Game Preview: 4/8/21 vs. New Jersey

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Tuesday, April 6
Buffalo 5 at New Jersey 3
Goals: Asplund, Montour, Dahlin, Mittelstadt, Ristolainen
Goalie: Ullmark (27 saves/30 shots)
PP: 1/2; PK: 2/3; Shots: New Jersey 30 – Buffalo 18

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 181)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 38 games
William Borgen (forearm, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 24 games
Jake McCabe (knee, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 24 games
Jack Eichel (upper body, March 9; injured reserve) – 15 games
Carter Hutton (lower body, March 24) – 8 games
Dylan Cozens (upper body, March 31) – 4 games
Curtis Lazar (upper body, April 1; injured reserve) – 3 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
4/2: Reassigned F C.J. Smith and D Brandon Davidson to the Rochester Americans (AHL)
4/3: Reassigned F C.J. Smith and D Brandon Davidson from the Rochester Americans (AHL) to the taxi squad
4/5: Reassigned F Arttu Ruotsalainen from the Rochester Americans (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned F Jean-Sebastien Dea to Rochester
4/6: Signed Linus Weissbach to a two-year, entry-level contract
4/7: Reassigned F C.J. Smith and D Brandon Davidson to the Rochester Americans (AHL)
4/3: Reassigned F C.J. Smith and D Brandon Davidson from the Rochester Americans (AHL) to the taxi squad

UPCOMING GAMES
Friday, April 9: Washington at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Sunday, April 11: Buffalo at Philadelphia, 2 p.m.
Tuesday, April 13: Buffalo at Boston, 7 p.m.
Thursday, April 15: Buffalo at Washington, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 17: Pittsburgh at Buffalo, 3 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
DEVILS at SABRES

  • This is the eighth and final meeting between the Sabres and Devils this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated New Jersey 5-3 in New Jersey on April 6
  • The Sabres are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Devils; 4-4-2 at home.
  • This is the 167th game all-time between Buffalo and New Jersey; Buffalo has an 82-57-27 series record.
  • The Sabres are 44-28-12 at home against the Devils all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 5-7-1 all-time on April 8 (regular season).
  • April 8, 1973: The Sabres earn the first playoff victory in franchise history, topping Montreal 5-1.
  • April 8, 2011: Nathan Gerbe scores twice and Thomas Vanek records the game-winning goal as the Sabres clinch a playoff spot with a 4-3 overtime win over Philadelphia.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres have a point in each of their last five games (3-0-2). A win or overtime loss tonight would give the team points in six straight for the first time since Buffalo went 5-0-1 to being the 2019-20 season.
  • The Sabres are 4-2-1 against the Devils this season and need at least a point tonight to capture the season series for the second season in a row after winning both matchups last season. The last time Buffalo won consecutive season series against New Jersey was in 2012-13 and 2013-14, when the team went 2-0-1 both seasons.
  • Buffalo has a 40.0 power-play percentage against the Devils, its best against any opponent this season.
  • The Sabres have scored at least one power-play goal in six of their seven games against the Devils this season. Their eight power-play goals against New Jersey are the most against any opponent this season.
  • Sam Reinhart’s ten road goals this season are tied for the most in the NHL.
  • Kyle Okposo has eight points (2+6) in his last eight games.
  • Casey Mittelstadt enters tonight’s game on a four-game point streak, totaling five points (3+2) and a plus-three rating during that span. A point tonight would give Mittelstadt the longest point streak of his career.
  • Entering play Wednesday, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 6:14 of penalty time per game. Buffalo has been assessed 237 total penalty minutes this season, 11 fewer than the closest team, the New Jersey Devils.

KEEPIN’ IT 100

  • With a goal and an assist at New Jersey on Tuesday, Rasmus Dahlin enters today’s game one point shy of 100 career points. With 179 games played, Dahlin is on pace to become the second-fastest Sabres defenseman to reach the milestone after making his NHL debut with the team, second only to Phil Housley, who recorded his 100th point in his 106th game.
  • Dahlin, who turns 21 on April 13, is also on pace to become the youngest Swedish defenseman in NHL history and the second-youngest Sabres blueliner to reach 100 career points, trailing only Housley (19 years, 273 days).
  • With his next point, Dahlin will become the first defenseman and third player from the 2018 NHL Draft to record 100 career points (Andrei Svechnikov, Brady Tkachuk).
  • Dahlin’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 (13th), .46 A/GP (5th), .55 PTS/GP (5th).
  • Dahlin’s power-play production positions him among the top 20 defensemen in franchise history with eight goals (T-16th), 40 assists (14th) and 48 points (15th).

BRICK WALL

  • Since returning to the lineup on March 27, Linus Ullmark has a 3-1-1 record with a .921 save percentage and a 2.57 goals-against average.
  • Among goaltenders who have played at least 10 games this season, Ullmark ranks sixth in the NHL with a .938 5-on-5 save percentage.*
  • Ullmark ranks sixth in the NHL at goals saved above average at 5-on-5 (7.97).*
  • His .875 save percentage when facing high-danger chances at 5-on-5 ranks eighth in the league.*
  • A win tonight would give Ullmark wins in four consecutive starts for the second time in his career and the first since he won four consecutive starts from Dec. 11, 2018 to Jan. 3, 2019.

