Game Preview: 4/1/21 vs. NY Rangers

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Wednesday, March 31
Philadelphia 1 at Buffalo 6
Goals: Reinhart, Lazar, Fogarty, Mittelstadt, Montour (2)
Goalie: Ullmark (31 saves/32 shots)
PP: 0/0; PK: 3/3; Shots: Philadelphia 32 – Buffalo 27

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 161)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 35 games
William Borgen (forearm, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 21 games
Jake McCabe (knee, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 21 games
Jack Eichel (upper body, March 9; injured reserve) – 12 games
Carter Hutton (lower body, March 24) – 5 games
Rasmus Asplund (upper body; March 25; injured reserve) – 4 games
Dylan Cozens (upper body) – 1 game

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
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
4/1: Placed F Curtis Lazar on injured reserve; Activated F Rasmus Asplund off of injured reserve

 

UPCOMING GAMES
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.
Sunday, April 11: Buffalo at Philadelphia, 2 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME

RANGERS AT SABRES

  • This is the fifth of eight meetings between the Sabres and Rangers this season.
  • Last meeting: New York defeated Buffalo 5-3 in New York on March 22.
  • Next meeting: Saturday, April 3 in Buffalo.
  • The Sabres are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Rangers; 3-4-3 at home.
  • This is the 190th game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo has an 84-69-36 seri­­­es record.
  • The Sabres are 50-29-16 at home against the Rangers all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 17-5-3 all-time on April 1.
  • April 1, 1973: The Sabres clinch their first ever playoff spot with a 3-1 win vs. St. Louis on the last day of the season.
  • April 1, 1984: Phil Housley picks up two assists to reach 77 points for the season in a 4-2 win at Toronto.
  • April 1, 1997: Rob Ray plays in his 500th NHL game, becoming the 17th player in franchise history to play 500 games as a member of the Sabres.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Buffalo has a 59.2 faceoff win percentage against the Rangers, its best percentage against any opponent this season.
  • Five Sabres players recorded multi-point games yesterday (Jacob Bryson, Steven Fogarty, Brandon Montour, Kyle Okposo, Rasmus Ristolainen). It was the first time five or more Sabres recorded multi-point outings in the same game since Dec. 10, 2019 vs. St. Louis (Jack Eichel, Zemgus Girgensons, Johan Larsson, Victor Olofsson, Sam Reinhart).
  • Brandon Montour’s two shorthanded goals in the third period came just 37 seconds apart, marking the fastest two shorthanded goals by a defenseman in NHL history, according to NHL Stats.
    • He is the 12th player in NHL history to score two shorthanded goals in 40 seconds or less. Montour is the first defenseman and second Sabre to accomplish this feat (Don Luce, Dec. 22, 1974).
  • Sam Reinhart has recorded five points (2+3) in his last five home games against the Rangers and has totaled four points (2+2) in four games against New York this season.
  • Victor Olofsson has tallied four assists in four meetings with the Rangers this season.
  • Riley Sheahan has gone 18-for-27 at the faceoff dot against the Rangers this season. His 66.7 win percentage is his highest against any opponent this year.
  • Buffalo has been perfect on the penalty kill in 18 of its 35 games this season.
  • Kyle Okposo’s two-assist game on March 31 extended his point streak to five games, totaling six points (2+4) during that span. The streak is Okposo’s longest since he also had points in five straight from Feb. 16 to Feb 26, 2020 (4+2).
  • Since being paired together during the game on March 25, Rasmus Dahlin and Henri Jokiharju have been on the ice together for 50:34 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 (61.6%) and is second in expected goals for (62.4%) and high-danger chances for (70.0%).

BACK-TO-BACK

Tonight’s game wraps up Buffalo’s 10th of 12 sets of back-to-back games this season, which began with a 6-1 win last night against the Flyers. The Sabres are 3-7-0 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

  • Following Wednesday’s game, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 6:12 of penalty time per game. Buffalo has been assessed 217 total penalty minutes this season, 11 fewer than the closest teams, the Los Angeles Kings.
  • Buffalo has been assessed 99 penalties this season, the second-fewest in the league (Columbus Blue Jackets, 98).
  • Taylor Hall was tied for 13th in the NHL following Wednesday’s game with 14 penalties drawn this season. Hall’s penalty differential was tied 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 seven 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-NYR CONNECTIONS

  • Sabres forward Dylan Cozens and Rangers forward Alexis Lafrenière won a gold medal for Team Canada together at the 2020 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres defenseman Henri Jokiharju and Rangers forward Kaapo Kakko played together on Finland’s national team at both the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship and at the 2019 IIHF World Championship. The duo won a gold medal at both tournaments.
  • Sabres forward Casey Mittelstadt and Rangers defensemen Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren won a bronze medal together while representing the United States at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, which was held in Buffalo.
  • Sabres forward Kyle Okposo played for Team USA at the 2010 IIHF World Championship with Rangers forward Chris Krieder.
  • Sabres forward Tage Thompson won a gold medal for Team USA with Rangers defensemen Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Sabres forward Tage Thompson won a bronze medal for Team USA with Rangers forward Chris Krieder at the 2018 IIFH World Championship.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings following Wednesday’s game)

  • Montour: 2 SHG (T-2), 2 SHP (T-7); Okposo: 2 SHP (T-7)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (108), Miller (69), Lazar (64)
Blocked Shots: Montour (46), Irwin (38), Miller (35)
Shots: Hall (82), Olofsson (80), Reinhart (72)

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: 1-3-1 (3), 13/17, 1/12, 17/19

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 … 5 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 … 8 assists … 200 career assists
Colin Miller … 10 assists … 100 career assists
Points
Rasmus Dahlin … 4 points … 100 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
Steven Fogarty … first career point (assist) … March 27 at BOS
Steven Fogarty … first career NHL goal … March 31 vs. PHI

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