Game Preview: 2/18/21 at Washington

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Tuesday, February 16
NY Islanders 3 at Buffalo 0
Goals: N/A
Goalie: Hutton (21 saves/23 shots)
PP: 0/2; PK: 2/2; Shots: NY Islanders 24 – Buffalo 20

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 34)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 12 games
Dylan Cozens (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 2 games
Curtis Lazar (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 2 games
Casey Mittelstadt (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 2 games
Brandon Montour (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 2 games
Rasmus Ristolainen (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 2 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
2/12: Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned F C.J. Smith from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/13: Reassigned F Steven Fogarty, F C.J. Smith and D Jacob Bryson from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/15: Recalled F Steven Fogarty, D William Borgen and D Brandon Davidson from the taxi squad; Reassigned F Rasmus Asplund and F Andrew Oglevie from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad
2/16: Recalled F Rasmus Asplund from the taxi squad; Loaned F Steven Fogarty and D Brandon Davidson to the taxi squad
2/17: Loaned F Rasmus Asplund and D William Borgen to the taxi squad; Reassigned F Steven Fogarty, F Andrew Oglevie, F C.J. Smith and D Jacob Bryson to Rochester (AHL)
2/18: Recalled D William Borgen from the taxi squad; loaned F Casey Mittelstadt to the taxi squad

UPCOMING GAMES
Saturday, Feb. 20: Buffalo at New Jersey, 12:30 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 22: Buffalo at NY Islanders, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 23: Buffalo at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 25: New Jersey at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 28: Philadelphia at Buffalo, 3 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at CAPITALS

  • This is the fifth of eight meetings between the Sabres and Capitals this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Washington 4-3 (SO) in Washington on Jan. 24
  • Next meeting: Monday, March 15 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Capitals; 1-6-3 on the road.
  • This is the 168th game all-time between Buffalo and Washington; Buffalo has a 91-54-22 series record.
  • The Sabres are 42-29-13 on the road against the Capitals all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 6-5-4 all-time on February 18.
  • February 18, 1971: Ron Anderson and Phil Goyette both contribute three points as the Sabres erase a 3-0 deficit following the first period to earn a 6-6 tie with Pittsburgh.
  • February 18, 2017: Rasmus Ristolainen records his 100th NHL point in a 3-2 win vs. St. Louis, becoming the third-youngest Sabres defenseman ever to reach that milestone.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Four of the nine games between these teams since the beginning of the 2018-19 season have gone to a shootout, including each of the last two.
  • The Sabres’ special teams are plus-8 this season, with 13 goals for and five goals against. Entering play Wednesday, they were tied with the Boston Bruins for the second-best differential in the league, trailing only the Colorado Avalanche (plus-11).
  • Victor Olofsson has recorded five points (3+2) in his last five games against Washington, including a point in both games of the series between the teams on Jan. 22 and 24 (1+1).
  • Jack Eichel has posted 10 points (3+4) in 10 games against the Capitals since the beginning of the 2017-18 season.
  • Eric Staal scored in both of the Sabres’ last two games against Washington on Jan. 22 and 24.

SEASON SERIES
Tonight’s game is the fifth of eight meetings between the Sabres and Capitals this season. The Sabres are 1-2-1 through the first four. Washington has won three of the first four games despite the Sabres having the edge in underlying 5-on-5 possession metrics:

5-on-5 Shots 5-on-5 Shot Attempts 5-on-5 Scoring Chances
Date BUF WSH BUF WSH BUF WSH
Jan. 14 19 21 35 33 16 13
Jan. 15 22 21 36 34 15 12
Jan. 22 22 25 49 42 19 12
Jan. 24 27 19 50 39 15 20
Total 90 86 170 148 65 57
Percentage 51.1% 48.9% 53.5% 46.5% 53.3% 46.7%

(All data courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com)

DRAWING ATTENTION

  • Entering play Wednesday, the Sabres ranked second in the NHL with a team faceoff percentage of 54.7 percent.
  • The Sabres were the only team whose top four faceoff takers (Jack Eichel, Eric Staal, Cody Eakin and Riley Sheahan) all had a faceoff percentage of at least 50 percent entering play Wednesday. All four Sabres are currently on pace for career-high faceoff percentages.
  • Eichel ranked seventh in in the NHL in faceoffs taken per game (20.4) and eighth in faceoffs won per game (11.0) entering play Wednesday.
  • Entering play Wednesday, Sheahan ranked seventh among all players with at least 30 faceoffs taken this season with a win percentage of 61.2 percent (52-for-85).

