Ralph Krueger Interview – The Howard Simon Show (10/9/19)

October 9, 2019

Ralph Krueger

The Howard Simon Show (8 a.m.)

https://wgr550.radio.com/media/audio-channel/10-09-sabres-head-coach-ralph-krueger-howard-and-jeremy (13:15)

Howard Simon: Ralph, it’s Howard and Jeremy. Good morning. How are you today, sir?

Ralph Krueger: I’m very good, thank you. Good morning to you Howard and Jeremy and to all your listeners.

HS: I wanted to start off our conversation with something you talked about yesterday. The process that you’re in, this deep process of, you know, the players learning your principles and all the teaching you guys are doing. I don’t mean for you to tell me, “Yeah Howard, by game 16 it’ll be in place.” But what is that process like? How involved in that and how are they coming along as you observe it as the head coach of this team?

RK: Well we really went through training camp in a heavy teaching process where we were splitting sessions in half so we could teach between, after 30 minutes, go back on the ice, and now we’re just deep in the core principles and the concepts. Every game is an opportunity for us to learn from, and we’ll be doing that right through the season. As a coach, you don’t really know exactly which direction the group’s going to need direction in or where we can improve on. It’s just been so much fun working with the guys because of their involvement and their interest to actually learn and grow. Yesterday we did some very good sessions where we could take things out of the Columbus game that should make us a better team tonight. That process, to tell you the truth, will probably never end because we’re always going to be looking for improvement. That’s our motto right now, ‘keep the picture small.’ Get ready for Montreal today and think of nothing else but trying to be better tonight than we were last game.

HS: How does the process work when you’re in a pretty hectic part of the schedule – I think it’s 13 games in the first 26 days. With that much activity in terms of games, maybe is it tougher to work on all these things in practice when you’re playing basically every other day?

RK: We’re doing most of the learning off of the ice. It’s video sessions that are quick and short and to the point. We have footage now that we can use and discuss, and we’re making sure the players have a voice in the process so we can understand what they’re thinking and how they’re processing everything. They’re used to the way we’re doing it. The practices are short and sweet. Yesterday we had 30 minutes, and we will be leaving out the pregame skate today to gather energy because of the three in six we have at home now. We want to keep our energy high for what the games will demand. It’s more off the ice really, Howard, that we are doing our work right now.

HS: In terms of teaching this team and all the things you’re going through, one of the things I was curious about you said ‘dialogue,’ ‘an open dialogue.’ The players can certainly ask you a question about a principle you’re teaching, but do they come up with suggestions? And if they do, do you listen to them as a coaching staff? Like, ‘Hey, that’s a good idea. Let’s try this.’

RK: Well more than anything, they’ve really bought into what we are, as coaches, working on and the way we want to go. The players are all in on that. And that hasn’t really been negotiable. It’s been something, through all the conversations in the summer with the players, I was able to feel what the good things were in the past to take with and where the opportunity was. So we had those conversations and that dialogue in the summer before we set the direction. All I can say is the players have been all in. Where you’re going to end up with more individual skills and conversations would be in conversations, especially around the power play. We have so much skill there and we’re working together. It’s a little more strategic as far as tactically you can make adjustments game to game and within the five-man unit what you can do. In the five-on-five game it’s really only about getting it right and trying to be consistent, which we lost a little bit of that in the first period against Columbus. We found our way again through the game and were able to dig a point out, which I was happy to see that. We’re still far from the finished product which is also exciting from a coaching viewpoint.

HS: A year ago this time, of course you weren’t here, we were going through the excitement of getting to watch Rasmus Dahlin in year one as a Buffalo Sabre. Again, since you just got here this season, in a limited amount of time going back to the preseason, through the practices, through the games, through the first three games, what are some of the things you’ve learned about Dahlin and his skill set now that you’ve been around him on a regular basis?

RK: Well first of all, like so many of the players, it’s been exciting to get to know them as people and as Buffalo Sabres. We have done an excellent job in recruiting good people, so that’s number one. He’s very coachable and the skills that lie within him and the potential of him is exciting for all of us. We see the offensive ability that’s there. He will be, with his deception, somebody who will continually excite. It’s also what he’s working on away from the puck and how he wants to participate in our team concept on the defense and how we need to keep the chances to a minimum to have a chance to win every night. We’re excited about how hard he’s working there. For the fans, they love to see the puck time on a Rasmus, that’s why we’re here as coaches to work on that time when we don’t have the puck and how can get it back. On both sides he’s been just a pleasure to work with. What an exciting future he has.

