Category Archives: Game Preview

Game Preview: 2/18/21 at Washington

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Tuesday, February 16
NY Islanders 3 at Buffalo 0
Goals: N/A
Goalie: Hutton (21 saves/23 shots)
PP: 0/2; PK: 2/2; Shots: NY Islanders 24 – Buffalo 20

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 34)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 12 games
Dylan Cozens (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 2 games
Curtis Lazar (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 2 games
Casey Mittelstadt (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 2 games
Brandon Montour (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 2 games
Rasmus Ristolainen (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 2 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
2/12: Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned F C.J. Smith from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/13: Reassigned F Steven Fogarty, F C.J. Smith and D Jacob Bryson from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/15: Recalled F Steven Fogarty, D William Borgen and D Brandon Davidson from the taxi squad; Reassigned F Rasmus Asplund and F Andrew Oglevie from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad
2/16: Recalled F Rasmus Asplund from the taxi squad; Loaned F Steven Fogarty and D Brandon Davidson to the taxi squad
2/17: Loaned F Rasmus Asplund and D William Borgen to the taxi squad; Reassigned F Steven Fogarty, F Andrew Oglevie, F C.J. Smith and D Jacob Bryson to Rochester (AHL)
2/18: Recalled D William Borgen from the taxi squad; loaned F Casey Mittelstadt to the taxi squad

UPCOMING GAMES
Saturday, Feb. 20: Buffalo at New Jersey, 12:30 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 22: Buffalo at NY Islanders, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 23: Buffalo at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 25: New Jersey at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 28: Philadelphia at Buffalo, 3 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at CAPITALS

  • This is the fifth of eight meetings between the Sabres and Capitals this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Washington 4-3 (SO) in Washington on Jan. 24
  • Next meeting: Monday, March 15 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Capitals; 1-6-3 on the road.
  • This is the 168th game all-time between Buffalo and Washington; Buffalo has a 91-54-22 series record.
  • The Sabres are 42-29-13 on the road against the Capitals all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 6-5-4 all-time on February 18.
  • February 18, 1971: Ron Anderson and Phil Goyette both contribute three points as the Sabres erase a 3-0 deficit following the first period to earn a 6-6 tie with Pittsburgh.
  • February 18, 2017: Rasmus Ristolainen records his 100th NHL point in a 3-2 win vs. St. Louis, becoming the third-youngest Sabres defenseman ever to reach that milestone.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Four of the nine games between these teams since the beginning of the 2018-19 season have gone to a shootout, including each of the last two.
  • The Sabres’ special teams are plus-8 this season, with 13 goals for and five goals against. Entering play Wednesday, they were tied with the Boston Bruins for the second-best differential in the league, trailing only the Colorado Avalanche (plus-11).
  • Victor Olofsson has recorded five points (3+2) in his last five games against Washington, including a point in both games of the series between the teams on Jan. 22 and 24 (1+1).
  • Jack Eichel has posted 10 points (3+4) in 10 games against the Capitals since the beginning of the 2017-18 season.
  • Eric Staal scored in both of the Sabres’ last two games against Washington on Jan. 22 and 24.

SEASON SERIES
Tonight’s game is the fifth of eight meetings between the Sabres and Capitals this season. The Sabres are 1-2-1 through the first four. Washington has won three of the first four games despite the Sabres having the edge in underlying 5-on-5 possession metrics:

5-on-5 Shots 5-on-5 Shot Attempts 5-on-5 Scoring Chances
Date BUF WSH BUF WSH BUF WSH
Jan. 14 19 21 35 33 16 13
Jan. 15 22 21 36 34 15 12
Jan. 22 22 25 49 42 19 12
Jan. 24 27 19 50 39 15 20
Total 90 86 170 148 65 57
Percentage 51.1% 48.9% 53.5% 46.5% 53.3% 46.7%

(All data courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com)

DRAWING ATTENTION

  • Entering play Wednesday, the Sabres ranked second in the NHL with a team faceoff percentage of 54.7 percent.
  • The Sabres were the only team whose top four faceoff takers (Jack Eichel, Eric Staal, Cody Eakin and Riley Sheahan) all had a faceoff percentage of at least 50 percent entering play Wednesday. All four Sabres are currently on pace for career-high faceoff percentages.
  • Eichel ranked seventh in in the NHL in faceoffs taken per game (20.4) and eighth in faceoffs won per game (11.0) entering play Wednesday.
  • Entering play Wednesday, Sheahan ranked seventh among all players with at least 30 faceoffs taken this season with a win percentage of 61.2 percent (52-for-85).

POWER UP

  • Buffalo entered play Wednesday with the fifth-ranked power play in the league. The team has scored on 13 of its 43 power play opportunities this season for a 30.2 percent conversion rate.
  • The Sabres have scored at least one power-play goal in six of their last seven games, going 10-for-26 (38.5%) in those contests.
  • Before Wednesday’s games, the Sabres led the NHL with nine different players with at least one goal on the power play. Their 10 players with at least one power-play point this season tied for ninth-most in the league.
  • Victor Olofsson entered play Wednesday tied for fourth in the league with four power-play goals and tied for seventh with nine power-play points. His 17 career power-play tallies trailed only David Pastrnak (22) and Leon Draisaitl (20) for the most in the league since he made his NHL debut on March 28, 2019.

KILLING IT

  • Entering play Wednesday, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 5:15 of penalty time per game. At plus-16 (46 drawn/30 taken), the Sabres also had the best penalty differential in the league.
  • The Sabres have killed 16 of their last 18 penalties to improve to 81.5 percent on the penalty kill this season, ranking 11th in the NHL before Wednesday’s games.
  • Through 12 games, Buffalo has allowed just five power-play goals. Entering play Wednesday, the team ranked third in the NHL with .42 power-play goals against per game.

EVEN-STRENGTH IMPROVEMENT
The Sabres have seen a positive trend at even strength through the team’s first 12 games of the season. So far, Buffalo’s 5-on-5 numbers have improved on the team’s per-60 rates from last season in several meaningful categories, including shot differential, shot attempt differential, scoring chance differential, high-danger scoring chance differential and expected goal differential.

