Game Preview: 4/18/21 vs. Pittsburgh


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Saturday, April 17
Buffalo 3 vs. Pittsburgh 2
Goals: Thompson, Mittelstadt
Goalie: Tokarski (38 saves/41 shots)
PP: 1/1; PK: 1/2; Shots: Pittsburgh 41 – Buffalo 30

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 221)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 44 games
William Borgen (forearm, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 30 games
Jake McCabe (knee, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 30 games
Jack Eichel (neck, March 9; injured reserve) – 21 games
Carter Hutton (lower body, March 24) – 14 games
Riley Sheahan (upper body, April 15) – 2 games
Linus Ullmark (lower body, April 15) – 2 games
Kyle Okposo (cheek, April 17) – 1 game

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
4/18: Recalled D Mattias Samuelsson from the Rochester Americans (AHL); Reassigned F Steven Fogarty to the taxi squad; Reassigned F C.J. Smith to Rochester


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.
Tuesday, April 27: Buffalo at NY Rangers, 7 p.m.


  • This is the sixth of eight meetings between the Sabres and Penguins this season.
  • Last meeting: Pittsburgh defeated Buffalo 3-2 in Buffalo on April 17.
  • The Sabres are 3-7-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Penguins; 2-8-0 at home.
  • This is the 200th game all-time between Buffalo and Pittsburgh; Buffalo has a 69-87-43 series record.
  • The Sabres are 42-35-22 at home against the Penguins all-time.


  • The Sabres are 2-1-1 all-time on April 18 (regular season)
  • April 18, 1999: Dominik Hasek records his ninth shutout of the season, turning away all 25 Washington shots in a 3-0 home win.
  • April 18, 2006: Martin Biron stops all 33 Hurricanes shots in 4-0 victory at Carolina as the Sabres win their then-franchise record 52nd game of the season.


  • The last ten meetings between the Sabres and Penguins have been won by the team who scored first.
  • Casey Mittelstadt has totaled nine points (7+2) in his last ten games and leads all Sabres in both goals and points during that stretch.
    • At the conclusion of yesterday’s game, Mittelstadt was tied for sixth in the NHL with six goals during the month of April.
  • Mittelstadt leads Buffalo in both faceoff wins (26) and faceoff percentage (66.7) against Pittsburgh this year. His 66.7 win percentage (26-for-39) at the dot against the Penguins this season is his best against any opponent.
  • Dylan Cozens has four assists in his last four games.
  • After yesterday’s game, Rasmus Dahlin’s five even-strength points and six total points since April 3 tied him for fifth and seventh, respectively, among all NHL defensemen during that stretch.
  • Tage Thompson’s second-period goal yesterday gives him goals in consecutive games for the second time this season (Last: April 8 and 9).

Today’s game wraps up Buffalo’s 12th of 14 sets of back-to-back games this season, which began yesterday with a 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh. The Sabres are 3-9-0 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).


  • In the team’s last seven games, the line of Rasmus Asplund, Casey Mittelstadt and Tage Thompson has skated together more than any other forward line at 5-on-5 (67:40). During that time, they have outshot their opponents 41-38, outscored opponents 4-0 and have a 54.6 expected-goals percentage at 5-on-5, according to Natural Stat Trick.
  • The trio has recorded 16 high-danger chances-for and given up only nine high-danger chances-against for a 64.0 high-danger chances-for percentage.
  • All three players have scored at least twice during the seven-game stretch – Asplund on April 6 and 11, Mittelstadt on April 6, 9, 11, 15, and 17 and Thompson on April 8, 9, 15 and 17.
  • Mittelstadt (5+1) leads the Sabres in points during the stretch, while Thompson (4+1) is tied for second and Asplund (2+2) is tied for fourth. The trio are also the team’s three leaders in plus/minus since April 6.



  • 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).


  • 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.


  • 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 three 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)


  • 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 following Saturday’s game)

  • Okposo: 2 SHP (T-10th)

Hits: Ristolainen (144), Miller (83), Dahlin (59)
Blocked Shots: Miller (48), Ristolainen (46), Irwin (43)
Shots: Olofsson (104), Reinhart (91), Dahlin (84)

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: 2-1-1 (5), 14/10, 1/9, 5/7

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
Rasmus Ristolainen … 1 goal … 47 career goals (T-7th in franchise history, defensemen)
Kyle Okposo … 2 goals … 200 career goals
Rasmus Ristolainen … 5 assists … 200 career assists
Colin Miller … 8 assists … 100 career assists


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