Jeremy White: [Dahlin’s] also got pretty big games coming up. The return to Sweden, I would imagine, he would be really excited for that, for the Global Series coming up.

RK: Yeah, we have five Swedes in our lineup and they’re all really excited about our two games against Tamp Bay at the beginning of November. We haven’t spoken about it that much because, as I’ve already mentioned, I don’t want to repeat it too often, but we’re trying to keep everything really really tight and small and just take care of today, whatever it’s asking. Sweden is hanging in the air. We had organizational and management meetings about that for a few hours yesterday. Jason Botterill called us all together. That’s going to be a wonderful trip, and any Sabres fans that can participate in that or experience Stockholm that time of year against Tamp Bay. Our Swedes, especially, will certainly be flying. Lots of tickets needed there.

JW: Having spent a lot of time internationally, Ralph, with regard to American sports fans have watched the NFL go abroad for a little bit, Mexico City, London, the NBA embroiled in the China thing currently. We’ve seen American sports kind of go outside of the continental U.S. When it comes to the NHL and its reception over there, what have you seen or what do you know about it? How much it means to whether it’s Swedish fans or Germany, the Sabres played in Germany a couple years back. We’ve just seen on and on the leagues continue to seem to want to do this. How much does it mean to people of those countries when the NHL comes in?

RK: It’s like the World Cup of Hockey, World Cup of Football, if you look at how fans look up to that, or the European Championships. The NHL in Europe at any time is the maximum for a hockey fan. They all plan their trips over here to see teams play. The NHL’s followed on a daily basis by all hockey fans in Europe. During the international break, all the leagues break in that exact weekend when we’re there. We will be the spotlight of all of European hockey on the television over there, and/or the people that can come live. It’s a very big event. And again, it’s Super Bowl-like for the actual hockey fans that are able to be a part of it.

HS: I’m trying to help you out here Ralph, for the first game in Sweden, to start an all-Swedish unit, but that means one of your forwards has to be on defense, right?

RK: Yeah, we would need to do that. We will have some fun around that to try to get the Swedes into a good position. Once again, also let’s remember we’ve got Fins we’ve got a Latvian, we’ve got a Czech, and all of them will have followers coming. It’s only an hour flight for all those countries to come into Stockholm. For all of the Europeans, the 10 that we have in the lineup, they’re all quite excited to be going over for that trip.

HS: The other thing I wanted to ask you about before we let you go is Casey Mittelstadt. A young center, trying to find his way coming off of his first full season, which had its ups and downs. What was your message or is your message to a young guy like that? You’ve talked about how in your system, it puts a lot of pressure on the player at center, the man in the middle. So what have you told Casey to try and help his development this season?

RK: Well that’s where Don Granato and now Chris Taylor at the moment filling in are working hard with him on the individual tactics that we need and the technique. To be able to defend in your own end at the speed and the pace of the National Hockey League today is a lot of hard work for the centerman. It sounds like a broken record, but very coachable young man who wants to get better every day. We all know how exciting his offensive upside is. We’re going to continue to let that grow and we’re going to find spaces where he can use it. Without the puck is where you need to be able to play, if we go on the road and you’re up against the top line of the other team, how can you defend? He’s doing really well in his development there. It’s more about our defensive concept. If we want a chance to win every night here in the National Hockey League. As the top teams develop and get warmed up into the season, we’re going to have to be able to defend every night to give ourselves a real chance. we aren’t a team that wants to get into run-and-gun shootouts. We want to have some control over things, and that’s where young players like Casey totally understand that need and are working hard at getting better. It’s the defensive side of the team that I’m so proud about so far. After three games this season and how little we’ve allowed in Pittsburgh, against New Jersey and even in Columbus the other day, they only had 11 or 12 five-on-five really good scoring chances against us in a game where we weren’t happy. Players like Casey are chipping in and working at that. I believe we have the offense to ignite up front if we can take care of our end first.

JW: We’ve got to let you go, it’s a game day. One of these weeks I want to talk to you about the Premier League. Going to want to talk some soccer at some point.

RK: We can have a soccer talk. It’s sure good to be back in hockey.

JW: Any truth to my theory that there are no morning skates because soccer is on early in the morning and it gives you a chance to maybe watch some games. Just saying, it fits into the schedule nicely for you.