Buffalo Sabres at 5-on-5 (via NaturalStatTrick.com as of 2/17)
SF% CF% SCF% HDCF% xGF%
2019-20 48.13 (23rd) 49.13 (19th) 48.73 (20th) 48.19 (25th) 47.56 (25th)
2020-21 49.09 (19th) 50.81 (12th) 50.73 (15th) 54.26 (7th) 51.38 (14th)

BRICK WALL

  • Linus Ullmark stopped all three shooters in Buffalo’s last shootout on Jan. 30 vs. New Jersey to improve to 2-1 with nine saves on 10 attempts this season.
  • Ullmark is 6-3 in shootouts in his career with 30 saves on 35 career shots faced (.857). His six career shootout wins rank him third in franchise history behind Ryan Miller (49) and Jhonas Enroth (10).
  • Entering play Wednesday, Ullmark’s shootout save percentage of .857 ranked second all-time among NHL goaltenders with at least 20 shots faced and first among active NHL goalies.

STAAL-TIME LEADERS

  • Eric Staal scored his 439th career goal on Jan. 30 vs. New Jersey to pass Gary Roberts and improve to 68th on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list. His next goal will tie Rick Tocchet for 67th.
  • Among active players, Staal’s total of 439 career regular-season goals trails only Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Marleau, and Sidney Crosby.
  • The goal was Staal’s 1,026th career point, breaking a tie with Patrik Elias for 82nd-most in NHL history. He is two points behind Brian Leetch for 81st.

WE LIKE EICH

  • Jack Eichel’s goal on Jan. 28 vs. NY Rangers moved him past Jochen Hecht for sole possession of the 19th-most goals in franchise history (139). He now trails Drew Stafford by six goals for 18th.
  • Eichel’s career per-game output ranks in the franchise’s top 15 in every major scoring category (min. 82 GP): .38 G/GP (14th), .57 A/GP (10th), .95 PTS/GP (11th)

RISTO IN THE RECORD BOOK

  • With his goal on Jan. 15 vs. Washington, Rasmus Ristolainen broke a tie with Bill Hajt for the 10th-most goals by a defenseman in Sabres history. He now trails Tyler Myers and Jim Schoenfeld by one goal for eighth-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 11 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), .38 A/GP (12th), .46 PTS/GP (11th)

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 2/17 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 55.7% FOW% (2nd), 30.2% PP% (5th)
  • Olofsson: 4 PPG (T-4th), 9 PPP (T-7th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (35), Lazar (25), Miller (23)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (13), Ristolainen (13), Miller/Montour (12)
Shots: Eichel (42), Olofsson (36), Dahlin (34)

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: 0-2-0 (0), 1/6, 1/4, 3/4

OVERTIME RESULTS (0-1; 126-135 all-time)
Jan. 28 vs. NYR: L, 3-2 (GDG-Lafrenière)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (2-1; 79-72 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)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Cody Eakin … 2 games … 600 career games played
Curtis Lazar … 6 games … 300 career games played
Goals
Rasmus Ristolainen … 1 goal … 45 career goals (T-8th in franchise history, defensemen)
Kyle Okposo … 4 goals … 200 career goals
Assists
Riley Sheahan … 1 assist … 100 career assists
Points
Brandon Montour … 7 points … 100 career points
Wins
Carter Hutton … 6 wins … 100 career wins

RECENT MILESTONES
N/A

Game Preview: 2/16/21 vs. NY Islanders

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Monday, February 15
NY Islanders 3 at Buffalo 1
Goals: Olofsson
Goalie: Ullmark (26 saves/29 shots)
PP: 1/2; PK: 1/2; Shots: NY Islanders 29 – Buffalo 21

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 28)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 11 games
Dylan Cozens (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 1 game
Curtis Lazar (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 1 game
Jake McCabe (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 1 game
Casey Mittelstadt (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 1 game
Brandon Montour (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 1 game
Rasmus Ristolainen (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 1 game

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
2/10: Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned F C.J. Smith from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/11: Reassigned F C.J. Smith from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/12: Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned F C.J. Smith from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/13: Reassigned F Steven Fogarty, F C.J. Smith and D Jacob Bryson from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/15: Recalled F Steven Fogarty, D William Borgen and D Brandon Davidson from the taxi squad; Reassigned F Rasmus Asplund and F Andrew Oglevie from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad
2/16: Recalled F Rasmus Asplund from the taxi squad; Loaned F Steven Fogarty and D Brandon Davidson to the taxi squad

UPCOMING GAMES
Thursday, Feb. 18: Buffalo at Washington, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 20: Buffalo at New Jersey, 12:30 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 22: Buffalo at NY Islanders, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 23: Buffalo at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 25: New Jersey at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
ISLANDERS at SABRES

  • This is the second of eight meetings between the Sabres and Islanders this season.
  • Last meeting: New York defeated Buffalo 3-1 in Buffalo on Feb. 15, 2021.
  • Next meeting: Monday, February 22 in New York
  • The Sabres are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Islanders; 4-6-0 at home.
  • This is the 175th game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo has an 82-67-25 series record.
  • The Sabres are 46-30-12 at home against the Islanders all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 14-4-4 all-time on February 16.
  • February 16, 2004: Miroslav Satan scores a career-high four goals, including his 250th NHL goal and 500th NHL point, leading the Sabres to a 7-2 victory vs. Atlanta.
  • February 16, 2012: Thomas Vanek scores his 225th NHL goal in a 7-2 loss at Philadelphia, passing Miroslav Satan for seventh-most goals in team history. Vanek would finish his time with the Sabres ranked fifth in team history with 254 career regular-season goals.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Buffalo’s penalty kill is 16-for-18 (88.9%) in the team’s last 10 games against the Islanders.
  • Victor Olofsson enters tonight’s game on a career-best, seven-game point streak (3+5).
  • The Sabres’ special teams are plus-8 this season, with 13 goals for and five goals against. Following last night’s game, they were tied with the Boston Bruins for the second-best differential in the league, trailing only the Colorado Avalanche (plus-11).
  • Rasmus Dahlin’s three shots on goal per game tied for fourth among all NHL defensemen at the conclusion of last night’s game.

