Game Preview: 3/7/21 at NY Islanders

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Saturday, March 6
Buffalo 2 at NY Islanders 5
Goals: Bryson, Reinhart
Goalie: Hutton (24 saves/29 shots)
PP: 0/1; PK: 0/0; Shots: NY Islanders 29 – Buffalo 22

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 75)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 22 games
William Borgen (forearm, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 8 games
Jake McCabe (knee, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 8 games
Linus Ullmark (lower body, Feb. 27; injured reserve) – 5 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
3/1: Reassigned D Brandon Davidson to the taxi squad
3/2: Recalled D Jacob Bryson from the taxi squad; Loaned F Casey Mittelstadt to the taxi squad
3/7: Recalled D Brandon Davidson and F Casey Mittelstadt from the taxi squad; Loaned D Henri Jokiharju to the taxi squad.

UPCOMING GAMES
Tuesday, March 9: Buffalo at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 11: Pittsburgh at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 13: Pittsburgh at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Monday, March 15: Washington at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, March 16: Buffalo at New Jersey, 7 p.m.

TODAY’S GAME
SABRES at ISLANDERS

  • This is the sixth of eight meetings between the Sabres and Islanders this season.
  • Last meeting: New York defeated Buffalo 5-2 in New York on March 6.
  • Next meeting: Monday, May 3 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 1-8-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Islanders; 2-6-2 on the road.
  • This is the 179th game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo has an 82-71-25 series record.
  • The Sabres are 36-40-13 on the road against the Islanders all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 8-10-6 all-time on March 7.
  • March 7, 2002: Martin Biron turns aside 26 New York Islanders shots to earn the first of two shutouts on back-to-back nights, a feat he would complete with another 26-save performance the following night against Montreal.
  • March 7, 2016: Jack Eichel becomes the youngest Sabre ever to reach the 20-goal mark (19 years, 131 days) with his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Buffalo’s penalty kill is 22-for-25 (88.0%) in the team’s last 14 games against the Islanders.
  • The Sabres have killed off 11 consecutive penalties and have not surrendered a power-play goal in five straight games. If the team remains perfect on the penalty kill today, it will be the first time since Dec. 4 to 16, 2018 that Buffalo played six consecutive games without allowing a power-play goal.
  • Taylor Hall has recorded 19 points (10+9) in 21 games against the Islanders dating back to the beginning of the 2013-14 season.
  • Jack Eichel has totaled 12 points (3+9) in 13 meetings with the Islanders since the beginning of the 2017-18 season.
  • Victor Olofsson has four points (2+2) in five career road games against the Islanders. Olofsson scored the first goal of his NHL career against the Islanders March 30, 2019.

THREE IN A ROW

  • Today’s matchup is the third game of three straight against the Islanders. This series marks the first time the Sabres will play a team three straight times in the same regular season in franchise history.
  • Buffalo has previously played the same opponent in three straight regular-season games on four occasions by wrapping up one season and beginning the next against the same team: Montreal (1987-88 and 1988-89), Quebec (1981-82 and 1982-83; 1991-92 and 1992-93) and Washington (2019-20 and 2020-21).
  • The Sabres have previously played the same team three times in a 10-day period just 15 times in franchise history. Before doing so against New Jersey in February, Buffalo had never played the same team three times in a seven-day span.

BACK-TO-BACK
Today’s game wraps up Buffalo’s seventh of 12 sets of back-to-back games this season, which began with a 5-2 loss yesterday at New York. The Sabres are 2-5-0 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 1-5-0 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 (3), one point (0) and zero points (3).

POWER UP

  • After yesterday’s game, Buffalo ranked third in the NHL with a 2 percent conversion rate on the power play.
  • The Sabres have scored at least one power-play goal in 11 of their last 17 games, going 16-for-46 (34.8%) during that stretch.
  • At the conclusion of Saturday’s game, the Sabres were tied with the Carolina Hurricanes and trailed only the Chicago Blackhawks (11) for the NHL lead with 10 different players with at least one goal on the power play.
  • Victor Olofsson tied for fourth in the league with six power-play goals and tied for fourth with 12 power-play points after Saturday’s game. His 19 career power-play tallies trail 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

  • After Saturday’s game, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 5:10 of penalty time per game.
  • At plus-15 (68 drawn/53 taken), the Sabres tied the Colorado Avalanche for the best penalty differential in the league.
  • Buffalo has been assessed 53 penalties this season. At the conclusion of Saturday’s game, it marked the fewest in the league and was 13 penalties fewer than the next closest team, the New Jersey Devils.