RK: I have to tell you, honestly, the Premier League players don’t move the whole day and it was something I really looked with our sports science department at. And also, when I was over in the UK, about how the players prepared for their evening games and how little energy the exerted on game days. You make a joke out of it, but it’s not about watching the football.

JW: That is interesting. I know they do so much with player tracking over there, 90-minute games when you don’t have any substitutions or line changes, the tracking of how far you run. Just the lengths that that’s gone to is really fascinating. 

RK: We’re doing a lot of that here. One of the things that really surprised me positively coming into Buffalo was how excellent the staff was put together already. I walked into a fully functioning high-performance machine here, which has really helped to launch everything in the right direction. We’re very, very advanced here in our sport science and how we use it and how we’re tracking the energy of the players, which is going to be important here as you already mentioned. I think we’ve got like 11 in the next 20 days or something where you really have to manage your energy.

HS: Again, thanks for your time with us this morning, Ralph, good luck tonight against the Canadiens.

RK: Ok, all the best to the listeners and let’s go Sabres.

CONOR SHEARY INJURY UPDATE


After further evaluation, Sabres forward Conor Sheary will be week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

Game Preview: 10/9/19 vs. Montreal

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Monday, October 7
Buffalo 3 at Columbus 4 (OT)
Goals: Johansson, Skinner, Olofsson
Goalie: Ullmark (40 saves/44 shots)
PP: 2/4; PK: 1/3; Shots: Columbus 44 – Buffalo 18

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 12)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zach Bogosian (hip, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 3 games
Matt Hunwick (neck, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 3 games
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (hip; Oct. 3, injured reserve) – 3 games
Brandon Montour (hand, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 3 games
Conor Sheary (upper body) – 0 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
10/3: Recalled F Victor Olofsson and D Henri Jokiharju from Rochester (AHL); Assigned F Jean-Sebastien Dea, F Curtis Lazar and D Lawrence Pilut to Rochester

UPCOMING GAMES
Friday, Oct. 11: Florida at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 14: Dallas at Buffalo, 3 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 16: Buffalo at Anaheim, 10 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 17: Buffalo at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 19: Buffalo at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
CANADIENS at SABRES

  • This is the first of four meetings between the Sabres and Canadiens this season.
  • Last meeting: Montreal defeated Buffalo 7-4 in Montreal on March 23.
  • Next meeting: Thursday, Jan. 30 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 4-4-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Canadiens; 5-3-2 at home.
  • This is the 284th game all-time between Buffalo and Montreal; Buffalo has a 129-113-41 series record.
  • The Sabres are 74-40-27 at home against the Canadiens all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 4-11-2 all-time on October 9.
  • October 9, 1995: Michael Peca scores his first goal as a member of the Sabres in a 5-3 loss at Boston.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • The Sabres are 2-0-1 through three games. It’s the first time Buffalo has started a season with points in three straight games since the team went 4-0-1 through its first five games of the 2009-10 season.
  • Buffalo is looking to start the season with wins in both of the team’s first two home games for the first time since the 2008-09 season, when they won the first three.
  • Through three games, the Sabres have already gotten points from 14 different players this season. Rasmus Dahlin (1+4), Victor Olofsson (3+1) and Sam Reinhart (2+2) have all tallied at least a point in each of the team’s first three contests.
  • The Sabres went 7-4-3 at home against the Atlantic Division last season, including wins against the Canadiens on Oct. 25 and Nov. 23. A win tonight would give the Sabres wins in three straight visits from the Canadiens for the first time since March 12, 2012 to Feb. 7, 2013.

HOT AGAINST MONTREAL

  • Casey Mittelstadt has posted a point in each of his first four career meetings with Montreal (1+3).
  • Jeff Skinner has recorded 19 points (13+6) in 19 games against Montreal since the beginning of the 2013-14 season, including seven points (4+3) in four games against the Canadiens last season.
  • Marcus Johansson (0+4) and Sam Reinhart (2+2) have each totaled four points in their last four games against the Canadiens.
  • Jack Eichel has recorded two points in each of his last three games against Montreal (1+5).
  • Jake McCabe (0+3) and Jimmy Vesey (1+2) each recorded three points in three games against the Canadiens last season.
  • Colin Miller enters tonight’s game with an assist in both of his last two games against Montreal.
  • Rasmus Dahlin recorded an assist in three of four meetings with the Canadiens as a rookie last season.