HOT AGAINST NEW YORK

  • Taylor Hall has recorded 18 points (9+9) in his 17 games against the Islanders dating back to the beginning of the 2013-14 season.
  • Jack Eichel has totaled 10 points (3+7) in his nine meetings with the Islanders since the beginning of the 2017-18 season.
  • Victor Olofsson has scored in three of his four career games against the Islanders.
  • Linus Ullmark is 3-2-1 in six career games against the Islanders with a .922 save percentage and a 2.16 goals-against average.

BACK-TO-BACK
Tonight’s game wraps up Buffalo’s fourth of 12 sets of back-to-back games this season, which began last night with a 3-2 loss vs. NY Islanders. The Sabres are 2-2-0 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 0-3-0 in the second game so far this season. Buffalo’s point breakdown in previous back-to-back sets is: four points (0), three points (0), two points (2), one point (0) and zero points (1).

DRAWING ATTENTION

  • Following last night’s game, the Sabres ranked second in the NHL with a team faceoff percentage of 55.2 percent.
  • The Sabres joined the Anaheim Ducks (Ryan Getzlaf, Derek Grant, Sam Steel, Adam Henrique) as the only teams whose top four faceoff takers (Jack Eichel, Eric Staal, Cody Eakin and Riley Sheahan) all had a faceoff percentage of at least 50 percent at the conclusion of last night’s game. All four Sabres are currently on pace for career-high faceoff percentages.
  • Eichel ranked seventh in in the NHL in faceoffs taken per game (21.0) and fifth in faceoffs won per game (11.3) after last night’s game.
  • After last night’s game, Sheahan ranked fifth among all players with at least 30 faceoffs taken this season with a win percentage of 62.3 percent (48-for-77).

POWER UP

  • Buffalo finished last night’s game with the fifth-ranked power play in the league. The team has scored on 13 of its 41 power play opportunities this season for a 31.7 percent conversion rate.
  • The Sabres have scored at least one power-play goal in each of their last six games, going 10-for-24 (41.7%) in those contests.
  • Following last night’s game, the Sabres led the NHL with nine different players with at least one goal on the power play. Their 10 players with at least one power-play point this season tied for eighth-most in the league.
  • Victor Olofsson finished last night’s game tied for fourth in the league with four power-play goals. His 17 career power-play tallies trailed only David Pastrnak (22) and Leon Draisaitl (20) for the most in the league since he made his NHL debut on March 28, 2019.

PLAYING WITH POWER

  • Victor Olofsson has recorded a power-play point in each of the Sabres’ last six games, totaling seven power-play points in those contests (3+4). His nine power-play points this season (4+5) tied for sixth-most in the league at the conclusion of last night’s game.
  • He is the first NHL player to record power-play points in six straight games since David Pastrnak (Dec. 23, 2019 to Jan. 4, 2020) and the first Sabres player to do so since Daniel Briere (Oct. 20 to Nov. 2, 2005).
  • Only two Sabres have recorded power-play points in more than six consecutive games: Dave Andreychuk (11, Oct. 21 to Nov. 14, 1992) and Pat LaFontaine (8, Jan. 21 to Feb. 4, 1992).

KILLING IT

  • Following last night’s game, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 5:21 of penalty time per game. At plus-16 (44 drawn/28 taken), the Sabres also had the best penalty differential in the league.
  • The Sabres have killed 14 of their last 16 penalties to improve to 80.0 percent on the penalty kill this season, tying for 15th in the NHL as of the conclusion of last night’s game.
  • Through 11 games, Buffalo has allowed just five power-play goals against. Following last night’s game, the team ranked fourth in the NHL with .45 power-play goals against per game.

EVEN-STRENGTH IMPROVEMENT
The Sabres have seen a positive trend at even strength through the team’s first 11 games of the season. So far, Buffalo’s 5-on-5 numbers have improved on the team’s per-60 rates from last season in several meaningful categories, including shot differential, shot attempt differential, scoring chance differential, high-danger scoring chance differential and expected goal differential.

Buffalo Sabres at 5-on-5 (via NaturalStatTrick.com as of 2/15)
SF% CF% SCF% HDCF% xGF%
2019-20 48.13 (23rd) 49.13 (19th) 48.73 (20th) 48.19 (25th) 47.56 (25th)
2020-21 49.12 (20th) 50.22 (15th) 50.27 (17th) 52.63 (11th) 50.51 (18th)

 BRICK WALL

  • Linus Ullmark stopped all three shooters in Buffalo’s last shootout on Jan. 30 vs. New Jersey to improve to 2-1 with nine saves on 10 attempts this season.
  • Ullmark is 6-3 in shootouts in his career with 30 saves on 35 career shots faced (.857). His six career shootout wins rank him third in franchise history behind Ryan Miller (49) and Jhonas Enroth (10).
  • Entering play Sunday, Ullmark’s shootout save percentage of .857 ranked second all-time among NHL goaltenders with at least 20 shots faced and first among active NHL goalies.

STAAL-TIME LEADERS

  • Eric Staal scored his 439th career goal on Jan. 30 vs. New Jersey to pass Gary Roberts and improve to 68th on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list. His next goal will tie Rick Tocchet for 67th.
  • Among active players, Staal’s total of 439 career regular-season goals trails only Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Marleau, and Sidney Crosby.
  • The goal was Staal’s 1,026th career point, breaking a tie with Patrik Elias for 82nd-most in NHL history. He is two points behind Brian Leetch for 81st.

