Author Archives: chrisdierken


BUFFALO, N.Y. (December 31, 2018) — The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has recalled forward C.J. Smith from the Rochester Americans (AHL).

In his second full professional season, Smith (5’11”, 181 lbs., 12/1/1994) is currently tied for the Amerks’ team lead with 29 points (13+16) in 33 games this season. In his last 10 games for Rochester, Smith has recorded 11 points (6+5) and 38 shots on goal, propelling him into a tie for third in the AHL with 108 shots on goal this season.

In 2017-18, Smith tied for 10th among AHL rookies with 44 points (17+27) in 57 games and was named MVP of the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic. The Des Moines, Iowa native recorded one assist in two NHL contests in 2016-17 after the conclusion of his three-year collegiate career at UMass-Lowell, where he was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team in 2015 and garnered Hockey East All-Tournament honors in 2016 and 2017.


BUFFALO, N.Y. (December 19, 2018) — The Buffalo Sabres today announced that forward Patrik Berglund has been placed on unconditional wavers with the intent to terminate his contract. There will be no further information or comment at this time.

Game Preview: 12/18/18 vs. Florida


Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

Sunday, December 16
Buffalo 4 at Boston 2
Goals: Skinner (2), Eichel (2)
Goalie: Ullmark (35 saves/37 shots)
PP: 0/1; PK: 2/2; Shots: Boston 37 – Buffalo 27

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 134)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Scott Wilson (ankle, Oct. 4; injured reserve) – 34 games
Jake McCabe (upper body, Nov. 29; injured reserve) – 8 games
Casey Nelson (upper body, Dec. 8; injured reserve) – 5 games
Lawrence Pilut (lower body, Dec. 15; injured reserve) – 2 games
Nathan Beaulieu (lower body, Dec. 16) – 1 game

12/12: Assigned D Matt Hunwick to Rochester (AHL) on a conditioning loan
12/15: Recalled D Matt Hunwick from his conditioning loan in Rochester (AHL); Activated D Marco Scandella from IR
12/16: Recalled D Brendan Guhle from Rochester (AHL); Placed D Lawrence Pilut on IR
12/17: Assigned D Matt Tennyson to Rochester (AHL)

Friday, Dec. 21: Buffalo at Washington, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 22: Anaheim at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 27: Buffalo at St. Louis, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 29: Boston at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 31: NY Islanders at Buffalo, 6 p.m.


  • This is the second of four meetings between the Sabres and Panthers this season.
  • Last meeting: Florida defeated Buffalo 3-2 (OT) in Florida on Nov. 30
  • Next meeting: Thursday, Jan. 3 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Panthers; 3-7-0 at home.
  • This is the 98th game all-time between Buffalo and Florida; Buffalo has a 48-40-9 series record.


  • The Sabres are 11-2-3 all-time on December 18.
  • December 18, 1975: Rick Martin scores two goals in the first minute and completes his hat trick in the third period in a 5-2 home win for the Sabres over the Minnesota North Stars.
  • December 18, 1985: Dave Andreychuk, Mike Ramsey and Don Lever all score in the third period to spark a 5-4 come-from-behind Sabres victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.


  • The Sabres are 7-3-2 against the Atlantic Division this season.
  • With losses in their last six games against Florida, Buffalo needs a win tonight to avoid the team’s first-ever seven-game winless streak against the Panthers.
  • Jack Eichel enters tonight’s contest on a six-game point streak (9+4). He was named the NHL’s Third Star for the week ending Dec. 16 with nine points (5+4) in four games.
  • Jeff Skinner has points in six straight games (4+3) for the first time since he tallied points in seven in a row from March 16 to 27, 2017.


  • Carter Hutton is 2-0-0 in three career appearances against the Panthers with a .957 save percentage and a 1.22 goals-against average.
  • Sam Reinhart has 13 points (8+5) in 14 career games against the Panthers, including points in each of the last four meetings (3+2). His .93 points per game against Florida trail only his rate against Nashville (6+1 in 7 GP) for his best against any NHL team.
  • Conor Sheary has totaled seven points (2+5) in seven career matchups with Florida.
  • Vladimir Sobotka has tallied six assists in his last seven meetings with the Panthers.
  • Jeff Skinner has recorded six points (5+1) in his last six games against Florida.