*Stats courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com

HOT AGAINST NEW JERSEY

  • Sam Reinhart has five points (3+2) in five games against the Devils this season. In his last nine games against New Jersey, Reinhart has totaled nine points (7+2) and recorded 24 shots.
  • Victor Olofsson has recorded five points (2+3) in seven games against New Jersey this season. Olofsson’s nine career points (5+4) against the Devils are his most against any opponent.
  • Rasmus Dahlin has totaled seven points (2+5) in seven outings against the Devils this season and has 12 points (2+10) in 11 career games against New Jersey. Dahlin’s 12 career points are his most against a single opponent.
  • Linus Ullmark is 4-0-0 with a .939 save percentage and a 2.04 goals-against average against the Devils this season. With a win tomorrow, Ullmark would earn his sixth career victory against New Jersey, his most against any opponent.
  • Brandon Montour has five points (1+4) in seven games against the Devils this season. His four assists are his most against any opponent.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen totaled three points (2+1) in four games against the Devils this season. Ristolainen leads all Sabres in time on ice per game played against New Jersey with 25:52.

HOME-AND-HOME

  • Tonight’s game wraps up Buffalo’s second of two home-and-home sets this season (both against the Devils), which began with 5-3 win on Tuesday in New Jersey.
  • The Sabres have played in 168 previous home-and-home series in franchise history, going 94-50-24 (.631) in the home games and 58-80-30 (.435) in the road games in the previous series.
  • The team is 73-66-29 (.521) all-time in the first game of the previous series and 79-64-25 (.545) in the second.
  • Buffalo’s points breakdown in these previous series is as follows: four points (32), three points (26), two points (67), one point (17), zero points (26).
  • With a win tonight, the Sabres would have their first home-and-home sweep since winning both games against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 19 and 22, 2019.
  • Buffalo took three of a possible four points in their first home-and-home series of the season against the Devils on Feb. 23 and 25.

PK PROWESS

  • The Sabres have been perfect on the penalty kill in 19 of their 38 games played this season, including five of their last eight.
  • Cody Eakin is eighth in the league with a 57.6 shorthanded faceoff win percentage (min. 30 faceoffs)
  • Jacob Bryson is tied with Riley Sheahan for the lead among all Sabres with 2:32 of shorthanded ice time per game.
  • Jacob Bryson leads all NHL rookies who have played in at least two game this season with 2:32 of shorthanded ice time per game. Bryson is one of five rookies to have a shorthanded point this year, tied for second with one assist (March 18 vs. Boston).

RISTO IN THE RECORD BOOK

  • With his goal on April 6 at New Jersey, Rasmus Ristolainen took sole possession of the eighth-most goals by a defenseman in Sabres history. He now trails Richard Smehlik by one goal 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 six 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 (11th)

BUF-NJD CONNECTIONS

  • Devils defenseman Dmitry Kulikov spent the 2016-17 season with the Sabres, recording five points (2+3) in 47 games.
  • Devils Head Coach Lindy Ruff played for the Sabres for 10 seasons (1979-80 to 1988-89) after being drafted by the team in the second round (32nd overall) of the 1979 NHL Draft. Ruff recorded 285 points (102+183) in 608 games as a defenseman and served as the team’s captain his final three years with the club. He would return to Buffalo to serve as the team’s head coach for the 1997-98 season, holding that role until 2013. As the team’s coach, Ruff amassed a 571-432-162 record and won the Jack Adams Award at the conclusion of the 2005-06 season as the league’s top coach. His 571 regular-season wins and 101 playoff wins as a head coach both remain the most in franchise history.
  • Devils assistant coach Chris Taylor spent 15 years with the Sabres organization as both a player and a coach. As a player, Taylor split time between Buffalo and Rochester from 1999-2000 to 2005-06 before joining the Americans again from 2009-2011. He served as a development coach and then assistant coach from 2011-12 to 2015-16 before returning to be the team’s head coach from 2017-18 to 2019-20.
  • Sabres forward Taylor Hall played for the Devils for parts of four seasons from 2016-17 to 2019-20. Hall totaled 208 points (76+132) in 211 games with the team and won the Hart Memorial Trophy at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season.
  • Devils forward Miles Wood was born in Buffalo and is the son of former Sabre Randy Wood.
  • Sabres forwards Taylor Hall and Sam Reinhart won a gold medal with Devils defenseman Ryan Murray for Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres forwards Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner played for Team Canada with Devils defenseman K. Subban at the 2013 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres defenseman Henri Jokiharju and Devils forward Janne Kuokkanen both played for Finland’s team at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Sabres forward Kyle Okposo and Devils forward Kyle Palmieri both played for the United States National Team at the 2012 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres forward Sam Reinhart and defenseman Brandon Montour and Devils defenseman Damon Severson and goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood were all on Canada’s silver-medal-winning roster at the 2019 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen both played for Finland’s national team at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
  • Sabres forward Jeff Skinner and Devils forward Travis Zajac played for Team Canada together at the 2011 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres forward Jeff Skinner and Devils defenseman Ryan Murray were both on Canada’s roster at the 2012 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres forward Tage Thompson and Devils defenseman Will Butcher won a bronze medal together while representing the United States at the 2018 IIHF World Championship.
  • Sabres forward Tage Thompson is the brother of Devils forward Tyce Thompson.

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

  • Montour: 2 SHG (T-2), 2 SHP (T-8); Okposo: 2 SHP (T-8)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (118), Miller (72), Lazar (64)
Blocked Shots: Montour (49), Irwin (38), Miller/Ristolainen (36)
Shots: Hall (88), Olofsson (86), Reinhart (75)

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: 3-3-2 (8), 22/25, 2/17, 25/29

OVERTIME RESULTS (0-4; 126-138 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)
April 1 vs. NYR: L 3-2 (GWG Zibanejad, 4:32)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (3-2; 80-73 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)
April 3 vs. NYR: W 3-2 (GDG-Thompson)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Victor Olofsson … 2 games played … 100 games played

Goals
Rasmus Ristolainen … 1 goal … 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 … 9 assists … 100 career assists

Points
Rasmus Dahlin … 1 point … 100 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
N/A

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