WE LIKE EICH

  • Jack Eichel’s goal on Jan. 28 vs. NY Rangers moved him past Jochen Hecht for sole possession of the 19th-most goals in franchise history (139). He now trails Drew Stafford by six goals for 18th.
  • Eichel’s career per-game output ranks in the franchise’s top 15 in every major scoring category (min. 82 GP): .38 G/GP (14th), .57 A/GP (10th), .96 PTS/GP (11th)

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings after last night’s game)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 55.2% FOW% (2nd), 31.7% PP% (5th), 31.2 S/GP (8th)
  • Olofsson: 4 PPG (T-4th), 9 PPP (T-6th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (35), Lazar (25), Miller (19)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (13), Ristolainen (13), Montour (12)
Shots: Eichel (41), Dahlin (33), Olofsson (33)

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: 0-1-0 (0), 1/3, 1/2, 1/2

OVERTIME RESULTS (0-1; 126-135 all-time)
Jan. 28 vs. NYR: L, 3-2 (GDG-Lafrenière)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (2-1; 79-72 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)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Cody Eakin … 3 games … 600 career games played
Goals
Kyle Okposo … 4 goals … 200 career goals
Assists
Riley Sheahan … 1 assist … 100 career assists
Wins
Carter Hutton … 6 wins … 100 career wins

RECENT MILESTONES
N/A

 

Game Preview: 2/15/21 vs. NY Islanders

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Sunday, January 31
New Jersey 5 at Buffalo 3
Goals: Lazar, Dahlin, Ristolainen
Goalie: Hutton (32 saves/36 shots); 1 ENG
PP: 2/4; PK: 3/3; Shots: New Jersey 37 – Buffalo 33

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 21)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 10 games
Dylan Cozens (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 0 games
Curtis Lazar (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 0 games
Jake McCabe (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 0 games
Casey Mittelstadt (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 0 games
Brandon Montour (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 0 games
Rasmus Ristolainen (COVID protocol, Feb. 15) – 0 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
2/9: Reassigned F Jean-Sebastien Dea from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/10: Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned F C.J. Smith from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/11: Reassigned F C.J. Smith from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/12: Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned F C.J. Smith from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/13: Reassigned F Steven Fogarty, F C.J. Smith and D Jacob Bryson from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad; Reassigned G Dustin Tokarski from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
2/15: Recalled F Steven Fogarty, D William Borgen and D Brandon Davidson from the taxi squad; Reassigned F Rasmus Asplund and F Andrew Oglevie from Rochester (AHL) to the taxi squad

UPCOMING GAMES
Tuesday, Feb. 16: NY Islanders at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 18: Buffalo at Washington, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 20: Buffalo at New Jersey, 12:30 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 22: Buffalo at NY Islanders, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 23: Buffalo at New Jersey, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
ISLANDERS at SABRES

  • This is the first of eight meetings between the Sabres and Islanders this season.
  • Last meeting: New York defeated Buffalo 3-2 (OT) in New York on Dec. 14, 2019.
  • Next meeting: Tuesday, Feb. 16 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Islanders; 4-5-1 at home.
  • This is the 174th game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo has an 82-66-25 series record.
  • The Sabres are 46-29-12 at home against the Islanders all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 10-6-3 all-time on February 15.
  • February 15, 1984: Dave Andreychuk leads the Sabres with three points (0+3) in a 7-4 win against the Boston Bruins. Andreychuk recorded at least three points 70 times during his Sabres career and trails only Gilbert Perreault (111) for most games with at least three points as a member of the Sabres.
  • February 15, 2011: Jhonas Enroth becomes the first goaltender in NHL history to earn his first three career wins via the shootout with a 3-2 shootout win at Montreal.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Buffalo’s penalty kill is 15-for-16 (93.8%) in the team’s last nine games against the Islanders.
  • Victor Olofsson enters today’s game on a six-game point streak (2+5) that ties as the longest of his career.
  • The Sabres’ special teams are plus-8 this season, with 12 goals for and four goals against. Entering play Sunday, they were tied with the Boston Bruins for the second-best differential in the league, trailing only the Colorado Avalanche (plus-11).
  • Rasmus Dahlin’s 3.2 shots on goal per game ranked fifth among all NHL defensemen entering play Sunday.

OH MY GOD, WE’RE BACK AGAIN
The Sabres return to action tonight after a 14-day break since their last game, a 5-3 loss on Jan. 31 vs. New Jersey. The break is the fifth-longest in-season break in Sabres history and the team’s longest ever layoff that is not a result of an Olympic Break.

Longest Breaks Between Sabres Games (excludes first game of season)
Date Opponent Days Off Result Reason
2/25/2014 vs. Carolina 18 3-2 win Olympic Break
2/25/1998 vs. Toronto 17 2-2 tie Olympic Break
3/1/2006 vs. Atlanta 16 4-2 loss Olympic Break
3/2/2010 at Pittsburgh 16 3-2 loss Olympic Break
2/15/2021 vs. NY Islanders 14 TBD COVID-19
2/26/2002 at Atlanta 13 2-1 loss Olympic Break
4/12/1992 vs. Montreal 11 3-1 win 1992 NHLPA Strike
1/29/2019 at Columbus 10 5-4 win Bye Week/All-Star Break
2/14/1979 vs. NY Islanders 9 2-1 win All-Star Break (1979 Challenge Cup)
2/4/2011 at Pittsburgh 9 3-2 loss All-Star Break
1/28/2020 vs. Ottawa 9 5-2 loss Bye Week/All-Star Break
1/27/2015 at Calgary 8 4-1 loss All-Star Break
2/3/2016 at Montreal 7 4-2 win All-Star Break

HOT AGAINST NEW YORK

  • Taylor Hall has recorded 18 points (9+9) in 18 career games against the Islanders, including 10 (4+6) in 10 home games.
  • Jack Eichel has totaled 10 points (3+7) in his eight meetings with the Islanders since the beginning of the 2017-18 season.
  • Colin Miller has recorded four points (1+3) in four games against the Islanders since the beginning of the 2017-18 season.
  • Linus Ullmark is 3-1-1 in five career games against the Islanders with a .928 save percentage and a 1.98 goals-against average.

BACK-TO-BACK
Tonight’s game opens Buffalo’s fourth of 12 sets of back-to-back games this season, which continues tomorrow night vs. NY Islanders. The Sabres are 2-1-0 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 0-3-0 in the second game so far this season. Buffalo’s point breakdown in previous back-to-back sets is: four points (0), three points (0), two points (2), one point (0) and zero points (1).

DRAWING ATTENTION

  • Entering play Sunday, the Sabres ranked second in the NHL with a team faceoff percentage of 55.9 percent.
  • The Sabres joined the Anaheim Ducks (Ryan Getzlaf, Derek Grant, Sam Steel, Adam Henrique) as the only teams whose top four faceoff takers (Jack Eichel, Eric Staal, Cody Eakin and Riley Sheahan) all had a faceoff percentage of at least 50 percent entering play Sunday. All four Sabres are currently on pace for career-high faceoff percentages.
  • Eichel ranked fifth in in the NHL in faceoffs taken (21.3) and faceoffs won (11.6) per game before Sunday’s games.
  • Before Sunday’s games, Sheahan ranked second among all players with at least 30 faceoffs taken this season with a win percentage of 65.2 percent (45-for-69).

