Game Preview: 3/31/21 vs. Philadelphia

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Monday, March 29
Philadelphia 4 at Buffalo 3 (OT)
Goals: Jokiharju, Eakin, Montour
Goalie: Ullmark (32 saves/36 shots)
PP: 0/2; PK: 2/2; Shots: Philadelphia 36 – Buffalo 32

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 153)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 34 games
William Borgen (forearm, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 20 games
Jake McCabe (knee, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 20 games
Jack Eichel (upper body, March 9; injured reserve) – 11 games
Carter Hutton (lower body, March 24) – 4 games
Rasmus Asplund (upper body; March 25) – 3 games
Jacob Bryson (upper body; March 29) – 1 game
Dylan Cozens (upper body) – 0 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
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
3/26: Acquired a third- and fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for center Eric Staal
3/27: Activated F Kyle Okposo and G Linus Ullmark from injured reserve; Recalled F Jean-Sebastien Dea from the taxi squad; Loaned F C.J. Smith and G Michael Houser to the taxi squad
3/28: Reassigned F Brett Murray and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to the Rochester Americans (AHL)
3/29: Loaned F Jean-Sebastien Dea and F Steven Fogarty to the taxi squad
3/31: Recalled F Steven Fogarty from the taxi squad

UPCOMING GAMES
Thursday, April 1: NY Rangers at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 3: NY Rangers at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, April 6: Buffalo at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Thursday, April 8: New Jersey at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Friday, April 9: Washington at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
FLYERS at SABRES

  • This is the seventh of eight meetings between the Sabres and Flyers this season.
  • Last meeting: Philadelphia defeated Buffalo 4-3 (OT) in Buffalo on March 29
  • Next meeting: Sunday, April 11 in Philadelphia
  • The Sabres are 1-7-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Flyers; 4-5-1 at home.
  • This is the 188th game all-time between Buffalo and Philadelphia; Buffalo has a 70-91-26 series record.
  • The Sabres are 44-36-11 at home against the Flyers all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 12-11-0 all-time on March 31.
  • March 31, 1971: Eddie Shack records his second hat trick in 10 days as the Sabres defeat the Penguins 6-4 in Pittsburgh.
  • March 31, 1992: The Sabres and Minnesota North Stars combine for 360 penalty minutes, including 188 to the Sabres and 172 to the North Stars. All three totals (for, against and combined) still stand as Sabres franchise records.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The team that has scored first has won five of the six games so far between the Sabres and Flyers this season.
  • Buffalo is 13-for-14 on the penalty kill against the Flyers this season, including a perfect 7-for-7 at home. The team’s 92.9 penalty-kill percentage is its best rate against any opponent this season.
  • Buffalo has been perfect on the penalty kill in 17 of its 34 games this season.
  • Kyle Okposo’s assist on March 29 extended his point streak to four games, totaling four points (2+2) during that span. The streak is Okposo’s longest since he had points in five consecutive games from Feb. 16 to Feb 26, 2020, recording six points (4+2) during that stretch.
  • Since being paired together during the game on March 25, Rasmus Dahlin and Henri Jokiharju have been on the ice together for 36:27 of ice time at 5-on-5, which ranks second on the team among defensive pairs. During that time, Dahlin and Jokiharju lead the team’s defensive pairs (min. 5 minutes TOI) in corsi for (65.7%), expected goals for (73.8%) and high-danger chances for (81.3%).
  • Matt Irwin ranks seventh in the NHL with 7.25 blocked shots per 60 minutes (Min. 5 GP) this season. Irwin has led or tied for the team lead in blocked shots in 11 of the 17 games he has played this season, including each of his last five games played.
  • Sam Reinhart’s ten road goals this season ties him with Montreal’s Tyler Toffoli and Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen for the most among all players.

HOT AGAINST THE FLYERS

  • Taylor Hall has 30 points (10+20) in 26 career contests against the Flyers. He has recorded six assists in six meetings with Philadelphia this season.
  • Sam Reinhart has four goals in six games against Philadelphia this season.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen leads the Sabres with 102 hits this season. His 30 hits against the Flyers is his highest total against a single opponent.
  • Brandon Montour’s 14 blocked shots against the Flyers are his most against an opponent this season. Both of Montour’s two goals this season have been scored against Philadelphia.

BACK-TO-BACK
Tonight’s game opens Buffalo’s 10th of 12 sets of back-to-back games this season, which continues tomorrow night vs. the NY Rangers. The Sabres are 2-7-0 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 1-8-0 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 (6).

OUT OF THE BOX

  • Entering play Tuesday, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 6:12 of penalty time per game. Buffalo has been assessed 211 total penalty minutes this season, 17 fewer than the closest teams, the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings.
  • Buffalo has been assessed a league-low 96 penalties this season.
  • Taylor Hall was tied for 11th in the NHL entering play Tuesday with 14 penalties drawn this season. Hall’s penalty differential was good for 16th in the league at plus-8.

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 (12th), .37 A/GP (15th), .45 PTS/GP (12th)

BUF-PHI CONNECTIONS

  • Sabres forward Cody Eakin won a silver medal for Team Canada with Flyers forward Sean Couturier at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship. The duo would reunite, along with Sabres forward Taylor Hall, at the 2015 IIHF World Championship, winning a gold medal.
  • Sabres forwards Taylor Hall and Cody Eakin won a gold medal with Claude Giroux while representing Canada at the 2015 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres forwards Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner played for Team Canada with Flyers forward Claude Giroux at the 2013 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres forwards Taylor Hall and Sam Reinhart won a gold medal for Team Canada with Flyers assistant coach Mike Yeo, who was one of the team’s assistant coaches, at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres forwards Curtis Lazar and Sam Reinhart and Flyers forward Scott Laughton all played for Team Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Sabres forward Curtis Lazar and Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott both played for the Calgary Flames during the 2016-17 season.
  • Sabres forward Victor Olofsson played for Team Sweden at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship with Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom and Flyers defenseman Robert Hagg.
  • Sabres forward Sam Reinhart and defenseman Brandon Montour both played for Team Canada with Flyers forward Sean Couturier, Flyers defenseman Philippe Myers and Flyers goaltender Carter Hart at the 2019 IIHF World Championship, taking home a silver medal. Flyers Head Coach Alain Vigneault was the Canada’s head coach during the tournament.

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

  • Okposo: 1 SHG (T-9th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (102), Miller (68), Lazar (64)
Blocked Shots: Montour (45), Irwin (38), Miller (35)
Shots: Hall (81), Olofsson (78), Reinhart (69)

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: 0-3-1 (1), 7/16, 1/12, 14/16

OVERTIME RESULTS (0-3; 126-137 all-time)
Jan. 28 vs. NYR: L, 3-2 (GWG-Lafrenière, 2:47)
Feb. 25 vs. NJD: L, 4-3 (GWG-Zacha, 1:17)
March 29 vs. PHI: L 4-3 (GWG-Provorov, 0:42)

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)
Games Played
Victor Olofsson … 6 games played … 100 games played

Goals
Rasmus Ristolainen … 2 goals … 47 career goals (T-7th in franchise history, defensemen)
Kyle Okposo … 2 goals … 200 career goals

Assists
Rasmus Ristolainen … 10 assists … 200 career assists
Colin Miller … 10 assists … 100 career assists

Points
Rasmus Dahlin … 4 points … 100 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
Steven Fogarty … 1st career point (assist) … March 27 at BOS

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