Game Preview: 4/17/21 vs. Pittsburgh

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Thursday, April 15
Buffalo 5 at Washington 2
Goals: Reinhart, Olofsson, Mittelstadt, Bjork, Thompson
Goalie: Tokarski (27 saves/29 shots)
PP: 0/2; PK: 3/3; Shots: Buffalo 30 – Washington 29

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 213)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 43 games
William Borgen (forearm, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 29 games
Jake McCabe (knee, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 29 games
Jack Eichel (neck, March 9; injured reserve) – 20 games
Carter Hutton (lower body, March 24) – 13 games
Riley Sheahan (upper body, April 15) – 1 game
Linus Ullmark (lower body, April 15) – 1 game
Kyle Okposo (upper body, April 15) – 0 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
4/12: Acquired F Anders Bjork and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft from the Boston Bruins in exchange for F Taylor Hall and F Curtis Lazar
4/15: Recalled G Michael Houser from the taxi squad
4/17: Recalled F Steven Fogarty from the Rochester Americans (AHL); Reassigned G Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen from Rochester to the taxi squad

 

UPCOMING GAMES
Sunday, April 18: Pittsburgh at Buffalo, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, April 20: Boston at Buffalo, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 22: Boston at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Friday, April 23: Boston at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Sunday, April 25: Buffalo at NY Rangers, 6 p.m.

TODAY’S GAME

PENGUINS at SABRES

  • This is the fifth of eight meetings between the Sabres and Penguins this season.
  • Last meeting: Pittsburgh defeated Buffalo 4-0 in Pittsburgh on March 25.
  • The Sabres are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Penguins; 2-8-0 at home.
  • This is the 199th game all-time between Buffalo and Pittsburgh; Buffalo has a 69-86-43 series record.
  • The Sabres are 42-34-22 at home against the Penguins all-time.

THIS DAY IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 1-1-0 all-time on April 17 (regular season)
  • April 17, 1980: Gilbert Perreault picks up four assists in the Sabres’ 6-4 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in game two of the Stanley Cup Quarterfinals.
  • April 17, 2013: Patrick Kaleta plays his 300th career NHL game in a 3-2 shootout win at Boston.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW.

  • The last nine meetings between the Sabres and Penguins have been won by the team who scored first.
  • Casey Mittelstadt has totaled eight points (6+2) in his last nine games, leading all Sabres in both goals and points during that stretch.
  • Mittelstadt leads Buffalo in both faceoff wins (20) and faceoff percentage (71.4) against Pittsburgh this year. His 71.4 win percentage (20-for-28) at the dot against the Penguins this season is his best against any opponent.
  • Dylan Cozens has recorded a point in each of his last three games (0+4).
  • Rasmus Dahlin has totaled six points (2+4) in his last seven games. Dahlin’s five even-strength points and six total points since April 3 tie him for third and sixth, respectively, among all NHL defensemen during that stretch.

BACK-TO-BACK

Today’s game opens up Buffalo’s 12th of 14 sets of back-to-back games this season, which continues tomorrow afternoon against Pittsburgh. The Sabres are 3-8-0 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 1-9-1 in the second game so far this season. Buffalo’s point breakdown in previous back-to-back sets is: four points (0), three points (1), two points (3), one point (0) and zero points (7).

THREE’S COMPANY

  • In the team’s last six games, the line of Rasmus Asplund, Casey Mittelstadt and Tage Thompson has skated together more than any other forward line at 5-on-5 (56:55). During that time, they have outshot their opponents 34-31, outscored opponents 3-0 and have a 53.4 expected-goals percentage at 5-on-5, according to Natural Stat Trick.
  • The trio has recorded 14 high-danger chances-for and given up only eight high-danger chances-against for a team-leading 63.6 high-danger chances-for percentage (min. 25 minutes TOI)
  • All three players have scored at least twice during the six-game stretch – Asplund on April 6 and 11, Mittelstadt on April 6, 9, 11 and 15, and Thompson on April 8, 9 and 15.

WELCOME TO BUFFALO

ANDERS BJORK

  • The Sabres acquired forward Anders Bjork along with a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft from the Boston Bruins on April 12 in exchange for forwards Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar.
  • Bjork recorded his first point as a Sabre on his first shift of the game on April 13 at Boston with an assist on Colin Miller’s
  • In his second game with the team on Thursday, Bjork scored his first goal as a Sabre and added an assist.
  • Bjork was named to the Hobey Baker Top 10 after his junior season at the University of Notre Dame in 2016-17, during which he tied for ninth in NCAA scoring with 52 points (21+31) in 39 games. He totaled 109 points (40+69) in 115 collegiate contests.
  • The Mequon, Wisconsin native has represented the United States at the IIHF World Championship (2017), the IIHF World Junior Championship (2016) and the IIHF U18 World Championship (2014).

DRAKE CAGGIULA

  • The Sabres claimed forward Drake Caggiula off waivers April 9.
  • In 249 career games with Edmonton, Chicago and Arizona, Caggiula has totaled 83 points (42+41).
  • Caggiula set a career high in points (23) and tied his career high in assists (11) during the 2018-19 season with the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks.
  • Caggiula played four years of collegiate hockey at the University of North Dakota where he totaled 127 points (62+65) in 162 games. He won the 2016 NCAA National Championship with the Fighting Hawks and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

KEEPIN’ IT 100

  • Rasmus Dahlin’s assist on April 8 against New Jersey marked his 100th career NHL point.
  • Dahlin (180 games played) is the second-fastest Sabres defenseman to reach the milestone after making his NHL debut with the team. He is second only to Phil Housley, who recorded his 100th point in his 106th game.
  • Dahlin, who turned 21 on April 13, is now 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 the assist, Dahlin became 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 (12th), .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).

ROAD TO 100 GAMES

  • Victor Olofsson played his 100th career NHL game on April 9.
  • Among players who have debuted with the Sabres, Olofsson’s 19 career power-play goals ties Gilbert Perreault and trails only Rick Martin (23) for the most power-play goals by a Sabre in a player’s first 100 NHL games.
  • Since his NHL debut on March 28, 2019, Olofsson is third on the Sabres in goals (34) and points (71). He leads the team with 19 power-play goals and ranks second with 31 power-play points.
  • Olofsson’s 19 power-play goals ties him for ninth in the NHL since his debut.
  • His 0.69 points per game ranks sixth among players selected in the 2014 NHL Draft.

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 four 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 (14th), .37 A/GP (15th), .45 PTS/GP (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 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 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 Tobias Rieder played with Penguins forward Mark Jankowski in Calgary in 2019-20.
  • Sabres forward Sam Reinhart and Penguins forward Jared McCann were 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 AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings entering play Friday)

  • Okposo: 2 SHP (T-9th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (141), Miller (82), Dahlin (58)
Blocked Shots: Miller (45), Irwin (43), Ristolainen (43)
Shots: Olofsson (101), Reinhart (87), Dahlin (81)

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: 3-5-2 (8), 28/35, 3/23, 28/34
41-50: 2-0-1 (5), 12/7, 0/8, 4/5

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 (3-3; 80-74 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)
April 13 at BOS: L 3-2 (GDG-Coyle)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
N/A
Goals
Rasmus Ristolainen … 1 goal … 47 career goals (T-7th in franchise history, defensemen)
Kyle Okposo … 2 goals … 200 career goals
Assists
Rasmus Ristolainen … 6 assists … 200 career assists
Colin Miller … 8 assists … 100 career assists
Points
N/A

RECENT MILESTONES
Arttu Ruotsalainen … First NHL goal … April 11 at PHI

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