POWER UP

  • Buffalo entered play Sunday with the sixth-ranked power play in the league. The team has scored on 12 of its 39 power play opportunities this season for a 30.8 percent conversion rate.
  • The Sabres have scored at least one power-play goal in each of their last five games, going 9-for-22 (40.9%) in those contests.
  • Entering play Sunday, the Sabres led the NHL with nine different players with at least one goal on the power play. Their 10 players with at least one power-play point this season tied for seventh-most in the league.
  • Victor Olofsson leads the team with three power-play goals and entered play Sunday tied for 10th in the league with eight power-play points this season. His 16 career power-play tallies trailed only David Pastrnak (22) and Leon Draisaitl (20) for the most in the league since he made his NHL debut on March 28, 2019.

KILLING IT

  • Entering play Sunday, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 5:30 of penalty time per game. At plus-16 (42 drawn/26 taken), the Sabres also had the best penalty differential in the league.
  • The Sabres have killed 13 of their last 14 penalties to improve to 82.6 percent on the penalty kill this season, ranking 10th in the NHL entering play Sunday.
  • Through 10 games, Buffalo has allowed just four power-play goals against. Entering play Sunday, the team ranked third in the NHL with .40 power-play goals against per game.
  • In the Sabres’ last game on Jan. 31 vs. New Jersey, the penalty kill went 3-for-3 and did not surrender a single shot on goal in 5:09 of shorthanded time.

EVEN-STRENGTH IMPROVEMENT
The Sabres have seen a positive trend at even strength through the team’s first nine games of the season. So far, Buffalo’s 5-on-5 numbers have improved on the team’s per-60 rates from last season in several meaningful categories, including shot differential, shot attempt differential, scoring chance differential, high-danger scoring chance differential and expected goal differential.

Buffalo Sabres at 5-on-5 (via NaturalStatTrick.com as of 2/14)
SF% CF% SCF% HDCF% xGF%
2019-20 48.13 (23rd) 49.13 (19th) 48.73 (20th) 48.19 (25th) 47.56 (25th)
2020-21 49.68 (17th) 50.86 (11th) 51.33 (12th) 54.78 (7th) 51.11 (16th)

Through 10 games this season, the team has led its opponent at 5-on-5 in…

  • shots: four times
  • shot attempts: six times
  • scoring chances: seven times
  • high-danger scoring chances: eight times
  • expected goals: eight times

BRICK WALL

  • Linus Ullmark stopped all three shooters in Buffalo’s last shootout on Jan. 30 vs. New Jersey to improve to 2-1 with nine saves on 10 attempts this season.
  • Ullmark is 6-3 in shootouts in his career with 30 saves on 35 career shots faced (.857). His six career shootout wins rank him third in franchise history behind Ryan Miller (49) and Jhonas Enroth (10).
  • Entering play Sunday, Ullmark’s shootout save percentage of .857 ranked second all-time among NHL goaltenders with at least 20 shots faced and first among active NHL goalies.

STAAL-TIME LEADERS

  • Eric Staal scored his 439th career goal on Jan. 30 vs. New Jersey to pass Gary Roberts and improve to 68th on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list. His next goal will tie Rick Tocchet for 67th.
  • Among active players, Staal’s total of 439 career regular-season goals trails only Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Marleau, and Sidney Crosby.
  • The goal was Staal’s 1,026th career point, breaking a tie with Patrik Elias for 82nd-most in NHL history. He is two points behind Brian Leetch for 81st.

WE LIKE EICH

  • Jack Eichel’s 11 points (2+9) through 10 games tie as his second-best start to a season, trailing only his 14 points (6+8) in the first 10 games of the 2019-20 season.
  • Eichel’s goal on Jan. 28 vs. NY Rangers moved him past Jochen Hecht for sole possession of the 19th-most goals in franchise history (139). He now trails Drew Stafford by six goals for 18th.
  • Eichel’s career per-game output ranks in the franchise’s top 15 in every major scoring category (min. 82 GP): .38 G/GP (14th), .57 A/GP (10th), .96 PTS/GP (11th)

RISTO IN THE RECORD BOOK

  • With his goal on Jan. 15 vs. Washington, Rasmus Ristolainen broke a tie with Bill Hajt for the 10th-most goals by a defenseman in Sabres history. He now trails Tyler Myers and Jim Schoenfeld by one goal for eighth-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 11 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), .38 A/GP (12th), .46 PTS/GP (11th)

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 2/14 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 55.9% FOW% (2nd), 32.2 S/GP (2nd), 30.8% PP% (6th), 82.6 PK% (10th)
  • Olofsson: 8 PPP (T-10th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (35), Lazar (25), Miller (18)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (13), Ristolainen (13), Montour (12)
Shots: Eichel (39), Dahlin (32), Olofsson (30)

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

OVERTIME RESULTS (0-1; 126-135 all-time)
Jan. 28 vs. NYR: L, 3-2 (GDG-Lafrenière)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (2-1; 79-72 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)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Cody Eakin … 4 games … 600 career games played
Curtis Lazar … 6 games … 300 career games played
Goals
Rasmus Ristolainen … 1 goal … 45 career goals (T-8th in franchise history, defensemen)
Kyle Okposo … 4 goals … 200 career goals
Assists
Riley Sheahan … 1 assist … 100 career assists
Points
Brandon Montour … 7 points … 100 career points
Wins
Carter Hutton … 6 wins … 100 career wins 

RECENT MILESTONES
N/A

Game Preview: 2/2/21 at NY Islanders

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Sunday, January 31
New Jersey 5 at Buffalo 3
Goals: Lazar, Dahlin, Ristolainen
Goalie: Hutton (32 saves/36 shots); 1 ENG
PP: 2/4; PK: 3/3; Shots: New Jersey 37 – Buffalo 33

