Game Preview: 3/15/21 vs. Washington

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Saturday, March 13
Pittsburgh 3 at Buffalo 0
Goals: N/A
Goalie: Hutton (31 saves/32 shots); 2 ENGs
PP: 0/2; PK: 1/2; Shots: Pittsburgh 34 – Buffalo 24

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 95)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 26 games
William Borgen (forearm, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 12 games
Jake McCabe (knee, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 12 games
Linus Ullmark (lower body, Feb. 27; injured reserve) – 9 games
Jack Eichel (upper body; March 9) – 3 games
Dylan Cozens (upper body; March 13) – 1 game

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
3/9: Recalled D Henri Jokiharju from the taxi squad; Loaned D Brandon Davidson to the taxi squad
3/13: Recalled D Brandon Davidson from the taxi squad; Loaned D Henri Jokiharju to the taxi squad
3/15: Recalled F Rasmus Asplund from the taxi squad; Loaned D Brandon Davidson to the taxi squad

UPCOMING GAMES
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.
Wednesday, March 24: Buffalo at Pittsburgh. 8 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at CAPITALS

  • This is the sixth of eight meetings between the Sabres and Capitals this season.
  • Last meeting: Washington defeated Buffalo 3-1 in Washington on Feb. 18
  • Next meeting: Friday, April 9 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Capitals; 4-5-1 at home.
  • This is the 169th game all-time between Buffalo and Washington; Buffalo has a 91-55-22 series record.
  • The Sabres are 49-25-9 at home against the Capitals all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 7-10-4 all-time on March 15.
  • March 15, 1997: The Sabres get goals from six different players (including two from Brian Holzinger) to pick up the 1,000th victory in franchise history, a 7-5 win at Philadelphia.
  • March 15, 2008: In a 6-2 win at Toronto, Ales Kotalik scores his 100th goal as a Sabre and Jason Pominville tallies three points (1+2) to break his previous season high of 68 on the way to a career-best 80 points.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Buffalo has a plus-11 penalty differential (20 drawn/nine taken) against the Capitals this season, its highest against any opponent.
  • The Sabres have drawn at least one more penalty than they have taken in each of their five games against the Capitals this season. Washington is the only team Buffalo has played and not had at least one negative penalty differential game this season.
  • Buffalo has scored a power-play goal in each of its last two games against the Capitals, including a season-high three on Jan. 24.
  • The Sabres’ five power-play goals against Washington is their second-highest total against any team this season. (New Jersey, 7)
  • Victor Olofsson has recorded six points (4+2) in his last six games against Washington, including a power-play goal in each of the last two.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has seven points (1+6) in his last nine games against the Capitals dating back to the 2018-19 season.

SEASON SERIES
Tonight’s game is the sixth of eight meetings between the Sabres and Capitals this season. The Sabres are 1-3-1 through the first five. Washington has won four of the first five games despite the Sabres having the edge in underlying 5-on-5 metrics:

5-on-5 Shot Attempts 5-on-5

Expected Goals

5-on-5 High-Danger Scoring Chances
Date BUF WSH BUF WSH BUF WSH
Jan. 14 35 33 1.27 0.94 7 3
Jan. 15 36 34 1.42 0.87 7 4
Jan. 22 49 42 1.80 1.52 9 6
Jan. 24 50 39 1.75 1.28 9 6
Feb. 18 40 42 1.75 1.54 8 5
Total 210 190 7.99 6.15 40 24
Percentage 52.5% 47.5% 56.5% 43.5% 62.5% 37.5%

(All data courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com)

REINO RUNNIN’ WILD

  • Despite the shortened season, Sam Reinhart is on pace to finish the season with 25 goals, which would tie his career high and mark his fourth consecutive 20-goal season.
  • Reinhart is on pace to score his 20th goal of the season in his 44th game played, which would be 11 games quicker than his previous best season (55 games in 2019-20).
  • Reinhart is scoring at a .46 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 Sunday, Buffalo ranked fifth in the NHL with a 27.1 percent conversion rate on the power play.
  • Entering play Sunday, the Sabres tied the Nashville Predators and 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 Sunday’s games. His 19 career power-play tallies trail only Leon Draisaitl (25), David Pastrnak (24), 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 Sunday, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 5:43 of penalty time per game.
  • At plus-11 (76 drawn/65 taken), the Sabres are tied for fifth in the league in penalty differential this season.
  • Buffalo has been assessed 65 penalties this season. Entering play Sunday, it marked the fewest in the league and was 12 penalties fewer than the next closest team, the New York Islanders.

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

BUF-WSH CONNECTIONS

  • Capitals assistant coach Scott Arniel played for the Sabres for four seasons (1986-87 to 1989-90), recording 138 points (64+74) in 295 games. He would later serve as an assistant coach for the team for three seasons (2002-03 to 2003-04 and 2005-06).
  • Capitals forward Conor Sheary played parts of two seasons (2018-19 to 2019-20) with the Sabres, totaling 53 points (23+30) in 133 games with the team.
  • Sabres forward Cody Eakin was drafted by Washington in the third round (85th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft. He played one season (2011-12) for the Capitals, recording eight points (4+4) in 30 games.
  • Sabres General Manager Kevyn Adams became the second player in league history born in D.C. to play in the NHL.
  • Sabres General Manager Kevyn Adams and forward Eric Staal won the 2006 Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes when Capitals Head Coach Peter Laviolette was the head coach of the team. Laviolette would go on to coach Staal for four more seasons (2005-06 to 2008-09). Capitals assistant coach Kevin McCarthy was also on Laviolette’s staff during this time.
  • Sabres forwards Taylor Hall, Jeff Skinner and Eric Staal all played for Canada’s national team at the 2013 IIHF World Championship with Capitals defensemen Brenden Dillon and Justin Schultz. Staal served as the team’s captain.
  • Sabres defensemen Matt Irwin and Colin Miller both played with Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara in Boston, Irwin in 2015-16 and Miller from 2015-16 to 2016-17.
  • Sabres forward Kyle Okposo and Capitals forward J. Oshie have played for Team USA together twice – at the 2009 and 2010 IIFH World Championships.
  • Sabres forward Tage Thompson won a bronze medal for Team USA with Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen at the 2018 IIHF World Championship.

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

  • Buffalo Sabres:1% PP% (5th), 51.8% FOW% (10th)
  • Olofsson: 6 PPG (T-7th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (77), Lazar (51), Miller (50)
Blocked Shots: Montour (35), Irwin (24), Dahlin/Miller (22)
Shots: Hall (67), Eichel (61), Olofsson (58)

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: 0-6-0 (0), 12/27, 0/8, 10/12

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
Riley Sheahan … 100 career assists … March 11 vs. Pittsburgh

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