  • The Sabres have killed off their opponents’ last 18 power plays dating back to Dec. 3 at Nashville. It’s the Sabres’ best penalty-killing stretch since the team killed 19 consecutive penalties from Feb. 12 to 28, 2017.
    • The team last killed 20 or more consecutive penalties when they killed 23 straight from Jan. 10 to 25, 2016.
  • Buffalo is a perfect 17-for-17 on the penalty kill in the team’s last six games dating back to Dec. 4 vs. Toronto. If they do not allow a power-play goal tonight, it will be the first time the team has gone seven games without surrendering a power-play goal since Oct. 24 to Nov. 7, 2015.
    • During this six-game stretch, the Sabres’ goaltenders have turned aside 25 shots on the power play and the team has killed off 26:18 of power-play time.
  • On the season, the Sabres have killed 83 of the team’s 100 shorthanded situations (83.0%), ranking them fifth in the league entering play Monday.


  • The Sabres are 6-7-2 this season when trailing after two periods. Entering play Monday, their six wins when trailing after 40 minutes tied for second-most in the league and their .400 win percentage in those games ranked second.
  • Buffalo’s six wins when trailing after two have already surpassed last season’s total and leave the team three third-period comebacks shy of the franchise record of nine set in the 2005-06 season.


  • The Sabres are 11-2-5 in one-goal games so far this season. Buffalo last won more than half of its one-goal games in a season in 2011-12 (21-9-11).
  • The team’s current .611 winning percentage in one-goal games would be the seventh-best mark in franchise history and would be the Sabres’ best record in one-goal games since 1989-90 (18-6-3, .667).


  • The Sabres are 8-5 in games that have been tied after regulation this season, including a 5-4 record in overtime and a 3-1 record in shootouts. Their five overtime wins have already matched their overtime win total from last season (5-10) and their three shootout wins are the team’s highest total since 2014-15 (8-5).
  • Jeff Skinner entered play Monday tied for the league lead with three overtime goals this season. Skinner’s total through 34 games matches the Sabres’ single-season record shared by Daniel Briere (2006-07) and Derek Roy (2009-10) and ties him for 10th-most career overtime goals in franchise history.


  • Sam Reinhart enters tonight’s game on a career-best 10-game point streak (5+11), topping his previous career high of five games set from Dec. 20 to 29, 2017. It was the third-longest active streak in the NHL entering play Monday, trailing only Mikko Rantanen and Alex Ovechkin (14 games each), and the longest by a Sabre since the 2016-17 season.
  • Reinhart has recorded 29 points (8+21) in his last 27 games, including 10 multi-point games during that stretch. With 10 multi-point games through 34 games played this season, he has matched his career-high 10 in a season.
  • The Sabres are 15-3-3 this season when Reinhart records at least one point and 26-3-6 (.829) in his career when he records at least two.


  • Jack Eichel recorded his 17th multi-point game of the season on Sunday at Boston (2+2). He has now recorded two points in seven of his last nine games.
  • Entering play Monday, Eichel’s 17 multi-point games tied for the league lead this season. Through 34 games, he is one shy of his career-high 18 in a season.

Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner are currently on pace to shatter their personal bests in points and make a mark in the Sabres’ record books on the strength of career-best production at even strength that ranks them among the best even-strength players in the league this season.

  • If he maintains his current pace, Eichel would finish the season with the second-most even-strength points ever recorded by a Sabre (82), trailing only Pat LaFontaine (83) in 1992-93, and would top LaFontaine’s franchise-record 52 even-strength assists that season. He would also become the first Sabre to record more than 95 points since the 1992-93 season (LaFontaine/Mogilny/Hawerchuk).
  • Skinner is currently on pace to log the second-highest goal total in Sabres history (58), trailing only Mogilny in 1992-93 (76). His 43 even-strength goals would finish behind only Mogilny’s even-strength total from 1992-93 (49) and Rick Martin’s 44 in 1973-74 for most in team history.
Player/Season GP G A PTS ES G ES A ES P
Eichel Career High (2017-18) 67 25 39 64 22 20 42
Eichel 2018-19 34 14 31 45 11 23 34
Eichel 2018-19 (Pace) 82 34 75 109 27 55 82
Skinner Career High (2016-17) 79 37 26 63 30 18 48
Skinner 2018-19 34 24 11 35 18 7 25
Skinner 2018-19 (Pace) 82 58 27 84 43 17 60

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 12/17 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 45 PTS (T-4th), 83.0% PK% (5th), 20 W (T-6th)
  • Eichel: 148 S (1st), 34 EVP (T-2nd), 23 EVA (3rd), 31 A (T-5th), 45 P (T-6th)
  • Hutton: 13 W (T-7th)
  • Ristolainen: 25:52 TOI/GP (4th), 109 hits (5th)
  • Skinner: 6 GWG (T-1st), 3 OTG (T-1st), plus-21 (T-1st), 18 EVG (2nd), 24 G (2nd), 6 PPG (T-9th)

Former Sabres:

  • Panthers Head Coach Bob Boughner played for the Sabres for three seasons (1995-1998), recording 13 points (2+11) in 177 games played.
  • Panthers D Mark Pysyk spent the first four years of his career (2012-2016) with the Sabres organization after being selected by Buffalo in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft. He recorded 26 points (5+21) in 125 games played with the team.