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 21)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 10 games
Sam Reinhart (upper body, Jan. 30) – 2 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
1/31: Recalled F Casey Mittelstadt from the taxi squad
2/1: Reassigned F Jean-Sebastien Dea and F C.J. Smith to the taxi squad; Reassigned F Jack Quinn to Rochester (AHL)

UPCOMING GAMES
Thursday, Feb. 4: Buffalo at NY Islanders, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 6: Buffalo at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 8: Buffalo at Boston, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 11: Washington at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 13: Washington at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at ISLANDERS

  • This is the first of eight meetings between the Sabres and Islanders this season.
  • Last meeting: New York defeated Buffalo 3-2 (OT) in New York on Dec. 14, 2019.
  • Next meeting: Thursday, Feb. 4 in New York
  • The Sabres are 2-6-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Islanders; 3-5-2 on the road.
  • This is the 174th game all-time between Buffalo and New York; Buffalo has an 82-66-25 series record.
  • The Sabres are 36-37-13 on the road against the Islanders all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 9-7-3 all-time on February 2.
  • February 2, 1975: Buffalo records 58 shots on goal and Jerry Korab and Peter McNab each score two goals in the Sabres’ 8-1 victory over the Kansas City Scouts.
  • February 2, 1998: The Sabres defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3, led by Brian Holzinger’s career-high four points (1+3) and a 35-save performance from Steve Shields.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Buffalo’s penalty kill is 15-for-16 (93.8%) in the team’s last nine games against the Islanders.
  • Victor Olofsson enters today’s game on a six-game point streak (2+5) that ties as the longest of his career.
  • The Sabres’ special teams are plus-8 this season, with 12 goals for and four goals against. Entering play Monday, they tied the Boston Bruins for the second-best differential in the league, trailing only the Colorado Avalanche (plus-12).
  • Before Monday night’s games, only Edmonton’s Ethan Bear and Darnell Nurse (9 GF) had been on the ice for more 5-on-5 goals as a pair than Jake McCabe and Rasmus Ristolainen’s eight goals.
  • Rasmus Dahlin’s 32 shots on goal led all NHL defensemen and tied for 12th-most overall entering play Monday.

HOT AGAINST NEW YORK

  • Taylor Hall has recorded 18 points (9+9) in 18 career games against the Islanders, including eight (5+3) in eight road games.
  • Jack Eichel has totaled 10 points (3+7) in his eight meetings with the Islanders since the beginning of the 2017-18 season, including points in all four road games (2+4).
  • Colin Miller has recorded four points (1+3) in four meetings games against the Islanders since the beginning of the 2017-18 season.
  • Victor Olofsson has scored a goal in both of his previous road games against the Islanders.
  • Linus Ullmark is 3-1-1 in five career games against the Islanders with a .928 save percentage and a 1.98 goals-against average.

DRAWING ATTENTION

  • Entering play Monday, the Sabres ranked second in the NHL with a team faceoff percentage of 55.9 percent.
  • The Sabres were the only team whose top four faceoff takers (Jack Eichel, Eric Staal, Cody Eakin and Riley Sheahan) all had a faceoff percentage of at least 50 percent entering play Monday. All four players are currently on pace for career-high faceoff percentages.
  • Eichel tied for second in the NHL in faceoffs taken (213) and ranked third in faceoffs won (116) before Monday’s games.
  • Before Monday’s games, Sheahan ranked third among all players with at least 30 faceoffs taken this season with a win percentage of 65.2 percent (45-for-69).

POWER UP

  • Buffalo entered play Monday with the seventh-ranked power play in the league. The team has scored on 12 of its 39 power play opportunities this season for a 30.8 percent conversion rate.
  • The Sabres have scored at least one power-play goal in each of their last five games, going 9-for-22 (40.9%) in those contests.
  • Entering play Monday, the Sabres led the NHL with nine different players with at least one goal on the power play. Their 10 players with at least one power-play point this season tied for fourth-most in the league.
  • Victor Olofsson leads the team and entered play Monday tied for sixth in the league with three power-play goals this season. His team-high eight power-play points trailed only Connor McDavid (10) and Leon Draisaitl (9). His 16 career power-play tallies trailed only Draisaitl and David Pastrnak (20 each) for the most in the league since he made his NHL debut on March 28, 2019.

KILLING IT

  • Entering play Monday, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL with 5:30 of penalty time per game. At plus-16 (42 drawn/26 taken), the Sabres also had the best penalty differential in the league.
  • The Sabres have killed 13 of their last 14 penalties to improve to 82.6 percent on the penalty kill this season, ranking 10th in the NHL entering play Monday.
  • Through 10 games, Buffalo has allowed just four power-play goals against. Entering play Monday, the team ranked fifth in the NHL with .40 power-play goals against per game.
  • In the Sabres’ last game on Sunday vs. New Jersey, the penalty kill went 3-for-3 and did not surrender a single shot on goal in 5:09 of shorthanded time.

EVEN-STRENGTH IMPROVEMENT
The Sabres have seen a positive trend at even strength through the team’s first nine games of the season. So far, Buffalo’s 5-on-5 numbers have improved on the team’s per-60 rates from last season in several meaningful categories, including shot differential, shot attempt differential, scoring chance differential, high-danger scoring chance differential and expected goal differential.

Buffalo Sabres at 5-on-5 (via NaturalStatTrick.com as of 2/1)
SF% CF% SCF% HDCF% xGF%
2019-20 48.13 (23rd) 49.13 (19th) 48.73 (20th) 48.19 (25th) 47.56 (25th)
2020-21 49.68 (20th) 50.86 (15th) 51.33 (15th) 54.78 (8th) 51.11 (14th)

Through 10 games this season, the team has led its opponent at 5-on-5 in…

  • shots: four times
  • shot attempts: six times
  • scoring chances: seven times
  • high-danger scoring chances: eight times
  • expected goals: eight times

BRICK WALL

  • Linus Ullmark stopped all three New Jersey shooters on Saturday to improve to 2-1 with nine saves on 10 attempts this season.
  • Ullmark is 6-3 in shootouts in his career with 30 saves on 35 career shots faced (.857). His six career shootout wins rank him third in franchise history behind Ryan Miller (49) and Jhonas Enroth (10).
  • Entering play Monday, Ullmark’s shootout save percentage of .857 ranked second all-time among NHL goaltenders with at least 20 shots faced and first among active NHL goalies.