SLICK VIC

  • Victor Olofsson enters tonight’s game on a career-best three-game point streak after tallying four points (3+1) through Buffalo’s first three games. He skated a career-high 20:54 on Monday at Columbus and scored a goal with 1:14 remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime.
  • All three of Olofsson’s goals this season have come on the power play, giving him sole possession of the league lead in power-play goals entering play Tuesday. He also led all rookies in goals (3), points (4) and shots (9), and led rookie forwards in ice time per game (19:04).
  • Since he made his NHL debut on March 28, 2019 vs. Detroit, no NHL player has scored more power-play goals than Olofsson’s five in nine games played.

PLAYING WITH POWER

  • The Sabres entered play Tuesday with the top-ranked power play in the league, converting on six of their 10 power plays through the first two games of the season (60.0%).
  • According to NaturalStatTrick.com, Buffalo also ranked among the league’s leaders in shot generation with the man advantage, averaging 2.59 shots (3rd) and 4.18 shot attempts (5th) per two minutes of power play time.

LET’S GET DANGEROUS

  • According to NaturalStatTrick.com, the Sabres ranked second in the league entering play Tuesday with a high-danger scoring chance percentage of 70.59%, out-chancing their opponents 24-10 in high-danger situations at 5-on-5 through the team’s first three games.*
  • By this metric, Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner tie to lead all Sabres with three high-danger scoring chances during 5-on-5 play. Skinner tied for ninth in the league with 94 high-danger scoring chances last season.

*A complete definition of scoring chances can be found at http://naturalstattrick.com/glossary.php?teams.

WELCOME TO BUFFALO
The Sabres had five new players on their opening-night roster this season:

Player, Pos. How Acquired Pronunciation Notes
John Gilmour, D Free Agency GIHL-mohr Finished 2018-19 ranked second among AHL defensemen in goals (20) and points (54), earning AHL First-Team All-Star honors.
Marcus Johansson, LW Free Agency joh-HAN-suhn Totaled 30 points (13+17) in 58 games with New Jersey and Boston in 2018-19, adding 11 points (4+7) in 22 playoff games for the Bruins.
Henri Jokiharju, D Trade (CHI) yoh-kee-HAHR-yoo Recorded 12 assists in 38 NHL games as a rookie with Chicago in 2018-19.
Colin Miller, D Trade (VGK) MIH-luhr In two seasons with Vegas (2017-18 and 2018-19), led all Golden Knights defensemen in assists (57) and points (70).
Jimmy Vesey, LW Trade (NYR) VEE-see Has scored 43 of his 50 career goals at even strength and ranked third among Rangers skaters with 31 even-strength points in 2018-19.

2019-20 ROSTER NOTES
Of the 22 players on Buffalo’s roster:

  • Nine were originally drafted by the Sabres — six were first-round selections (Girgensons, 2012; Ristolainen, 2013; Reinhart, 2014; Eichel, 2015; Mittelstadt, 2017; Dahlin, 2018), one was a second-round pick (McCabe, 2012), one was a sixth-round pick (Ullmark, 2012) and one was a seventh-round pick (Olofsson, 2014).
  • Eight were acquired in trades: Jokiharju, Larsson, Miller, Scandella, Sheary, Skinner, Sobotka, Vesey
  • Five were signed as free agents: Gilmour, Hutton, Johansson, Okposo, Rodrigues
  • Seventeen played in Buffalo at some point last season: Dahlin, Eichel, Girgensons, Hutton, Larsson, McCabe, Mittelstadt, Okposo, Olofsson, Reinhart, Ristolainen, Rodrigues, Scandella, Sheary, Skinner, Sobotka, Ullmark
  • Five are new to the Sabres this season: Gilmour, Johansson, Jokiharju, Miller, Vesey

SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres’ league rankings before 10/8 games)

  • Buffalo Sabres: 60.0% PP% (T-1st), 13 GF (2nd), 2 W (T-2nd), 5 PTS (T-2nd)
  • Dahlin: 3 PPP (T-1st), 5 PTS (T-3rd), 4 A (T-3rd), plus-4 (T-4th)
  • Eichel: 3 PPP (T-1st), 58 FO (T-4th), 29 FOW (T-4th)
  • McCabe: 10 BkS (T-1st)
  • Miller: plus-4 (T-4th), 2 PPP (T-8th)
  • Okposo: 1 GWG (T-1st), 73.47 SAT% (8th)
  • Olofsson: 3 PPG (1st), 3 PPP (T-1st), 3 G (T-5th)
  • Sheary: 1 GWG (T-1st), 2 PPP (T-8th)

