Game Preview: 2/20/21 at New Jersey

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Thursday, February 18
Buffalo 1 at Washington 3
Goals: Olofsson
Goalie: Ullmark (18 saves/21 shots)
PP: 1/2; PK: 0/1; Shots: Buffalo 23 – Washington 21

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 38)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 13 games
Dylan Cozens (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 3 games
Casey Mittelstadt (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 3 games
Rasmus Ristolainen (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 3 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
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
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.
Tuesday, March 2: Buffalo at NY Rangers, 7 p.m.

TODAY’S GAME
SABRES at DEVILS

  • This is the third of eight meetings between the Sabres and Devils this season.
  • Last meeting: New Jersey defeated Buffalo 5-3 in Buffalo on Jan. 31
  • Next meeting: Tuesday, Feb. 23 in New Jersey
  • The Sabres are 5-5-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Devils; 2-5-3 on the road.
  • This is the 162nd game all-time between Buffalo and New Jersey; Buffalo has a 79-56-26 series record.
  • The Sabres are 35-28-15 on the road against the Devils all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 6-8-3 all-time on February 20.
  • February 20, 1971: Gerry Meehan scores the third hat trick in franchise history in a 6-5 road loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
  • February 20, 1987: Doug Smith and Phil Housley score twice each as the Sabres chase John Vanbiesbrouck on the way to a 6-3 road win against the New York Rangers.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Cody Eakin is expected to play in his 600th NHL game tonight.
  • Jack Eichel has recorded 14 points (6+8) in his 13 career games against the Devils.
  • Rasmus Dahlin has totaled seven points (1+6) in six career games against New Jersey.
  • Taylor Hall has posted nine points (3+6) in nine career games against the Devils.
  • Victor Olofsson has recorded seven points (4+3) in four career games against the Devils.
  • 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.
  • The Sabres’ special teams are plus-7 this season, with 14 goals for and seven goals against. Entering play Friday, they were tied with the Los Angeles Kings for the fourth-best differential in the league.

GOOD DAY FOR A MATINEE

  • Today’s game is the fourth of 14 afternoon games for the Sabres this season. They are 2-1-0 in the first three.
  • 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.

DRAWING ATTENTION

  • Entering play Friday, the Sabres ranked third in the NHL with a team faceoff percentage of 54.4 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 Friday. All four Sabres are currently on pace for career-high faceoff percentages.
  • Eichel ranked seventh in in the NHL in faceoffs taken per game (20.3) and eighth in faceoffs won per game (10.8) entering play Friday.
  • Entering play Friday, Sheahan ranked fifth among all players with at least 30 faceoffs taken this season with a win percentage of 62.1 percent (54-for-87).

POWER UP

  • Buffalo entered play Friday with the fifth-ranked power play in the league. The team has scored on 14 of its 45 power play opportunities this season for a 31.1 percent conversion rate.
  • The Sabres have scored at least one power-play goal in seven of their last eight games, going 11-for-28 (39.3%) in those contests.
  • Before Friday’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 Friday tied for second in the league with five power-play goals and tied for fourth with 10 power-play points. His 18 career power-play tallies trailed only David Pastrnak (23) and Leon Draisaitl (21) for the most in the league since he made his NHL debut on March 28, 2019.

OUT OF THE BOX

  • Entering play Friday, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 5:00 of penalty time per game.
  • At plus-17 (48 drawn/31 taken), the Sabres also had the best penalty differential in the league.

EVEN-STRENGTH IMPROVEMENT
The Sabres have seen a positive trend at even strength through the team’s first 13 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 2/19)
SF% CF% SCF% HDCF% xGF%
2019-20 48.13 (23rd) 49.13 (19th) 48.73 (20th) 48.19 (25th) 47.56 (25th)
2020-21 49.49 (17th) 50.66 (14th) 50.22 (17th) 54.73 (7th) 51.51 (13th)

 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 (15th), .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 2/19 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 54.4% FOW% (3rd), 31.1% PP% (5th)
  • Olofsson: 5 PPG (T-2nd), 10 PPP (T-4th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (35), Lazar (26), Miller (25)
Blocked Shots: Miller (14), McCabe (13), Ristolainen (13)
Shots: Eichel (44), Olofsson (37), Dahlin (35)

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: 0-3-0 (0), 2/9, 2/6, 3/5

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 … 1 game … 600 career games played
Curtis Lazar … 5 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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