STAAL-TIME LEADERS

  • Eric Staal scored his 439th career goal on Saturday vs. New Jersey to pass Gary Roberts and improve to 68th on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list. His next goal will tie Rick Tocchet for 67th.
  • Among active players, Staal’s total of 439 career regular-season goals trails only Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Marleau, and Sidney Crosby.
  • The goal was Staal’s 1,026th career point, breaking a tie with Patrik Elias for 82nd-most in NHL history. He is two points behind Brian Leetch for 81st.

RISTO IN THE RECORD BOOK

  • With his goal on Jan. 15 vs. Washington, Rasmus Ristolainen broke a tie with Bill Hajt for the 10th-most goals by a defenseman in Sabres history. He now trails Tyler Myers and Jim Schoenfeld by one goal for eighth-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 11 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), .38 A/GP (12th), .46 PTS/GP (11th)

WE LIKE EICH

  • Entering play Monday, Jack Eichel ranked in the NHL’s top 10 in both assists (9, T-7th) and points (11, T-8th).
  • His 11 points (2+9) through 10 games tie as his second-best start to a season, trailing only his 14 points (6+8) in the first 10 games of the 2019-20 season.
  • Eichel’s goal on Thursday vs. NY Rangers moved him past Jochen Hecht for sole possession of the 19th-most goals in franchise history (139). He now trails Drew Stafford by six goals for 18th.
  • Eichel’s career per-game output ranks in the franchise’s top 15 in every major scoring category (min. 82 GP): .38 G/GP (14th), .57 A/GP (10th), .96 PTS/GP (11th)

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 2/1 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 55.9% FOW% (2nd), 30.8% PP% (7th), 32.2 S/GP (7th), 82.6 PK% (10th)
  • Eichel: 116 FOW (3rd), 39 S (T-5th), 7 PPP (T-5th), 9 A (T-7th), 11 PTS (T-8th)
  • Olofsson: 8 PPP (T-3rd), 3 PPG (T-6th)
  • Ristolainen: 35 hits (6th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (35), Lazar (25), Miller (18)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (13), Ristolainen (13), Montour (12)
Shots: Eichel (39), Dahlin (32), Olofsson (30)

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

OVERTIME RESULTS (0-1; 126-135 all-time)
Jan. 28 vs. NYR: L, 3-2 (GDG-Lafrenière)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (2-1; 79-72 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)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Cody Eakin … 4 games … 600 career games played
Curtis Lazar … 6 games … 300 career games played
Goals
Rasmus Ristolainen … 1 goal … 45 career goals (T-8th in franchise history, defensemen)
Kyle Okposo … 4 goals … 200 career goals
Assists
Riley Sheahan … 1 assist … 100 career assists
Points
Brandon Montour … 7 points … 100 career points
Wins
Carter Hutton … 6 wins … 100 career wins

RECENT MILESTONES
N/A

Game Preview: 1/31/21 vs. New Jersey

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Saturday, January 30
New Jersey 3 at Buffalo 4 (SO)
Goals: Staal, Rieder, Olofsson; GDG-Eichel
Goalie: Ullmark (31 saves/34 shots)
PP: 1/5; PK: 4/5; Shots: New Jersey 34 – Buffalo 31

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 19)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zemgus Girgensons (hamstring, Jan. 14; injured reserve) – 9 games
Sam Reinhart (upper body, Jan. 30) – 1 game

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
1/25: Loaned G Jonas Johansson to the taxi squad; Reassigned F Rasmus Asplund and G Dustin Tokarski from the taxi squad to Rochester (AHL)
1/26: Recalled F Dylan Cozens from the taxi squad; Loaned F Casey Mittelstadt to the taxi squad
1/31: Recalled F Casey Mittelstadt from the taxi squad

UPCOMING GAMES
Tuesday, Feb. 2: Buffalo at NY Islanders, 6 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 4: Buffalo at NY Islanders, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 6: Buffalo at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 8: Buffalo at Boston, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 11: Washington at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

TODAY’S GAME
DEVILS at SABRES

  • This is the second of eight meetings between the Sabres and Devils this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated New Jersey 4-3 (SO) in Buffalo on Jan. 30
  • Next meeting: Saturday, Feb. 20 in New Jersey
  • The Sabres are 5-5-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Devils; 4-5-1 at home.
  • This is the 161st game all-time between Buffalo and New Jersey; Buffalo has a 79-55-26 series record.
  • The Sabres are 44-27-11 at home against the Devils all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 14-7-1 all-time on January 31.
  • January 31, 1974: Rick Martin scores the first penalty shot goal in team history against Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Bernie Parent in a 4-3 road loss.
  • January 31, 1989: Mike Foligno scores his fifth hat trick as a Sabre and Pierre Turgeon records four assists, including his 100th NHL point, in a 5-3 win at Hartford.
  • January 31, 2013: Thomas Vanek ties his career high with his second five-point game (3+2) in a 12-day span, leading the Sabres to a 7-4 win at Boston.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The home team has won the last six meetings between these teams. Since the Devils’ last win at KeyBank Center on Jan. 30, 2018, the Sabres have won four straight games at home against New Jersey, outscoring them 23-7 in those contests.
  • The Sabres enter today’s game with wins in three consecutive matchups with the Devils for the first time since Oct. 23, 2010 to March 26, 2011. A victory today would extend the streak to four wins for the first time since Buffalo won six straight matchups from Feb. 21, 2000 to Feb. 22, 2001.
  • Before Saturday night’s games, only Edmonton’s Ethan Bear and Darnell Nurse (8 GF) have been on the ice for more 5-on-5 goals as a pair than Jake McCabe and Rasmus Ristolainen’s seven goals.

HOT AGAINST NEW JERSEY

  • Jack Eichel has recorded 12 points (6+6) in his 12 career games against the Devils.
  • Rasmus Dahlin has totaled six assists in five career games against New Jersey.
  • Taylor Hall has posted nine points (3+6) in eight career games against the Devils.
  • Jeff Skinner has totaled seven points (3+4) in his last seven matchups with New Jersey.
  • Victor Olofsson has recorded five points (4+1) in three career games against the Devils.
  • Sam Reinhart has scored four goals and recorded 14 shots in his last four games against New Jersey, scoring at least a goal in three of those contests.

