Game Preview: 5/4/21 vs. NY Islanders


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Monday, May 3
NY Islanders 2 at Buffalo 4
Goals: Reinhart (2), Thompson, Asplund
Goalie: Houser (34 saves/36 shots)
PP: 1/3; PK: 1/1; Shots: Buffalo 40 – Islanders 36

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 279)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 53 games
Jake McCabe (knee, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 39 games
Jack Eichel (neck, March 9; injured reserve) – 30 games
Carter Hutton (lower body, March 24) – 23 games
Linus Ullmark (lower body, April 15) – 11 games
Kyle Okposo (cheek, April 17) – 10 games
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (lower body, May 3) – 1 game
Dustin Tokarski (undisclosed, May 3) – 1 game

5/3: Recalled G Michael Houser; Signed G Stefanos Lekkas to a professional tryout contract; Reassigned F C.J. Smith to the taxi squad; Reassigned F Jean-Sebastien Dea to the Rochester Americans (AHL)
5/4: Signed G Stefanos Lekkas to a one-year contract; Reassigned F Brett Murray to the taxi squad

Thursday, May 6: Buffalo at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 8: Buffalo at Pittsburgh, 3 p.m.


  • This is the eighth and final meeting between the Sabres and Islanders this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated New York 4-2 in Buffalo on May 3.
  • The Sabres are 1-8-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Islanders; 4-6-0 at home.
  • This is the 181st game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo has an 83-72-25 series record.
  • The Sabres are 47-31-12 at home against the Islanders all-time.


  • The Sabres have never played a regular-season game on May 4.
  • May 4, 2007: Chris Drury scores the game-tying goal with :08 remaining in the third period and Maxim Afinogenov nets the game-winner 4:39 into overtime to give the Sabres a 3-2 series lead in their Eastern Conference Semifinal series with the Rangers.


  • Buffalo’s penalty kill is 25-for-28 (89.3%) in the team’s last 16 games against the Islanders dating back to April 2, 2017.
  • The Sabres are looking for consecutive home wins against the Islanders for the first time since they won three in a row from Dec. 27, 2008 to Nov. 4, 2009.
  • The Sabres used their sixth different goalie of the season in last night’s game. It is just the third time in franchise history Buffalo has had six different goalies play at least one game (1988-89, 2013-14).
  • Michael Houser earned his first-career NHL victory in his first NHL appearance last night. He’s just the seventh Sabres goalie to win their NHL debut and first since Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen April 23.
  • Sam Reinhart has scored eight goals in his last six games.
    • Reinhart has recorded six of the Sabres’ eight multi-goal performances this season and is the only Sabre to have two three-point games.
  • Casey Mittelstadt has recorded six points (2+4) in his last six games. He has totaled 16 points (9+7) in his last 19 games dating back to March 31.
    • His nine goals are second on the team in that span, trailing only Sam Reinhart (13).
  • Since making his NHL debut on April 9, Arttu Ruotsalainen is tied for fourth among rookies in goals (5) and tied for 10 in points (6).
  • Rasmus Asplund enters the game riding a career-high three-game point streak (1+2).
  • Following Monday’s game, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 6:18 of penalty time per game. Buffalo’s 334 total penalty minutes are the fewest in the NHL.

Today’s game wraps up the final of Buffalo’s 14 sets of back-to-back games this season, which began last night in Buffalo with a 4-2 win against the Islanders. The Sabres are 4-10-0 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 3-9-1 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 (5), one point (0) and zero points (7).


  • Sam Reinhart enters tonight’s game with 14 points (11+3) in his last 11 games dating back to April 15. His 11 goals since April 15 leads the NHL and his 14 points tie for 7th.
  • Reinhart recorded 15 points (10+5) in 16 games during the month of April, leading the team in both goals and points during that stretch.
    • Reinhart tied for fifth in the NHL with 10 goals during the month of April.
  • Reinhart has 25 goals in 50 games this season, tying his career high, which he set in 82 games during the 2017-18 season. He is one of 15 players in franchise history to have at least five 20-goal seasons with the Sabres.
  • Reinhart is one of five players in the league this season to score double digit even-strength and power-play goals.
  • Outside of a stretch from March 11 to 18, Reinhart has not gone more than two consecutive games without a point this season.


  • 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 one point 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 (13th)


  • Sabres forward Anders Bjork played for Team USA at the 2017 IIHF World Championship with Islanders forward Brock Nelson.
  • Sabres forward Cody Eakin won a silver medal for Team Canada with Islanders forward Casey Cizikas at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and Islanders forward Leo Komarov both played for Finland’s National Team at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
  • Sabres forward Jeff Skinner and Islanders forward Jordan Eberle played for Team Canada together at three consecutive IIHF World Championships: in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Islanders forwards Cal Clutterbuck and Travis Zajac were also on the 2011 roster.
  • Jeff Skinner won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Championship. Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz was one of Canada’s assistant coaches at the tournament.
  • Sabres forward Sam Reinhart played for Team Canada with Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Islanders director of goaltending Mitch Korn was the Sabres’ goaltending coach from 1990-91 to 1997-98.
  • Islanders assistant video coordinator Corey Smith was the Sabres’ video coach in 2014-15 and 2015-16. He is the brother of current Sabres video coordinator Kyle Smith and the son of former Sabre Derek Smith.

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league-leaders following Monday’s game)

  • Reinhart: 25 G (T-7), 10 PPG (T-4th)
  • Ristolainen: 176 Hits (5th)

Hits: Ristolainen (178), Miller (86), Dahlin (74)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (61), Miller (50), Jokiharju (47)
Shots: Reinhart (123), Olofsson (121), Dahlin (111)

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: 4-5-1 (9), 29/32, 6/33, 17/22
51-56: 1-2-0 (2), 8/13, 1/7, 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 Dahlin … 6 games … 200 career games

Rasmus Ristolainen … 1 goal … 47 career goals (T-7th in franchise history, defensemen)

Rasmus Ristolainen … 3 assists … 200 career assists
Colin Miller … 7 assists … 100 career assists

Rasmus Ristolainen … 1 point … 244 career points (T-6th in franchise history, defensemen)
Sam Reinhart … 5 points … 300 career points

Michael Houser … 1st NHL win … May 3

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