Game Preview: 3/13/21 vs. Pittsburgh

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Thursday, March 11
Pittsburgh 5 at Buffalo 2
Goals: Thompson, Olofsson
Goalie: Johansson (22 saves/26 shots); 1 ENG
PP: 0/2; PK: 1/2; Shots: Pittsburgh 27 – Buffalo 23

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 89)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 25 games
William Borgen (forearm, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 11 games
Jake McCabe (knee, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 11 games
Linus Ullmark (lower body, Feb. 27; injured reserve) – 8 games
Jack Eichel (upper body; March 9) – 2 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
3/7: Recalled D Brandon Davidson and F Casey Mittelstadt from the taxi squad; Loaned D Henri Jokiharju to the taxi squad
3/9: Recalled D Henri Jokiharju from the taxi squad; Loaned D Brandon Davidson to the taxi squad
3/13: Recalled D Brandon Davidson; Loaned D Henri Jokiharju to the taxi squad

 

UPCOMING GAMES
Monday, March 15: Washington at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, March 16: Buffalo at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 18: Boston at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 20: Boston at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
Monday, March 22: Buffalo at NY Rangers, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME

PENGUINS at SABRES

  • This is the second of eight meetings between the Sabres and Penguins this season.
  • Last meeting: Pittsburgh defeated Buffalo 5-2 in Buffalo on March 11.
  • The Sabres are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Penguins; 2-8-0 at home.
  • This is the 196th game all-time between Buffalo and Pittsburgh; Buffalo has a 69-83-43 series record.
  • The Sabres are 42-33-22 at home against the Penguins all-time.

THIS DAY IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 7-7-4 all-time on March 13.
  • March 13, 1977: Don Edwards turns aside 32 of 33 Toronto shots and the Sabres get goals from five different scorers as they defeat the Maple Leafs, 6-1, in Buffalo.
  • March 13, 1991: The Sabres top the Jets, 6-2, on the strength of a Dale Hawerchuk hat trick and a 37-save performance by Clint Malarchuk.
  • March 13, 2001: The Sabres acquire Donald Audette from Atlanta for Kamil Piros and a fourth-round pick in 2001 NHL Draft and acquire Steve Heinze from Columbus for a third-round draft pick in 2001 NHL Draft.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres have gone 2-1-0 in each of the last two seasons against the Penguins, winning consecutive season series against Pittsburgh for the first time since 2005-06 and 2006-07. If Buffalo wins this year’s series, it would be the first time it has won three consecutive season series against Pittsburgh since 1979-80 to 1981-82.
  • The last six meetings between the Sabres and Penguins have been won by the team who scored first.
  • Rasmus Dahlin has three points (1+2) in his last four games against the Penguins.
  • Taylor Hall has recorded 23 points (9+14) in 19 career meetings with Pittsburgh, including four multi-point outings.
  • Carter Hutton is 5-1-0 with two shutouts and a .940 save percentage in his eight career appearances against Pittsburgh.
  • Colin Miller has posted three assists and a plus-4 rating in his last four meetings with Pittsburgh.
  • Casey Mittelstadt has three points (1+2) in five career games against the Penguins.
  • Sam Reinhart has recorded 10 points (3+7) in his last 12 games against Pittsburgh.
  • Eric Staal has 55 points (23+33) in 58 career contests against the Penguins, including 10 (4+6) in his last 10.

REINO RUNNIN’ WILD

  • Despite the shortened season, Sam Reinhart is on pace to finish the season with 26 goals, which would set a new career high and mark his fourth consecutive 20-goal season.
  • Reinhart is on pace to score his 20th goal of the season in his 42nd game played, which would be 13 games quicker than his previous best season (55 games in 2019-20).
  • Reinhart is scoring at a .48 goals-per-game pace, which ties for 20th in the NHL (min. 5 GP) and tops his career-best pace of .32 in 2019-20.
  • His 11 goals lead the team and he ranks second on the Sabres with five power-play goals, trailing only Victor Olofsson’s

POWER UP

  • Entering play Friday, Buffalo ranked fifth in the NHL with a 27.9 percent conversion rate on the power play.
  • Entering play Friday, the Sabres trailed only the Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning (11) for the NHL lead with 10 different players with at least one goal on the power play.
  • Victor Olofsson tied for seventh in the league with six power-play goals before Friday’s games. His 19 career power-play tallies trail only David Pastrnak (24), Leon Draisaitl (23) and Auston Matthews (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 5:48 of penalty time per game.
  • At plus-11 (74 drawn/63 taken), the Sabres are fifth in the league in penalty differential this season.
  • Buffalo has been assessed 63 penalties this season. Entering play Friday, it marked the fewest in the league and was 10 penalties fewer than the next closest team, the Vegas Golden Knights.