GOOD DAY FOR A MATINEE

  • Today’s game is the third of 11 afternoon games for the Sabres this season. They are 2-0-0 in the first two.
  • Buffalo went 7-2-2 in afternoon games during the 2019-20 season, including a 6-2-0 record at home and a 1-0-2 mark on the road.

BACK-TO-BACK
Today’s game wraps up Buffalo’s third of eight sets of back-to-back games this season, which began with a 4-3 shootout win yesterday vs. New Jersey. The Sabres are 2-1-0 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 0-2-0 in the second game so far this season. Buffalo’s point breakdown in previous back-to-back sets is: four points (0), three points (0), two points (1), one point (0) and zero points (1).

EVEN-STRENGTH IMPROVEMENT
The Sabres have seen a positive trend at even strength through the team’s first nine games of the season. So far, Buffalo’s 5-on-5 numbers have improved on the team’s per-60 rates from last season in several meaningful categories, including shot differential, shot attempt differential, scoring chance differential, high-danger scoring chance differential and expected goal differential.

Buffalo Sabres at 5-on-5 (via NaturalStatTrick.com as of 1/30)
SF% CF% SCF% HDCF% xGF%
2019-20 48.13 (23rd) 49.13 (19th) 48.73 (20th) 48.19 (25th) 47.56 (25th)
2020-21 50.98 (15th) 51.80 (14th) 53.56 (11th) 60.48 (4th) 54.79 (7th)

Through nine games this season, the team has led its opponent at 5-on-5 in…

  • shots: four times
  • shot attempts: six times
  • scoring chances: seven times
  • high-danger scoring chances: eight times
  • expected goals: eight times

POWER UP

  • Buffalo finished yesterday’s game with the ninth-ranked power play in the league. The team has scored on 10 of its 35 power play opportunities this season for a 28.6 percent conversion rate.
  • Following yesterday’s game, the Sabres tied for the league lead with seven different players with at least one goal on the power play.
  • Victor Olofsson leads the team and is tied for fourth in the league with three power-play goals this season. At the conclusion of yesterday’s game, his 16 career power-play tallies trailed only Leon Draisaitl and David Pastrnak (20 each) for the most in the league since he made his NHL debut on March 28, 2019.
  • The Sabres have 10 players with at least one power-play point this season, tying for third-most in the league after yesterday’s game.

OUT OF THE BOX

  • At the conclusion of yesterday’s game, the Sabres were the least-penalized team in the NHL at 5:26 of penalty time per game.
  • At plus-15 (38 drawn/23 taken), the Sabres had the best penalty differential in the league following yesterday’s game.

BRICK WALL

  • Linus Ullmark stopped all three New Jersey shooters yesterday to improve to 2-1 with nine saves on 10 attempts this season.
  • Ullmark is 6-3 in shootouts in his career with 30 saves on 35 career shots faced (.857). His six career shootout wins rank him third in franchise history behind Ryan Miller (49) and Jhonas Enroth (10).
  • Following yesterday’s game, Ullmark’s shootout save percentage of .857 ranked second all-time among NHL goaltenders with at least 20 shots faced and first among active NHL goalies.

STAAL-TIME LEADERS

  • Eric Staal scored his 439th career goal yesterday vs. New Jersey to pass Gary Roberts and improve to 68th on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list. His next goal will tie Rick Tocchet for 67th.
  • Among active players, Staal’s total of 439 career regular-season goals trails only Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Marleau, and Sidney Crosby.
  • The goal was Staal’s 1,026th career point, breaking a tie with Patrik Elias for 82nd-most in NHL history. He is two points behind Brian Leetch for 81st.

RISTO IN THE RECORD BOOK

  • With his goal on Jan. 15 vs. Washington, Rasmus Ristolainen broke a tie with Bill Hajt for the 10th-most goals by a defenseman in Sabres history. He now trails Tyler Myers and Jim Schoenfeld by two goals for eighth-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 13 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 (12th), .46 PTS/GP (11th)

WE LIKE EICH

  • With his shootout-winning goal yesterday vs. New Jersey, Jack Eichel joined Jake Guentzel as one of two players to score two shootout goals this season. He became the first NHL player to score two game-deciding goals in 2020-21.
  • Eichel’s goal on Thursday vs. NY Rangers moved him past Jochen Hecht for sole possession of the 19th-most goals in franchise history (139). He now trails Drew Stafford by six goals for 18th.
  • Eichel’s career per-game output ranks in the franchise’s top 15 in every major scoring category (min. 82 GP): .38 G/GP (14th), .57 A/GP (10th), .95 PTS/GP (11th)

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings after yesterday’s game)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 55.7% FOW% (3rd), 28.6% PP% (9th), 32.1 S/GP (9th)
  • Eichel: 32 S (T-5th), 7 A (T-10th), 5 PPP (T-10th)
  • Hall: 8 A (T-6th), 5 PPP (T-10th)
  • Olofsson: 6 PPP (T-3rd), 3 PPG (T-4th)
  • Ristolainen: 31 hits (T-7th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (31), Lazar (24), Miller (18)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (12), Ristolainen (12), Montour (10)
Shots: Eichel (32), Dahlin (28), Olofsson (28)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10: 4-3-2 (10), 27/27, 10/35, 16/20

OVERTIME RESULTS (0-1; 126-135 all-time)
Jan. 28 vs. NYR: L, 3-2 (GDG-Lafrenière)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (2-1; 79-72 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)

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Cody Eakin … 5 games … 600 career games played
Curtis Lazar … 7 games … 300 career games played
Goals
Rasmus Ristolainen … 2 goals … 45 career goals (T-8th in franchise history, defensemen)
Kyle Okposo … 4 goals … 200 career goals
Assists
Riley Sheahan … 1 assist … 100 career assists
Points
Brandon Montour … 7 points … 100 career points
Wins
Carter Hutton … 6 wins … 100 career wins

RECENT MILESTONES
Rasmus Ristolainen … 500th NHL game … Jan. 26 vs. NYR