Game Preview: 1/28/21 vs. NY Rangers

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Tuesday, January 26
NY Rangers 2 at Buffalo 3
Goals: Cozens, Rieder, Eichel
Goalie: Ullmark (28 saves/30 shots)
PP: 2/4; PK: 3/3; Shots: NY Rangers 30 – Buffalo 24

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 15)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 7 games
Henri Jokiharju (undisclosed, Jan. 26) – 1 game

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
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
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.
Saturday, Feb. 6: Buffalo at Boston, 7:30 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
RANGERS at SABRES

  • This is the second of eight meetings between the Sabres and Rangers this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated New York 3-2 in Buffalo on Jan. 26.
  • Next meeting: Tuesday, March 2 in New York
  • The Sabres are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Rangers; 3-5-2 at home.
  • This is the 187th game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo has an 84-67-35 series record.
  • The Sabres are 50-29-15 at home against the Rangers all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 3-7-5 all-time on January 28.
  • January 28, 1983: The Sabres get goals from six different players (Andre Savard, Ric Seiling, Mike Foligno, Larry Playfair, Phil Housley and Gilles Hamel) as they defeat the Blackhawks 6-2 at the Aud.
  • January 28, 2000: Martin Biron turns aside 21 shots and James Patrick scores the game-winner as the Sabres earn a 1-0 victory vs. Ottawa.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Tuesday’s win improved the Sabres’ home record against New York to 50-29-15 all-time. The Rangers became the fifth opponent that the Sabres have earned at least 50 home wins against.
  • With a victory tonight, the Sabres would have wins in three consecutive matchups with the Rangers for the first time since April 2, 2016 to Jan. 3, 2017. They would also have wins in consecutive home games against the Rangers for the first time since Jan. 9 and Feb. 21, 2009.
  • Kyle Okposo has scored at a point-per-game pace in his last 15 games against the Rangers (3+12) dating back to Dec. 2, 2015.
  • Eric Staal has totaled 12 points (5+7) in his nine games against the Rangers since the beginning of the 2016-17 season.
  • Carter Hutton is 5-2-0 in his career against New York with a .932 save percentage and a 2.16 goals-against average. Another win against the Rangers would tie his six wins against the San Jose Sharks as his highest win total against any team.

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: 53.4% (8th)
    • High-danger chance percentage: 64.3% (3rd)
    • Expected goals percentage: 57.4% (4th)
  • Through their first seven 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.

POWER UP

  • Buffalo enters play Wednesday with the eighth-ranked power play in the league. The team has scored on eight of its 26 power play opportunities this season for a 30.8 percent conversion rate.
  • By going 3-for-5 on the power play on Sunday at Washington and 2-for-4 on Tuesday vs. NY Rangers, the Sabres scored five power-play goals in a two-game span for the first time since Oct. 5 and 7, 2019.
  • Entering play Wednesday, the Sabres have had a league-high seven different players score at least one goal on the power play, led by Victor Olofsson’s two power-play tallies.
  • Jack Eichel enters play Wednesday tied for second in the league with a team-leading five power-play points (1+4).
  • The Sabres have 10 players with at least one power-play point this season, tying for second-most in the league before Wednesday’s games.

OUT OF THE BOX

  • Entering play Wednesday, the Sabres have been the least-penalized team in the NHL at 4:25 of penalty time per game.
  • At plus-14 (28 drawn/14 taken), the Sabres have the top penalty differential in the league entering Wednesday’s games.

DOMINANT DEFENSE

  • Entering play Wednesday, Jake McCabe (8th, 59.5%) and Rasmus Ristolainen (26th, 57.1%) rank among the league’s top 30 defensemen in corsi percentage (min. 30 minutes played).
  • According to NaturalStatTrick.com, McCabe and Ristolainen have the 11th-best possession numbers among NHL pairs who have played at least 30 minutes together this season. They have a CF% of 58.0 percent when skating together during 5-on-5 play despite an offensive zone start rate (38.6%) that ranks as the 21st-toughest among the 106 qualifying pairs.
  • Entering play Wednesday, 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.

BRICK WALL

  • Linus Ullmark stopped all three Washington shooters on Sunday to improve to 5-3 in shootouts in his career with 27 saves on 32 career shots faced (.844). His five career shootout wins rank him third in franchise history behind Ryan Miller (49) and Jhonas Enroth (10).
  • Ullmark’s shootout save percentage of .844 ranks fourth all-time among NHL goaltenders with at least 20 shots faced. Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy (.852) is the only qualifying active goaltender with a better career save percentage in the shootout.

RISTO IN THE RECORD BOOK

  • 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 currently trails Bill Hajt by 13 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), .38 A/GP (12th), .46 PTS/GP (11th)

WE LIKE EICH

  • With seven assists through his first seven games of the season, Jack Eichel entered play Wednesday tied for fourth in the NHL in assists.
  • Eichel’s goal on Tuesday vs. NY Rangers tied him with Jochen Hecht for the 19th-most goals in franchise history (138). He now trails Drew Stafford by seven goals for 18th.
  • 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)

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 1/27 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres:3 S/GP (3rd), 55.3% FOW% (4th), 53.4% CF% (8th), 30.8% PP% (8th), 27.7 SA/GP (10th)
  • Eichel: 5 PPP (T-2nd), 7 A (T-4th), 1 GWG (T-9th)
  • Olofsson: 2 PPG (T-7th)
  • Reinhart: 1 GWG (T-9th)
  • Ristolainen: 26 hits (T-7th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (26), Lazar (15), Miller (13)
Blocked Shots: Montour (9), Ristolainen (8), Jokiharju (7)
Shots: Eichel (26), Dahlin (23), Hall (22)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK] 1-10: 3-3-1 (7), 21/21, 8/26, 9/12

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
Cody Eakin … 7 games … 600 career games played
Curtis Lazar … 9 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
Rasmus Ristolainen … 500th NHL game … Jan. 26 vs. NYR

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