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (9), Sobotka (9), McCabe (6)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (10), Ristolainen (5), Five Players (3)
Shots: Skinner (12), Ristolainen (10), Olofsson (9)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10: 2-0-1 (5), 13/7, 6/10, 7/10

OVERTIME RESULTS (0-1; 120-129 all-time)
Oct. 7 at CBJ: L, 4-3 (GWG-Texier, 2:08)

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (0-0; 75-69 all-time)
N/A

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Marcus Johansson … 9 games … 600 career games played
Carter Hutton … 10 games … 200 career games played
Assists
Jeff Skinner … 1 assist … 200 career assists
Points
Rasmus Ristolainen … 5 points … 200 career points
Jimmy Vesey … 10 points … 100 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
Colin Miller … 100th NHL point … Oct. 3 at PIT

Game Preview: 10/7/19 at Columbus

GAME-DAY RESOURCES

Game Notes NHL Stats Press Clips

LAST GAME
Saturday, October 5
New Jersey 2 at Buffalo 7
Goals: Olofsson (2), Reinhart (2), Eichel, Okposo, Skinner
Goalie: Hutton (18 saves/20 shots)
PP: 3/4; PK: 2/2; Shots: Buffalo 36 – New Jersey 20

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 8)
Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missed
Zach Bogosian (hip, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 2 games
Matt Hunwick (neck, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 2 games
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (hip; Oct. 3, injured reserve) – 2 games
Brandon Montour (hand, Oct. 3; injured reserve) – 2 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS
10/1: Recalled F Jean-Sebastien Dea, F Curtis Lazar and D Lawrence Pilut from Rochester (AHL); Assigned F Remi Elie, F Curtis Lazar, F Victor Olofsson, F Scott Wilson, D Henri Jokiharju and D Casey Nelson Rochester; Placed D Zach Bogosian, D Matt Hunwick, D Brandon Montour and G Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen on IR
10/3: Recalled F Victor Olofsson and D Henri Jokiharju from Rochester (AHL); Assigned F Jean-Sebastien Dea, F Curtis Lazar and D Lawrence Pilut to Rochester

UPCOMING GAMES
Wednesday, Oct. 9: Montreal at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 11: Florida at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 14: Dallas at Buffalo, 3 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 16: Buffalo at Anaheim, 10 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 17: Buffalo at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.

TONIGHT’S GAME
SABRES at BLUE JACKETS

  • This is the first of three meetings between the Sabres and Blue Jackets this season.
  • Last meeting: Columbus defeated Buffalo 4-0 in Buffalo on March 31
  • Next meeting: Saturday, Feb. 1 in Buffalo
  • The Sabres are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Blue Jackets; 4-5-1 on the road.
  • This is the 33rd game all-time between Buffalo and Columbus; Buffalo has a 12-17-3 series record.
  • The Sabres are 5-8-2 on the road against the Blue Jackets all-time.

THIS DATE IN SABRES HISTORY

  • The Sabres are 7-3-1 all-time on October 7.
  • October 7, 1993: Pat LaFontaine scores twice, including his 100th goal as a member of the Sabres, in a 5-3 win at Boston.
  • October 7, 2011: Ryan Miller appears in his 400th game for the Sabres and Thomas Vanek scores twice as Buffalo tops Anaheim 4-1 in Helsinki, Finland as part of the 2011 NHL Premiere Series.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

  • Through two games, the Sabres have already gotten points from 14 different players this season. Rasmus Dahlin (1+3), Victor Olofsson (2+1) and Sam Reinhart (2+1) have each tallied at least a point in both of the team’s first two contests.
  • The Sabres are 1-0-1 in their last two road games against Columbus and have a chance to earn points in three straight visits for the first time in the all-time series between the teams.
  • Jack Eichel has totaled 12 points (3+9) in 12 career games against the Blue Jackets, including seven points (3+4) in six road games.
  • Jeff Skinner has recorded 20 points (11+9) in 26 career games against the Blue Jackets, including 13 points (6+7) in his last 13 and at least one in each of his last three visits to Columbus (2+2).
  • ­­Evan Rodrigues scored a goal in each of his three career games in Columbus, totaling four points (3+1).
  • Jimmy Vesey totaled four points (3+1) in four games against the Blue Jackets last season.
  • Jake McCabe has recorded five assists in five visits to Columbus in the last three seasons.

STARTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT

  • The Sabres are currently 2-0-0 to start a season for the first time since 2012-13. The team last started the season with at least three consecutive wins in 2008-09, when they won their first four contests and went unbeaten through the first eight (6-0-2).
  • Ralph Krueger has become the fourth Sabres head coach to earn wins in his first two games as the team’s head coach, joining Marcel Pronovost (Oct. 13-15, 1977), Scotty Bowman (Oct. 11-13, 1979) and Jim Roberts (Dec. 9-12, 1981).
  • No Sabres head coach has ever won each of his first three games with the team. However, Bowman won the first three games of his final of four separate tenures as the team’s head coach from Jan. 17 to 22, 1986, making him the only coach in Sabres history to do so in any stint with the team.

CONTROLLING THE PLAY

  • Through six periods this season, the Sabres have yet to be outshot by an opponent in a single period, leading in five periods and tying once. They have held their opponents to fewer than 10 shots in four of those periods.
  • The Sabres have outshot their opponents 77-49 in total and by a 59-36 margin at even strength.
  • Buffalo entered play Sunday trailing only the Nashville Predators with a team SAT% of 60.0%, out-attempting their opponents 99-66 at even strength so far this season.
  • Each of Buffalo’s 18 skaters who have dressed through two games has an individual SAT% of at least 50 percent
  • Kyle Okposo’s team-leading SAT% of 77.14% ranked fifth in the league entering play Sunday and led all players with at least 11 minutes of ice time so far this season. Marco Scandella’s 74.51% SAT% ranked ninth in the league and led all defensemen with more than one game played.

PLAYING WITH POWER

  • The Sabres entered play Sunday with the top-ranked power play in the league, converting on four of their six power plays through the first two games of the season (66.7%).
  • Entering Sunday’s games, Buffalo also led the league in shot generation rate with the man advantage, averaging 3.49 shots per two minutes of power-play time.
  • According to NaturalStatTrick.com, the Sabres are one of two teams who have averaged more than five shot attempts per two minutes of power-play time so far this season.

LET’S GET DANGEROUS

  • According to NaturalStatTrick.com, the Sabres led the league entering play Sunday with a high-danger scoring chance percentage of 76.0%, out-chancing their opponents 19-6 in high-danger situations at 5-on-5 through the team’s first two games.*
  • By this metric, Jeff Skinner leads all Sabres with three high-danger scoring chances during 5-on-5 play. Skinner tied for ninth in the league with 94 high-danger scoring chances last season.
  • Five other players have recorded more than one high-danger scoring chance through the team’s two games: Jack Eichel, Casey Mittelstadt, Victor Olofsson, Rasmus Ristolainen and Vladimir Sobotka.

*A complete definition of scoring chances can be found at http://naturalstattrick.com/glossary.php?teams.

WELCOME TO BUFFALO
The Sabres had five new players on their opening-night roster this season:

Player, Pos. How Acquired Pronunciation Notes
John Gilmour, D Free Agency GIHL-mohr Finished 2018-19 ranked second among AHL defensemen in goals (20) and points (54), earning AHL First-Team All-Star honors.
Marcus Johansson, LW Free Agency joh-HAN-suhn Totaled 30 points (13+17) in 58 games with New Jersey and Boston in 2018-19, adding 11 points (4+7) in 22 playoff games for the Bruins.
Henri Jokiharju, D Trade (CHI) yoh-kee-HAHR-yoo Recorded 12 assists in 38 NHL games as a rookie with Chicago in 2018-19.
Colin Miller, D Trade (VGK) MIH-luhr In two seasons with Vegas (2017-18 and 2018-19), led all Golden Knights defensemen in assists (57) and points (70).
Jimmy Vesey, LW Trade (NYR) VEE-see Has scored 43 of his 50 career goals at even strength and ranked third among Rangers skaters with 31 even-strength points in 2018-19.

