Game Preview: 2/25/21 vs. New Jersey

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Tuesday, February 23
Buffalo 4 at New Jersey 1
Goals: Olofsson, Asplund, Cozens, Eakin
Goalie: Ullmark (41 saves/42 shots)
PP: 1/2; PK: 2/2; Shots: New Jersey 42 – Buffalo 37

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 48)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 16 games
Rasmus Ristolainen (COVID-19, Feb. 15) – 6 games
William Borgen (forearm, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 2 games
Jake McCabe (knee, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 2 games
Tobias Rieder (upper body, Feb. 23) – 1 game

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
2/21: Reassigned D Jacob Bryson and D Casey Fitzgerald from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad
2/22: Recalled F Casey Mittelstadt and D Brandon Davidson from the taxi squad
2/23: Recalled F Rasmus Asplund and D Jacob Bryson from the taxi squad; Reassigned D Brandon Davidson to the taxi squad; Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad
2/24: Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski to Rochester (AHL)

UPCOMING GAMES
Saturday, Feb. 27: Philadelphia at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 28: Philadelphia at Buffalo, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, March 2: Buffalo at NY Rangers, 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 4: Buffalo at NY Islanders, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 6: Buffalo at NY Islanders, 1 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
DEVILS at SABRES

  • This is the fifth of eight meetings between the Sabres and Devils this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated New Jersey 4-1 in New Jersey on Feb. 23
  • Next meeting: Tuesday, March 16 in New Jersey
  • The Sabres are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Devils; 4-5-1 at home.
  • This is the 164th game all-time between Buffalo and New Jersey; Buffalo has an 81-56-26 series record.
  • The Sabres are 44-28-11 at home against the Devils all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 12-9-3 all-time on February 25.
  • February 25, 1978: The Sabres and Cleveland Barons combine for 16 goals as the Sabres pick up a 13-3 road victory. Danny Gare tallies five points (3+2) and Andre Savard, Jerry Korab and Gary McAdam each score two goals in the game.
  • February 25, 1998: Dominik Hasek makes 33 saves in his return from Olympic action and Geoff Sanderson scores just 1:22 into his Sabres debut as the Sabres battle to a 2-2 tie at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres are 5-1-0 in their last six games against the Devils, outscoring New Jersey 28-14 in those contests.
  • The home team had won six straight games between these teams before the road team won the three most recent games in the series.
  • With a win tonight, the Sabres would have five wins in their last six home games against the Devils. It would be first time they will have won five of six home games against the franchise since they went 5-0-1 from their last home game against the Colorado Rockies through the first five visits by the newly relocated New Jersey Devils from Feb. 21, 1982 to March 9, 1986.
  • The Sabres’ special teams are plus-8 this season, with 17 goals for and nine goals against. Entering play Wednesday, they were tied for the third-best differential in the league.

HOT AGAINST NEW JERSEY

  • Seven different Sabres have played at a point-per-game pace through the first four meetings of the season between these teams: Rasmus Asplund (1+0, 1 GP), Rasmus Dahlin (1+3, 4 GP), Jack Eichel (0+4, 4 GP), Taylor Hall (0+4, 4 GP), Victor Olofsson (2+2, 4 GP), Sam Reinhart (2+2, 2 GP) and Rasmus Ristolainen (1+1, 2 GP).
  • Reinhart has recorded eight points (6+2) and 19 shots in his last six games against New Jersey, scoring at least one goal in four of those contests.
  • Eichel has recorded 16 points (6+10) in his 15 career games against the Devils.
  • Dahlin has totaled nine points (1+8) in eight career games against New Jersey.
  • Hall has posted 11 points (3+8) in 11 career games against the Devils.
  • Olofsson has recorded eight points (5+3) in six career games against the Devils.

