Game Preview: 5/6/21 at Pittsburgh


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Tuesday, May 4
NY Islanders 3 at Buffalo 4 (SO)
Goals: Bjork (2), Eakin; GDG – Bjork
Goalie: Houser (45 saves/48 shots)
PP: 0/1; PK: 1/1; Shots: NY Islanders 48 – Buffalo 31

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 287)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 54 games
Jake McCabe (knee, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 40 games
Jack Eichel (neck, March 9; injured reserve) – 31 games
Carter Hutton (lower body, March 24) – 24 games
Linus Ullmark (lower body, April 15) – 12 games
Kyle Okposo (cheek, April 17) – 11 games
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (lower body, May 3) – 2 games
Dustin Tokarski (undisclosed, May 3) – 2 games

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.
5/6: Recalled F Brett Murray; Reassigned F Jean-Sebastien Dea to the taxi squad


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


  • This is the seventh of eight meetings between the Sabres and Penguins this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Pittsburgh 4-2 in Buffalo on April 18.
  • The Sabres are 3-7-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Penguins; 3-5-2 on the road.
  • This is the 201st game all-time between Buffalo and Pittsburgh; Buffalo has a 70-87-43 series record.
  • The Sabres are 27-52-21 on the road against the Penguins all-time.


  • The Sabres have never played a regular-season game on May 6.
  • May 6, 1975: Craig Ramsay scores the game-tying goal with 5:25 left in the third period and Rene Robert scores 5:56 into overtime to help the Sabres defeat the Canadiens 5-4.
  • May 6, 1980: Gilbert Perreault (3+1) and Derek Smith (2+2) each record four points in the Sabres’ 7-4 victory over the Islanders.
  • May 6, 2007: Jochen Hecht scores two goals and Daniel Briere tallies three assists in the Sabres’ 5-4 series-clinching win over the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.


  • The Sabres used their sixth different goalie of the season in their game on May 3. It is just the third time in franchise history Buffalo has had six different goalies play at least one game (1988-89, 2013-14).
  • Sam Reinhart has scored eight goals in his last seven games.
    • Reinhart has recorded six of the Sabres’ nine 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 seven games. He has totaled 16 points (9+7) in his last 20 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 10th in points (6).
  • Rasmus Asplund has recorded three points (1+2) in his last four games.
  • Since joining the Sabres, Anders Bjork has totaled six points (3+3) in 13 games, surpassing his total with Boston this season in 17 fewer games.
  • Jeff Skinner’s next point will be his 100th as a Sabre.
  • Entering play Wednesday, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 6:13 of penalty time per game. Buffalo’s 336 total penalty minutes are the fewest in the NHL.


  • Michael Houser earned his first-career NHL victory in his first NHL appearance May 3. He’s just the seventh Sabres goalie to win their NHL debut and first since Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen April 23.
  • If he starts tomorrow, Michael Houser will look to become the third goaltender in franchise history to win his first three career starts. He would be the first to do so since Daren Puppa won his first three starts from Nov. 1 to 10, 1985.
  • With a win tomorrow, Houser would become the second goaltender in the NHL this season to win his first three career starts, joining Florida’s Spencer Knight.
  • Houser’s 79 saves in his first two career starts are the most by a goaltender in franchise history. He trails only Steve Shields (99), Nathan Lieuwen (88), Jacques Cloutier (85) and Linus Ullmark (80) for the most saves by a goaltender in franchise history through their first three career starts.


  • Sam Reinhart enters tonight’s game with 14 points (11+3) in his last 12 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.
  • His 15 road goals this season are tied for third most in the NHL and he is tied for fifth in the league with 10 power-play goals.
  • 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.


  • Victor Olofsson leads all Sabres with four points (2+2) in six games played against the Penguins this season.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen leads players on both teams with 31 hits. His average time on ice of 22:01 leads all Sabres players.
  • Jacob Bryson’s 11 blocked shots against Pittsburgh lead the Sabres and are his most against any opponent this season.
  • Casey Mittelstadt is 41-for-60 at the faceoff dot earning him a win percentage of 68.3, tops among Sabres who have taken a minimum of eight draws. His 68.3 win percentage is his best against any opponent this season.


  • Rasmus Asplund set a career high in goals (4), assists (3) and points (7) on the road this season.
  • Colin Miller recorded seven points (4+3) in 22 games on the road this season, his best as a Sabre.
  • Casey Mittelstadt’s 13 points (4+9) mark a career high in road games.
  • Sam Reinhart’s 15 road goals in 26 games this season ties his career-high set in 2017-18 when he played in all 41 Sabres road contests.


  • 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), .36 A/GP (15th), .45 PTS/GP (14th)


  • 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-leaders entering play Wednesday)

  • Reinhart: 25 G (9th), 10 PPG (T-5th)
  • Ristolainen: 182 Hits (T-4th)

Hits: Ristolainen (182), Miller (87), Dahlin (75)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (62), Jokiharju (50), Miller (50)
Shots: Olofsson (125), Reinhart (125), Dahlin (112)

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: 2-2-0 (4), 11/16, 1/8, 6/8

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)
May 4 vs. NYI: W 4-3 (GDG-Bjork)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Rasmus Dahlin … 5 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 … 6 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 … First NHL win … May 3

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