2019-20 ROSTER NOTES
Of the 22 players on Buffalo’s opening night roster:

  • Nine were originally drafted by the Sabres — six were first-round selections (Girgensons, 2012; Ristolainen, 2013; Reinhart, 2014; Eichel, 2015; Mittelstadt, 2017; Dahlin, 2018), one was a second-round pick (McCabe, 2012), one was a sixth-round pick (Ullmark, 2012) and one was a seventh-round pick (Olofsson, 2014).
  • Eight were acquired in trades: Jokiharju, Larsson, Miller, Scandella, Sheary, Skinner, Sobotka, Vesey
  • Five were signed as free agents: Gilmour, Hutton, Johansson, Okposo, Rodrigues
  • Seventeen played in Buffalo at some point last season: Dahlin, Eichel, Girgensons, Hutton, Larsson, McCabe, Mittelstadt, Okposo, Olofsson, Reinhart, Ristolainen, Rodrigues, Scandella, Sheary, Skinner, Sobotka, Ullmark
  • Five are new to the Sabres this season: Gilmour, Johansson, Jokiharju, Miller, Vesey

2019 PRESEASON

  • Buffalo finished the preseason with a 4-2-0 record; 3-0-0 at home and 1-2-0 on the road.
  • Jack Eichel led all Sabres with six points (1+5) in three preseason games. Three other players also registered point-per-game totals: Sam Reinhart (3 GP, 2+2), Conor Sheary (2 GP, 1+2) and Victor Olofsson (3 GP, 3+0).
  • Olofsson led the team with three goals in three preseason games.
  • Linus Ullmark led Sabres goaltenders with a .936 save percentage in three appearances.

SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERS
Hits: Ristolainen (9), Sobotka (6), McCabe (5)
Blocked Shots: McCabe (7), Miller/Ristolainen/Scandella (3)
Shots: Skinner (11), Ristolainen (8), Eichel (7)

SABRES’ RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]
1-10: 2-0-0 (4), 10/3, 4/6, 6/7

OVERTIME RESULTS (0-0; 120-128 all-time)
N/A

SHOOTOUT RESULTS (0-0; 75-69 all-time)
N/A

MILESTONES APPROACHING (Player … Needs … Milestone)
Games Played
Carter Hutton … 10 games … 200 career games played
Marcus Johansson … 10 games … 600 career games played
Assists
Jeff Skinner … 1 assist … 200 career assists
Points
Rasmus Ristolainen … 5 points … 200 career points
Jimmy Vesey … 10 points … 100 career points

RECENT MILESTONES
Colin Miller … 100th NHL point … Oct. 3 at PIT

Post-Game Report: 10/5 vs. New Jersey

Final Score

1st 2nd 3rd OT SO Final SOG
Devils
(0-1-1)
0 1 1 2 20
Sabres
(2-0-0)
2 3 2 7 36

Game Summary

Event Summary

 

Top Notes

  • The Sabres’ seven goals tonight are the second-most they’ve scored in a home opener, trailing only their 9-5 victory over the Boston Bruins on Oct. 10, 1974.
  • With a win tonight, Ralph Krueger became the fourth Sabres head coach to earn wins in his first two games as the team’s head coach, joining Marcel Pronovost (Oct. 13-15, 1977), Scotty Bowman (Oct. 11-13, 1979) and Jim Roberts (Dec. 9-12, 1981).
  • Victor Olofsson scored two power-play goals against the Devils, marking the first multi-goal game of his career and giving him points in each of the Sabres’ first two games (2+1).
  • The Sabres’ three power-play goals are the most they’ve scored in a single game since March 31, 2018 at Nashville, in a 7-4 victory where they tallied four goals with an extra attacker.
  • With two points each tonight, Rasmus Dahlin (1+2) and Sam Reinhart (2+1) have both recorded three points in the team’s first two games of the season.
  • Marcus Johansson recorded the primary assist on Jeff Skinner’s second-period goal, marking his first point as a Sabre.

 

Tonight’s Goaltenders

Tonight’s Stats
Team Goaltender Decision SV% GAA
Devils
Blackwood L .806 7.00
Sabres Hutton W .900 2.00

 

Updated Season Stats
Team Goaltender Record SV% GAA
Devils Blackwood 0-1-0 .800 6.59
Sabres Hutton 2-0-0 .939 1.50

 

Post-Game Audio

Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger

Sabres forward Sam Reinhart

Sabres forward Victor Olofsson

Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe

Devils head coach John Hynes

Devils forward Kyle Palmieri

Devils forward Travis Zajac

Devils defenseman Andy Greene