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Buffalo Sabres game preview: 1/12/19 vs. Tampa Bay

STAFF REPORTS


LAST GAME
Friday, January 11
Buffalo 3 at Carolina 4
Goals: Skinner, Pominville, Okposo
Goalie: Hutton (26 saves/30 shots)
PP: 1/4; PK: 2/2; Shots: Buffalo 33 – Carolina 30

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 169)Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missedCasey Nelson (upper body, Dec. 8; injured reserve) – 15 games

TRANSACTIONS IN PAST 7 DAYS1/8: Activated F Zemgus Girgensons from IR; Placed F Jack Eichel on IR; Placed F Scott Wilson on waivers
1/9: Assigned F Scott Wilson to Rochester (AHL)
1/11: Activated F Jack Eichel from IR; Assigned F C.J. Smith to Rochester (AHL)

UPCOMING GAMESMonday, Jan. 14: Buffalo at Edmonton, 9 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 16: Buffalo at Calgary, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 18: Buffalo at Vancouver, 10 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 29: Buffalo at Columbus, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 30: Buffalo at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

TONIGHT'S GAMELIGHTNING at SABRES
  • This is the third of four meetings between the Sabres and Lightning this season.
  • Last meeting: Tampa Bay defeated Buffalo 5-4 in Tampa Bay on Nov. 29, 2018
  • Next meeting: Thursday, Feb. 21 at Tampa Bay
  • The Sabres are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Lightning; 3-5-2 at home.
  • This is the 101st game all-time between Buffalo and Tampa Bay; Buffalo has a 55-37-8 series record.
  • The Sabres are 26-18-5 at home against the Lightning all-time.
THIS DAY IN SABRES HISTORY
  • The Sabres are 11-7-3 all-time on January 12.
  • January 12, 1978: Gilbert Perreault scores all three Sabres goals to collect his fourth hat trick of the season in a 6-3 loss at Cleveland.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
  • The Sabres are 5-2-2 at home against the Atlantic Division this season.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has recorded an assist in four of his last five games against Tampa Bay.
  • Sam Reinhart has recorded five points (4+1) in his last five games against the Lightning.
  • Reinhart has already set career-high totals in assists (31) and multi-point games (13) this season. The Sabres are 17-5-4 this season when he records at least one point and 28-4-6 (.816) in his career when he records at least two.
  • With his 211th goal as a member of the Sabres last night at Carolina, Jason Pominville has tied Alexander Mogilny for 11th-most in franchise history. He now trails 10th-place Don Luce by five goals.
HEY NOW, YOU'RE AN ALL-STAR
  • Jeff Skinner led all Atlantic Division candidates in fan votes during the NHL's "Last Men In" vote to earn a spot on the Atlantic Division All-Star Team. He will make his second All-Star Game appearance and first since his Calder Trophy-winning season in 2010.
  • Skinner will join Jack Eichel, also making his second career All-Star Game appearance, as the first pair of Sabres to appear in an All-Star Game together since the team had three representatives (Daniel Briere, Brian Campbell and Ryan Miller) in 2007.
30 FOR 43
  • Jeff Skinner's goal last night gave him 30 goals for the fourth time in his career. He became the first Sabres player to score 30 goals in a season since Jason Pominville did so in 2011-12.
  • Skinner's 44 games needed to reach the 30-goal mark tied him with Rick Martin in 1971-72 as the sixth-fastest Sabre to score 30. He trailed only Alexander Mogilny (30 GP in 1992-93), Pat LaFontaine (31 GP in 1991-92 and 42 GP in 1992-93), Gilbert Perreault (40 GP in 1977-78) and Rick Martin (41 GP in 1973-74).
HOME COOKINGBuffalo enters tonight's game with a 14-5-3 (.705) record at home. The team's .705 points percentage at home ranked seventh in the NHL after last night's game. It would rank as the Sabres' eighth-best home record ever and would be their best since the 1982-83 season (25-7-8, .725).
BACK-TO-BACKTonight's game wraps up Buffalo's ninth of 16 sets of back-to-back games this season, which began with a 4-3 loss last night at Carolina. The Sabres are 4-4-1 in the first game of back-to-back sets and 5-1-2 in the second game so far this season. Buffalo's point breakdown in their previous back-to-back sets is: four points (3), three points (1), two points (2), one point (2) and zero points (0).
COMEBACK KIDS
  • The Sabres are 6-12-2 this season when trailing after two periods. Their six wins when trailing after 40 minutes tied for second-most in the league after last night's game and their .300 win percentage in those games ranked fourth.
  • 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.
SCORING WHEN IT COUNTS
