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.
  • Ristolainen’s first assist on Jan. 24 at Washington moved him past Jim Schoenfeld for the seventh-most career points recorded by a Sabres defenseman. He now trails Bill Hajt by 14 points for sixth-most.
  • Ristolainen holds 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 seven assists through his first six games of the season, Jack Eichel entered play Monday ranked second in the NHL 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), .58 A/GP (10th), .96 PTS/GP (11th)

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 1/25 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres:7% CF% (6th)
  • Eichel: 7 A (2nd), 23 S (T-10th)
  • Reinhart: 1 GWG (T-7th)
  • Ristolainen: 25 hits (T-6th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (25), Lazar (12), Miller (11)
Blocked Shots: Montour (9), Jokiharju (7), Eichel/McCabe/Rieder/Ristolainen (5)
Shots: Eichel (23), Dahlin (19), Hall (19)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK] 1-10: 2-3-1 (5), 18/19, 6/22, 6/9

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

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (1-1; 78-72 all-time)
Jan. 22 at.WSH: L, 4-3 (GDG-Carlson)
Jan. 24 at WSH: W, 4-3 (GDG-Eichel)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Rasmus Ristolainen … 1 game … 500 career games played
Cody Eakin … 8 games … 600 career games played
Curtis Lazar … 10 games … 300 career games played
Goals
Rasmus Ristolainen … 2 goals … 45 career goals (T-8th in franchise history, defensemen)
Kyle Okposo … 4 goals … 200 career goals
Assists
Riley Sheahan … 1 assist … 100 career assists
Points
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
Linus Ullmark … 100th NHL game … Jan. 24 at WSH
Rasmus Ristolainen … 229 NHL points (sole possession, 7th in franchise history, defensemen) … Jan. 24 at WSH

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