POWER UP

  • Buffalo entered play Wednesday with the fifth-ranked power play in the league. The team has scored on 13 of its 43 power play opportunities this season for a 30.2 percent conversion rate.
  • The Sabres have scored at least one power-play goal in six of their last seven games, going 10-for-26 (38.5%) in those contests.
  • Before Wednesday’s games, the Sabres led the NHL with nine different players with at least one goal on the power play. Their 10 players with at least one power-play point this season tied for ninth-most in the league.
  • Victor Olofsson entered play Wednesday tied for fourth in the league with four power-play goals and tied for seventh with nine power-play points. His 17 career power-play tallies trailed only David Pastrnak (22) and Leon Draisaitl (20) for the most in the league since he made his NHL debut on March 28, 2019.

KILLING IT

  • Entering play Wednesday, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 5:15 of penalty time per game. At plus-16 (46 drawn/30 taken), the Sabres also had the best penalty differential in the league.
  • The Sabres have killed 16 of their last 18 penalties to improve to 81.5 percent on the penalty kill this season, ranking 11th in the NHL before Wednesday’s games.
  • Through 12 games, Buffalo has allowed just five power-play goals. Entering play Wednesday, the team ranked third in the NHL with .42 power-play goals against per game.

EVEN-STRENGTH IMPROVEMENT
The Sabres have seen a positive trend at even strength through the team’s first 12 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 as of 2/17)
SF% CF% SCF% HDCF% xGF%
2019-20 48.13 (23rd) 49.13 (19th) 48.73 (20th) 48.19 (25th) 47.56 (25th)
2020-21 49.09 (19th) 50.81 (12th) 50.73 (15th) 54.26 (7th) 51.38 (14th)

BRICK WALL

  • Linus Ullmark stopped all three shooters in Buffalo’s last shootout on Jan. 30 vs. New Jersey to improve to 2-1 with nine saves on 10 attempts this season.
  • Ullmark is 6-3 in shootouts in his career with 30 saves on 35 career shots faced (.857). His six career shootout wins rank him third in franchise history behind Ryan Miller (49) and Jhonas Enroth (10).
  • Entering play Wednesday, Ullmark’s shootout save percentage of .857 ranked second all-time among NHL goaltenders with at least 20 shots faced and first among active NHL goalies.

STAAL-TIME LEADERS

  • Eric Staal scored his 439th career goal on Jan. 30 vs. New Jersey to pass Gary Roberts and improve to 68th on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list. His next goal will tie Rick Tocchet for 67th.
  • Among active players, Staal’s total of 439 career regular-season goals trails only Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Marleau, and Sidney Crosby.
  • The goal was Staal’s 1,026th career point, breaking a tie with Patrik Elias for 82nd-most in NHL history. He is two points behind Brian Leetch for 81st.

WE LIKE EICH

  • Jack Eichel’s goal on Jan. 28 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), .95 PTS/GP (11th)

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 one goal 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 11 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)

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 2/17 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 55.7% FOW% (2nd), 30.2% PP% (5th)
  • Olofsson: 4 PPG (T-4th), 9 PPP (T-7th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (35), Lazar (25), Miller (23)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (13), Ristolainen (13), Miller/Montour (12)
Shots: Eichel (42), Olofsson (36), Dahlin (34)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK] 1-10: 4-4-2 (10), 30/32, 12/39, 19/23
11-20: 0-2-0 (0), 1/6, 1/4, 3/4

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

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (2-1; 79-72 all-time)
Jan. 22 at.WSH: L, 4-3 (GDG-Carlson)
Jan. 24 at WSH: W, 4-3 (GDG-Eichel)
Jan. 30 vs. NJD: W, 4-3 (GDG-Eichel)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Cody Eakin … 2 games … 600 career games played
Curtis Lazar … 6 games … 300 career games played
Goals
Rasmus Ristolainen … 1 goal … 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 … 7 points … 100 career points
Wins
Carter Hutton … 6 wins … 100 career wins

RECENT MILESTONES
N/A

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