LAST TIME OUT

  • The Sabres and Devils met in New Jersey two nights ago, with Buffalo earning a 4-1 win to improve to 3-1-0 this season against New Jersey.
  • The teams combined for 79 shots on goal, tying as the highest total in a Sabres game this season. It was the third-most shots ever recorded in the 163 regular-season games between the Sabres and Devils franchises, and the most since the teams totaled 82 shots on Jan. 15, 1992.
  • The 74 saves made by Linus Ullmark (41) and Mackenzie Blackwood (33) tied the total made by Dominik Hasek (37) and Martin Brodeur (37) in a 0-0 tie on Dec. 23, 1996 as the second-most combined saves in the history of the series during the regular season. The record of 77 was set by Denis Herron (50), Roger Crozier (16) and Gary Bromley (11) in Buffalo’s 8-1 win over the Kansas City Scouts on Feb. 2, 1975.
  • With the win, Ullmark improved to 10-3-3 in his career when facing at least 40 shots, including two wins against the Devils.
  • Sam Reinhart recorded two assists to extend his point streak to four games (3+3). The Sabres are now 44-7-9 (.808) in Reinhart’s career when he records at least two points.
  • Rasmus Dahlin led the Sabres with 23:31 of ice time and recorded an assist to extend his point streak to three games (0+3).
  • Jacob Bryson made his NHL debut, skating 17:59 and recording a plus-2 rating.
  • Cody Eakin scored into the empty net at 19:59 of the third period to notch his first goal as a member of the Sabres.

HOME-AND-HOME

  • Tonight’s game wraps up Buffalo’s first of two home-and-home sets this season (both against the Devils) after a 4-1 win on Tuesday in New Jersey.
  • The Sabres have played in 167 previous home-and-home series in franchise history, going 94-50-23 (.632) in the home games and 57-80-30 (.431) in the road games in previous series.
  • The team is 72-66-29 (.518) all-time in the first game of these previous series and 79-64-24 (.545) in the second.
  • Buffalo’s points breakdown in these previous series is as follows: four points (32), three points (25), two points (67), one point (17), zero points (26).
  • With a win tonight, the Sabres would have their first home-and-home sweep since winning both games against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 19 and 22, 2019.

DRAWING ATTENTION

  • Entering play Wednesday, the Sabres ranked third in the NHL with a team faceoff percentage of 53.8 percent.
  • The Sabres joined Anaheim, Nashville and NY Islanders as the only teams 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 eighth in in the NHL in faceoffs taken per game (19.5) and 12th in faceoffs won per game (9.9) entering play Wednesday.
  • Entering play Wednesday, Sheahan ranked sixth among all players with at least 50 faceoffs taken this season with a win percentage of 60.2 percent (59-for-98).

POWER UP

  • Buffalo entered play Wednesday tied for the NHL lead with a 33.3 percent conversion rate on the power play.
  • The Sabres have scored at least one power-play goal in 10 of their last 11 games, going 14-for-34 (41.2%) during that stretch.
  • Entering play Wednesday, the Sabres trailed only Chicago (10) for the NHL lead with nine different players with at least one goal on the power play.
  • Victor Olofsson entered play Wednesday tied for third in the league with six power-play goals and ranked third with 12 power-play points. His 19 career power-play tallies trailed only David Pastrnak (23), Leon Draisaitl (21) and Auston Matthews (20) for the most in the league since he made his NHL debut on March 28, 2019.

OUT OF THE BOX

  • Entering play Wednesday, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 4:56 of penalty time per game.
  • At plus-16 (54 drawn/38 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 16 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 2/24)
SF% CF% SCF% HDCF% xGF%
2019-20 48.13 (23rd) 49.13 (19th) 48.73 (20th) 48.19 (25th) 47.56 (25th)
2020-21 49.87 (15th) 50.19 (15th) 50.17 (15th) 53.91 (7th) 51.64 (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.
  • With 1,028 career points, Staal is currently tied with Brian Leetch for 81st-most points in NHL history and trails Alex Kovalev by one point for 80th.

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 currently 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 2/24 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 33.3% PP% (T-1st), 53.8% FOW% (3rd)
  • Olofsson: 12 PPP (3rd), 6 PPG (T-3rd)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (35), Lazar (33), Miller (31)
Blocked Shots: Miller (17), Montour (16), McCabe (15)
Shots: Eichel (50), Olofsson (45), Dahlin (44)

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: 2-4-0 (4), 11/15, 5/12, 8/12

OVERTIME RESULTS (0-1; 126-135 all-time)
Jan. 28 vs. NYR: L, 3-2 (GDG-Lafrenière, 2:47)

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
Curtis Lazar … 2 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 … 6 points … 100 career points
Wins
Carter Hutton … 6 wins … 100 career wins

RECENT MILESTONES
Cody Eakin … 600th NHL game … Feb. 20 at NJD
Jacob Bryson … 1st NHL game … Feb 23 at NJD

Leave a Reply