Game Preview: 5/8/21 at Pittsburgh

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Thursday, May 6
Buffalo 4 at Pittsburgh 8
Goals: Caggiula (2), Thompson, Skinner
Goalie: Houser (26 saves/34 shots)
PP: 1/2; PK: 0/1; Shots: Pittsburgh 34 – Buffalo 23

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 295)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 55 games
Jake McCabe (knee, Feb. 22; injured reserve) – 41 games
Jack Eichel (neck, March 9; injured reserve) – 32 games
Carter Hutton (lower body, March 24) – 25 games
Linus Ullmark (lower body, April 15) – 13 games
Kyle Okposo (cheek, April 17) – 12 games
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (lower body, May 3) – 3 games
Dustin Tokarski (undisclosed, May 3) – 3 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
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 and reassigned F Jean-Sebastien Dea to the taxi squad.

 

TODAY’S GAME

SABRES at PENGUINS

  • This is the eighth and final meeting between the Sabres and Penguins this season.
  • Last meeting: Pittsburgh defeated Buffalo 8-4 in Pittsburgh on May 6.
  • The Sabres are 3-7-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Penguins; 3-5-2 on the road.
  • This is the 202nd game all-time between Buffalo and Pittsburgh; Buffalo has a 70-88-43 series record.
  • The Sabres are 27-53-21 on the road against the Penguins all-time.

THIS DAY IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres have never played a regular-season game on May 8.
  • May 8, 1975: Buffalo defeats Montreal 4-3 in Game 6 to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.
  • May 8, 1980: John Van Boxmeer records two points (1+1) and Bob Sauve turns aside 22 shots to record a shutout in the Sabres’ 2-0 win against the Islanders.
  • May 8, 1998: Geoff Sanderson scores two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, as the Sabres beat the Canadiens 3-2 in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
  • May 8, 2006: Ryan Miller stops 43 shots and Jochen Hecht scores the game-winning goal in the Sabres’ 2-1 victory against Ottawa as Buffalo takes a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres are 25-17-7 all-time in the final game of the regular season, including an 8-5-2 record since 2005-06.
  • 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).
    • No other team has used six goalies this season. Ottawa has used five, no other team has used more than four.
  • Sam Reinhart has scored eight goals in his last eight games.
    • Reinhart has recorded six of the Sabres’ 10 multi-goal performances this season and is the only Sabre to have two three-point games.
  • Casey Mittelstadt has recorded seven points (2+5) in his last eight games. He has totaled 17 points (9+8) in his last 21 games dating back to March 31.
    • His nine goals are second on the team in that span, trailing only Sam Reinhart (13).
  • Drake Caggiula (2+1) and Jeff Skinner (1+1) each have points in consecutive games.
  • Colin Miller enters tomorrow’s game with an assist in each of his last three games played. A point tomorrow would give him points in four straight games for the first time since he had a six-game point streak from Oct. 17 to 31, 2017.
  • Since making his NHL debut on April 9, Arttu Ruotsalainen is tied for fourth among rookies with five goals.
  • Since joining the Sabres, Anders Bjork has totaled six points (3+3) in 14 games, surpassing his total with Boston this season in 16 fewer games.
  • Jeff Skinner recorded his 100th point as a Sabre (61+39) with a power-play goal Thursday night.
  • 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 the second Sabre to do so this season (Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen – April 23).
  • Entering play Friday, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 6:08 of penalty time per game. Buffalo’s 338 total penalty minutes are the fewest in the NHL.

SAM I AM

  • Sam Reinhart enters this afternoon’s game with 14 points (11+3) in his last 13 games dating back to April 15. His 11 goals since April 15 leads the NHL and his 14 points tie for 10th.
  • 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 53 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 and one of 26 players to score 25 or more goals at for least two seasons as a Sabre.
  • Reinhart ranks in the top 10 in the league in goals (25, 10th), road goals (15, T-2nd) and power-play goals (10, T-5th).
  • Reinhart is one of five players in the league this season to score double digit even-strength and power-play goals.

LEADERS AGAINST THE PENGUINS

  • Tage Thompson (3+1, 5 GP) and Victor Olofsson (2+2, 7 GP) lead all Sabres with four points against the Penguins this season. Thompson’s three goals pace all Buffalo skaters.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen leads players on both teams with 39 hits and 14 blocked shots. His three assists and average time on ice of 21:58 leads all Sabres players.
  • Casey Mittelstadt is 49-for-78 at the faceoff dot earning him a win percentage of 62.8, tops among Sabres who have taken a minimum of eight draws. His 62.8 win percentage is his best against any opponent this season.

CAREER YEARS

Despite the shortened 56-game season, several Sabres have tied or set new career highs.

  • Sam Reinhart tied his career high in both goals (25) and game-winning goals (5) in 53 games this season. Reinhart needs three points tomorrow to establish a new career high in points per game.
  • In 37 games this year, Tage Thompson set career highs in goals (8), points (14) and power-play goals (2). His six assists tied his career high.
  • Rasmus Asplund set career highs in goals (7), assists (4), points (11) and game-winning goals (2) in 27 games.
  • Casey Mittelstadt 55 points per game is the highest of his career in seasons that he has played at least seven games. Despite playing in only 40 games this season, Mittelstadt sits just three points of tying his career high of 25, which he set in 77 games during the 2018-19 season.
  • Victor Olofsson set a career high with eight power-play assists.
  • Jacob Bryson’s 13 blocked shots against Pittsburgh are his most against any opponent this season.

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 second assist on May 6 at Pittsburgh moved him past Bill Hajt for the sixth-most career points recorded by a Sabres defenseman. He currently trails Jerry Korab by 38 points for fifth-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 sits one assist shy of 200 for his career. His 199 assists are good for seventh most among defensemen in franchise history, three shy of Bill Hajt for sixth-most.
  • 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 (12th)

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-leaders entering play Friday)

  • Reinhart: 25 G (10th), 10 PPG (T-5th)
  • Ristolainen: 190 Hits (4th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (190), Miller (88), Dahlin (78)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (66), Jokiharju (50), Miller (50)
Shots: Reinhart (129), Olofsson (127), Dahlin (113)

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: 2-3-0 (4), 15/24, 2/10, 6/9

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 … 4 games … 200 career games
Goals
Rasmus Ristolainen … 1 goal … 47 career goals (T-7th in franchise history, defensemen)
Assists
Rasmus Ristolainen … 1 assists … 200 career assists
Colin Miller … 5 assists … 100 career assists
Points
Sam Reinhart … 5 points … 300 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
Michael Houser … First NHL win … May 3 vs. NYI
Brett Murray … First NHL game … May 6 at PIT
Rasmus Ristolainen … 246 career points (6th in franchise history, defensemen) … May 6 at PIT
Jeff Skinner … 100 points as a Sabre … May 6 at PIT

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