Nathan Beaulieu:

  • Won a bronze medal with Panthers F Jonathan Huberdeau and D Mark Pysyk while representing Canada at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Zach Bogosian:

  • Played with Panthers G Michael Hutchinson in Winnipeg

 Jack Eichel:

  • Played for Team North America with Panthers D Aaron Ekblad and F Vincent Trocheck at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

 Phil Housley:

  • Coached Panthers F Vincent Trocheck at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship. The duo won a gold medal together for the United States.

 Matt Hunwick:

  • Played for the Rangers with Panthers D Keith Yandle.
  • Played with Panthers G James Reimer in Toronto.
  • Won a bronze medal for Team USA with Panthers F Nick Bjugstad at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.

 Kyle Okposo:

  • Played for the Islanders with Panthers F Michael Haley.
  • Played with Panthers D Keith Yandle for Team USA at the 2010 IIHF World Championship.

 Sam Reinhart:

  • Played for Team Canada with Panthers D Aaron Ekblad at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Won a gold medal with Panthers D Mike Matheson while representing Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.

 Rasmus Ristolainen:

  • Has represented Finland in international play with Panthers F Aleksander Barkov on three separate occasions: at the 2012 and 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships and at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Jeff Skinner:

  • Played for Team Canada with Panthers G James Reimer at the 2011 IIHF World Championship.
  • Won a silver medal with Panthers D Mike Matheson while representing Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.

Steve Smith:

  • Was a scout for the Blackhawks when Panthers F Troy Brouwer was playing in Chicago.

Hits: Ristolainen (109), Girgensons (54), Okposo (44)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (63), Bogosian (58), McCabe (44)
Shots: Eichel (148), Skinner (102), Ristolainen (86)

1-10: 6-4-0 (12), 26/28, 8/38, 22/30
11-20: 6-2-2 (14), 35/27, 4/28, 26/29
21-30: 5-3-2 (12), 31/32, 5/28, 23/29
31-40: 3-0-1 (7), 14/10, 4/13, 12/12

OVERTIME RESULTS (5-4; 118-125 all-time)
Oct. 27 at CBJ: L, 5-4 (GWG-Panarin, 0:31)
Oct. 30 vs. CGY: L, 2-1 (GWG-Gaudreau, 2:40)
Nov. 8 at MTL: W, 6-5 (GWG-Ristolainen, 1:38)
Nov. 19 at PIT: W, 5-4 (GWG-Eichel, 0:45)
Nov. 23 vs. MTL: W, 3-2 (GWG-Skinner, 3:06)
Nov. 27 vs. SJS: W, 3-2 (GWG-Skinner, 1:41)
Nov. 30 at FLA: L, 3-2 (GWG-Barkov, 2:26)
Dec. 4 vs. TOR: L, 4-3 (GWG-Matthews, 4:57)
Dec. 11 vs. LAK: W, 4-3 (GWG-Skinner, 1:49)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (3-1; 73-67 all-time)
Nov. 10 vs. VAN: W, 4-3 (GDG-Mittelstadt)
Nov. 16 at WPG: W, 2-1 (GDG-Sheary)
Nov. 24 at DET: W, 3-2 (GDG-Reinhart)
Dec. 15 at WSH: L, 4-3 (GDG-Ovechkin)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Remi Elie … 2 games … 100 career games played
Vladimir Sobotka … 6 games … 500 career games played
Jason Pominville … 1 goal … 211 goals with Sabres (T-11th in franchise history)
Sam Reinhart … 1 assist … 100 career assists
Kyle Okposo … 5 assists … 300 career assists
Matt Hunwick … 8 assists … 100 career assists
Jason Pominville … 3 points … 511 points with Sabres (T-8th in franchise history)



BUFFALO, N.Y. (December 17, 2018) — The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has assigned defenseman Matt Tennyson to the Rochester Americans (AHL).


BUFFALO, N.Y. (December 12, 2018) — The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has assigned defenseman Matt Hunwick to the Rochester Americans (AHL) on a conditioning loan.