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 1,031 career points, Staal has recorded the 80th-most points in NHL history and trails Alexander Mogilny by one point for 79th.

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 Jim 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 (T-11th), .37 A/GP (12th), .46 PTS/GP (11th)

BUF-PIT CONNECTIONS

  • Sabres assistant coach Mike Bales was part of the Penguins organization for six seasons (2011-12 to 2016-17). He began as a goaltending development coach before becoming the team’s goaltending coach at the start of the 2013-14 season.
  • Sabres forward Riley Sheahan played for the Penguins for parts two seasons (2017-18 to 2018-19), totaling 41 points (18+23) in 122 games.
  • Penguins forward Evan Rodrigues played for the Sabres for parts of five seasons (2015-16 to 2019-20) after being signed by the team as a college free agent in 2015. Rodrigues totaled 71 points (26+45) in 192 games with the club.
  • Penguins defenseman Chad Ruhwedel played parts of four seasons (2012-13 to 2015-16) with the Sabres, tallying two assists in 33 games.
  • Sabres forwards Cody Eakin and Taylor Hall won a gold medal for Team Canada with Penguins forward Sidney Crosby at the 2015 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres forward Cody Eakin and Penguins forward Colton Sceviour were teammates in Dallas from 2012-13 to 2015-16. Penguins hockey operations advisor Trevor Daley also played for the Stars during Eakin’s tenure with the team.
  • Sabres forward Taylor Hall and Sam Reinhart won a gold medal for Team Canada with Penguins defensemen Cody Ceci and Mike Matheson at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres Head Coach Ralph Krueger was the head coach of Switzerland’s National Team at the 2010 Olympic games, a team that Penguins defenseman Yannick Weber played for.
  • Sabres forward Curtis Lazar played in Ottawa with Penguins defenseman Cody Ceci for parts of three seasons (2014-15 to 2016-17).
  • Sabres forwards Curtis Lazar and Tobias Rieder both played with Penguins forward Mark Jankowski in Calgary, Lazar from 2016-17 to 2018-19 and Rieder in 2019-20. Penguins president of hockey operations Brian Burke held the same role with the Flames during Lazar’s tenure with the team.
  • Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour, forward Sam Reinhart and Penguins forward Jared McCann were all on Canada’s silver-medal-winning roster at the 2019 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and Penguins defenseman Juuso Riikola represented Finland together at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Sabres forward Jeff Skinner and Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson won a silver medal together for Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres forward Eric Staal and Penguins forward Sidney Crosby won a gold medal together while playing for Canada’s National Team at the 2010 Olympics.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings entering play Friday)

  • Buffalo Sabres:9% PP% (5th), 51.9% FOW% (10th)
  • Olofsson: 6 PPG (T-7th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (70), Lazar (48), Miller (46)
Blocked Shots: Montour (31), Irwin (24), Dahlin/Miller (22)
Shots: Hall (66), Eichel (61), Olofsson (55)

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: 0-5-0 (0), 12/24, 0/6, 9/10

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 (2-2; 79-73 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)
March 9 at PHI: L 5-4 (GDG-Couturier)

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
Colin Miller … 10 assists … 100 career assists
Eric Staal … 8 assists … 600 career assists
Points
Brandon Montour … 4 points … 100 career points
Rasmus Dahlin … 5 points … 100 career points
Wins
Carter Hutton … 6 wins … 100 career wins 

RECENT MILESTONES
Rasmus Ristolainen … 45 career goals (T-8th in franchise history, defensemen) … March 4 at NY Islanders
Riley Sheahan … 100 career assists … March 11 vs. Pittsburgh

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