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 1,029 career points, Staal is currently tied with Alex Kovalev for 80th-most points in NHL history and trails Alexander Mogilny by three points for 79th.

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): .37 G/GP (T-15th), .57 A/GP (10th), .95 PTS/GP (11th)

RISTO IN THE RECORD BOOK

  • With his goal on March. 4 at the NY Islanders, Rasmus Ristolainen moved into a tie with Tyler Myers and Jom Schoenfeld for the eighth-most goals by a defenseman in Sabres history. He now trails Richard Smehlik by two goals for seventh-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 nine 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 (12th), .37 A/GP (12th), .46 PTS/GP (11th)

BUF-NYI CONNECTIONS

  • Sabres forward Kyle Okposo played for the Islanders from 2007-08 to 2015-16 after being drafted in by the team with the seventh overall pick in the 2006 NHL Draft. Okposo totaled 369 points (139+230) in 529 games with the Islanders.
  • Islanders director of goaltending Mitch Korn was the Sabres’ goaltending coach from 1990-91 to 1997-98.
  • Islanders assistant video coordinator Corey Smith was the Sabres video coach in 2014-15 and 2015-16. He is the brother of current Sabres video coordinator Kyle Smith and the son of former Sabre Derek Smith.
  • Sabres forward Cody Eakin won a silver medal for Team Canada with Islanders forward Casey Cizikas at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Sabres forward Jack Eichel and Islanders forwards Anders Lee and Brock Nelson all played for Team USA at both the 2015 and 2017 IIHF World Championships, winning a bronze medal in 2015.
  • Sabres forward Taylor Hall and Islanders forward Jordan Eberle were teammates in Edmonton for six seasons (2010-11 to 2015-16).
  • Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and Islanders forward Leo Komarov both played for Finland’s National Team at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
  • Sabres forward Jeff Skinner and Islanders forward Jordan Eberle played for Team Canada together at three consecutive IIHF World Championships: in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck was also on the 2011 roster and Sabres forward Eric Staal played with the duo in 2013.
  • Jeff Skinner won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Championship. Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz was one of Canada’s assistant coaches at the tournament.
  • Sabres forwards Curtis Lazar and Sam Reinhart played for Team Canada with Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings after Saturday’s game)

  • Buffalo Sabres:2% PP% (3rd), 52.3% FOW% (9th)
  • Olofsson: 12 PPP (T-4th), 6 PPG (T-4th)
  • Reinhart: 5 PPG (T-10th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (56), Miller (44), Lazar (43)
Blocked Shots: Montour (23), Miller (22), Irwin (19)
Shots: Eichel (60), Hall (57), Dahlin/Olofsson (50)

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: 2-7-1 (5), 16/28, 7/23, 18/23
21-30: 0-2-0 (0), 4/10, 0/1, 3/3

OVERTIME RESULTS (0-2; 126-136 all-time)
Jan. 28 vs. NYR: L, 3-2 (GWG-Lafrenière, 2:47)
Feb. 25 vs. NJD: L, 4-3 (GWG-Zacha, 1;17)

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)
Goals
Rasmus Ristolainen … 2 goals … 47 career goals (T-7th in franchise history, defensemen)
Kyle Okposo … 4 goals … 200 career goals
Assists
Riley Sheahan … 1 assist … 100 career assists
Colin Miller … 10 assists … 100 career assists
Eric Staal … 10 assists … 600 career assists
Points
Brandon Montour … 5 points … 100 career points
Rasmus Dahlin … 6 points … 100 career points
Wins
Carter Hutton … 6 wins … 100 career wins 

RECENT MILESTONES
Jacob Bryson … First career NHL goal … March 6 at NY Islanders
Rasmus Ristolainen … 45 career goals (T-8th in franchise history, defensemen) … March 4 at NY Islanders

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