Game Preview: 1/30/21 vs. New Jersey

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Thursday, January 28
NY Rangers 3 at Buffalo 2 (OT)
Goals: Eichel, Reinhart
Goalie: Ullmark (36 saves/39 shots)
PP: 1/4; PK: 3/3; Shots: NY Rangers 39 – Buffalo 25

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 17)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 8 games
Henri Jokiharju (undisclosed, Jan. 26) – 2 games

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
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.
Monday, Feb. 8: Buffalo at Boston, 7 p.m.

TODAY’S GAME
DEVILS at SABRES

  • This is the first of eight meetings between the Sabres and Devils this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated New Jersey 7-1 in Buffalo on Dec. 2, 2019
  • Next meeting: Saturday, Jan. 31 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Devils; 4-5-1 at home.
  • This is the 160th game all-time between Buffalo and New Jersey; Buffalo has a 78-55-26 series record.
  • The Sabres are 43-27-11 at home against the Devils all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 10-7-3 all-time on January 30.
  • January 30, 2007: Daniel Briere scores his second of two hat tricks as a member of the Sabres as the Sabres defeat the Bruins 7-1 in Buffalo.
  • January 30, 2008: Ryan Miller stops all 32 Florida shots and Thomas Vanek scores the lone Buffalo goal as the Sabres defeat the Panthers 1-0 in Florida.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres won both meetings with the Devils last season. They scored seven goals in each game, both of which took place in Buffalo.
  • The home team has won the last five meetings between these teams. Since the Devils’ last win at KeyBank Center on Jan. 30, 2018, the Sabres have won three straight games at home against New Jersey, outscoring them 19-4 in those contests.
  • A victory today would give the Sabres wins in three consecutive matchups with the Devils for the first time since Oct. 23, 2010 to March 26, 2011.
  • Entering play Friday, only Edmonton’s Ethan Bear and Darnell Nurse (8 GF) have been on the ice for more 5-on-5 goals as a pair than Jake McCabe and Rasmus Ristolainen’s seven goals.

HOT AGAINST NEW JERSEY

  • Jack Eichel has recorded 12 points (6+6) in his 11 career games against the Devils, including three points (1+2) in each of his last two meetings.
  • Rasmus Dahlin has totaled five assists in four career games against New Jersey.
  • Taylor Hall has posted seven points (3+4) in seven career games against the Devils.
  • Jeff Skinner has totaled 10 points (6+4) in his last 10 matchups with New Jersey, including two points (1+1) in both meetings last season.
  • Victor Olofsson has tallied two points in both of his career meetings with the Devils, totaling four points (3+1) in those games.
  • Sam Reinhart has scored four goals and recorded 14 shots in his last four games against New Jersey, scoring at least a goal in three of those contests.
  • Jake McCabe has points in five of his last six games against the Devils (2+3), including a point in four straight matchups in Buffalo dating back to Jan. 30, 2018.

GOOD DAY FOR A MATINEE

  • Today’s game is the second of 11 afternoon games for the Sabres this season. They won the first one on Jan. 14 at Washington.
  • 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.

BACK-TO-BACK
Tonight’s game opens Buffalo’s third of eight sets of back-to-back games this season, which continues tomorrow afternoon vs. New Jersey. The Sabres are 1-1-0 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 0-2-0 in the second game so far this season. Buffalo’s point breakdown in previous back-to-back sets is: four points (0), three points (0), two points (1), one point (0) and zero points (1).

EVEN-STRENGTH IMPROVEMENT
The Sabres have seen a positive trend at even strength through the team’s first eight games of the season. So far, Buffalo’s 5-on-5 numbers have improved on the team’s per-60 rates from last season in several meaningful categories, including shot differential, shot attempt differential, scoring chance differential, high-danger scoring chance differential and expected goal differential.

Buffalo Sabres at 5-on-5 (via NaturalStatTrick.com)

SF% CF% SCF% HDCF% xGF%
2019-20 48.13 (23rd) 49.13 (19th) 48.73 (20th) 48.19 (25th) 47.56 (25th)
2020-21 51.22 (12th) 52.08 (13th) 53.76 (10th) 61.11 (4th) 55.39 (6th)

Through eight games this season, the team has led its opponent at 5-on-5 in…

  • shots: four times
  • shot attempts: six times
  • scoring chances: six times
  • high-danger scoring chances: seven times
  • expected goals: seven times

POWER UP

  • Buffalo enters play Friday with the ninth-ranked power play in the league. The team has scored on nine of its 30 power play opportunities this season for a 30.0 percent conversion rate.
  • Entering play Friday, the Sabres tied for the league lead with seven different players with at least one goal on the power play, led by Victor Olofsson and Sam Reinhart (two power-play goals each).
  • The Sabres have 10 players with at least one power-play point this season, tying for third-most in the league before Friday’s games.

OUT OF THE BOX

  • Entering play Friday, the Sabres have been the least-penalized team in the NHL at 4:52 of penalty time per game.
  • At plus-15 (33 drawn/18 taken), the Sabres have the best penalty differential in the league entering Friday games.

BRICK WALL

  • Linus Ullmark stopped all three Washington shooters on Jan. 24 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).
  • Entering play Friday, 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 (14th), .38 A/GP (12th), .46 PTS/GP (11th)

WE LIKE EICH

  • With seven assists through his first eight games of the season, Jack Eichel entered play Friday tied for ninth in the NHL in assists.
  • Eichel’s goal on Thursday vs. NY Rangers moved him past Jochen Hecht for sole possession of the 19th-most goals in franchise history (139). He now trails Drew Stafford by six 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 1/29 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres:0% FOW% (3rd), 30.0% PP% (9th), 32.3 S/GP (9th)
  • Eichel: 7 A (T-9th), 5 PPP (T-9th)
  • Ristolainen: 29 hits (9th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (29), Lazar (18), Miller (14)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (11), Ristolainen (10), Montour (9)
Shots: Eichel (29), Dahlin (25), Hall (25)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10: 3-3-2 (8), 23/24, 9/30, 12/15

OVERTIME RESULTS (0-1; 126-135 all-time)
Jan. 28 vs. NYR: L, 3-2 (GDG-Lafrenière)

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 … 6 games … 600 career games played
Curtis Lazar … 8 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
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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