Game Preview: 3/25/21 at Pittsburgh

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Wednesday, March 24
Buffalo 2 at Pittsburgh 5
Goals: Dahlin, Olofsson
Goalie: Tokarski (37 saves/42 shots)
PP: 0/3; PK: 5/5; Shots: Pittsburgh 42 – Buffalo 28

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 127)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 31 games
William Borgen (forearm, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 17 games
Jake McCabe (knee, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 17 games
Linus Ullmark (lower body, Feb. 27; injured reserve) – 14 games
Jack Eichel (upper body, March 9; injured reserve) – 8 games
Kyle Okposo (upper body; injured reserve, March 22) – 2 games
Carter Hutton (lower body; March 24) – 1 game
Tobias Rieder (upper body; March 24) – 1 game
Rasmus Asplund (upper body) – 0 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
3/19: Signed G Michael Houser to a one-year contract worth $700,000
3/20: Acquired a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for G Jonas Johansson
3/21: Reassigned F Steven Fogarty from the Rochester Americans (AHL) to the taxi squad; Loaned G Michael Houser to the taxi squad
3/22: Recalled F Rasmus Asplund and G Dustin Tokarski from the taxi squad
3/23: Reassigned G Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen from the Rochester Americans (AHL) to the taxi squad
3/24: Recalled G Michael Houser from the taxi squad; Placed F Kyle Okposo on injured reserve
3/25: Recalled F Steven Fogarty and F C.J. Smith from the taxi squad; Reassigned F Jean-Sebastien Dea and F Brett Murray from the Rochester Americans (AHL) to the taxi squad; Placed F Rasmus Asplund and F Tobias Rieder on injured reserve

UPCOMING GAMES
Saturday, March 27: Buffalo at Boston, 1 p.m.
Monday, March 29: Philadelphia at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 31: Philadelphia at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 1: NY Rangers at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 3: NY Rangers at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
PENGUINS at SABRES

  • This is the fourth of eight meetings between the Sabres and Penguins this season.
  • Last meeting: Pittsburgh defeated Buffalo 5-2 in Pittsburgh on March 24.
  • The Sabres are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Penguins; 3-5-2 on the road.
  • This is the 198th game all-time between Buffalo and Pittsburgh; Buffalo has a 69-85-43 series record.
  • The Sabres are 27-51-21 on the road against the Penguins all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 8-9-3 all-time on March 25.
  • March 25, 1992: Donald Audette scores twice in 14 seconds as the Sabres improve to 30-16-2 against the Maple Leafs at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. The team would finish with a 32-16-3 record against Toronto at the Aud.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The road team has won six of the last seven meetings between Buffalo and Pittsburgh.
  • 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 eight meetings between the Sabres and Penguins have been won by the team who scored first.
  • Victor Olofsson scored on his first career penalty shot in last night’s game. It was the Sabres’ first successful penalty shot attempt since Jack Eichel beat Mike Smith on Jan. 2, 2020 vs. Edmonton.
  • Taylor Hall has recorded 24 points (9+15) in 21 career meetings with Pittsburgh, including four multi-point outings.
  • Eric Staal has 56 points (23+33) in 60 career contests against the Penguins, including 10 (4+6) in his last 12.
  • Sam Reinhart has recorded eight points (2+6) and a plus-3 rating in his last seven games in Pittsburgh.
  • Casey Mittelstadt has three points (1+2) in three career road games against the Penguins.

BACK-TO-BACK
Tonight’s game wraps up Buffalo’s ninth of 12 sets of back-to-back games this season, which began with a 5-2 loss last night at Pittsburgh. The Sabres are 2-7-0 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 1-7-0 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 (5).

OUT OF THE BOX

  • Following Wednesday’s game, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 6:05 of penalty time per game. Buffalo has been assessed 189 total penalty minutes this season, 23 fewer than the next closest team, the New Jersey Devils.
  • Buffalo has been assessed 85 penalties this season. Following Wednesday’s game, it marked the fewest in the league and was four penalties fewer than the next closest teams, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
  • Taylor Hall is tied for seventh in the NHL with 14 penalties drawn this season. Hall’s penalty differential is tied for 14th in the league at plus-8.

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), .45 PTS/GP (T-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 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 following Wednesday’s game)

  • Buffalo Sabres:5% FOW% (10th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (93), Miller (62), Lazar (59)
Blocked Shots: Montour (40), Irwin (32), Miller/Ristolainen (27)
Shots: Hall (75), Olofsson (66), Eichel (61)

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: 0-9-1 (1), 18/45, 0/14, 18/26
31-40: 0-1-0 (0), 2/5, 0/3, 5/5

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)

Assists
Colin Miller … 10 assists … 100 career assists
Eric Staal … 8 assists … 600 career assists

Points
Rasmus Dahlin … 4 points … 100 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
Brandon Montour … 100 career points … March 24 at Pittsburgh

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