  • After last night's game, Jeff Skinner's seven game-winning goals tied for the most in the NHL this season. He is the first Sabres player with at least seven game-winners in a season since Derek Roy (9) in 2008-09 and is four shy of matching the single-season franchise record of 11 shared by Danny Gare (1979-80) and Alexander Mogilny (1992-93).
  • Skinner also finished last night's game tied for second in the league with three overtime goals this season. Skinner's total 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.
DAH-LEAN ON MEAfter last night's game, Rasmus Dahlin led rookie defensemen and ranked third among all NHL rookies with 23 points (4+19) this season.
  • With his 20th point in his 37th game on Dec. 22 vs. Anaheim, he became the fourth-fastest 18-year-old defenseman in NHL history to reach the 20-point mark, trailing only Phil Housley (28 GP), Ray Bourque (30 GP) and Aaron Ekblad (34 GP).
  • Only eight defensemen in NHL history have recorded more points before their 19th birthdays than Dahlin's
  • Dahlin's totals put him on pace for 43 points this season. It would trail only Phil Housley (57 points in 1982-83) for most ever by a defenseman before his 19th birthday.
LEADING THE WAY
  • All three of the Sabres' top three scorers are currently on pace to shatter their personal bests in points on the strength of career-best production at even strength that ranks them each among the best even-strength players in the league this season:
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 41 15 34 49 11 25 36
Eichel 2018-19 (Pace) 79 29 66 95 21 48 69
Skinner Career High (2016-17) 79 37 26 63 30 18 48
Skinner 2018-19 44 30 13 43 23 9 32
Skinner 2018-19 (Pace) 82 56 24 80 43 17 60
Reinhart Career High (2017-18) 82 25 25 50 13 16 29
Reinhart 2018-19 44 9 32 41 8 22 30
Reinhart 2018-19 (Pace) 82 17 60 76 15 41 56
MAKING HISTORY
  • If the Sabres' top scorers continue their current pace, the team would have three 75-point players for the first time since 1992-93 (Pat LaFontaine, Alexander Mogilny, Dale Hawerchuk).
  • At his current pace, Jack Eichel would finish the season with the fourth-most even-strength points ever recorded by a Sabre, trailing only LaFontaine (83) and Mogilny (78) in 1992-93, and Gilbert Perreault in 1975-76 (70). He would trail only LaFontaine's franchise-record 52 even-strength assists that season and would become the first Sabre to record more than 90 points since Daniel Briere in 2006-07 (95).
  • Jeff Skinner is currently on pace to tie Danny Gare in 1979-80 (56) for the second-most goals in Sabres history, 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 third-most in team history.
SABRES AMONG LEAGUE-LEADERS (Sabres' league rankings after last night's game)
  • Buffalo Sabres: 84.4% PK% (3rd)
  • Eichel: 165 S (T-10th), 25 EVA (T-9th)
  • Ristolainen: 25:29 TOI/GP (5th), 135 hits (10th)
  • Skinner: 7 GWG (T-1st), 30 G (2nd), 23 EVG (T-2nd), 3 OTG (T-2nd)
  • Ullmark: .924 SV% (4th)
BUF-TBL CONNECTIONSNathan Beaulieu:
  • Played with Lightning assistant coach Jeff Halpern and D Mikhail Sergachev in Montreal.
Jason Botterill:
  • Played with Lightning assistant general manager Pat Verbeek in Dallas.
  • Was a scout for the Stars when Lightning assistant coach Jeff Halpern played in Dallas.
  • Was the assistant general manager in Pittsburgh when Lightning D Cameron Gaunce was playing for the Penguins.
Jack Eichel:
  • Played for Team North America with Lightning F T. Miller at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Chris Hajt:
  • Played with Lightning assistant coach Jeff Halpern in Washington.
Phil Housley:
  • Coached Lightning F J.T. Miller at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, winning a gold medal together for the United States.
Matt Hunwick:
  • Played for the Rangers with Lightning D Dan Girardi, D Ryan McDonagh and F J.T. Miller.
  • Played for Team USA with Lightning D Ryan Callahan at the 2005 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Johan Larsson:
  • Represented Sweden with Lightning D Victor Hedman at the 2012 IIHF World Championship.
Jake McCabe:
  • Played for Team USA with Lightning F Tyler Johnson at the 2014 IIHF World Championship.
  • Won a gold medal with Lightning F J.T. Miller at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Jason Pominville:
  • Played for Team USA with Lightning assistant coach Jeff Halpern at the 2008 IIHF World Championship.
Sam Reinhart:
  • Won a gold medal for Canada with Lightning F Brayden Point at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Played under Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper for Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, winning a bronze medal.
Marco Scandella:
  • Played in Minnesota when Lightning assistant coach Todd Richards was the head coach of the Wild.
Conor Sheary:
  • Played with Lightning D Cameron Gaunce in Pittsburgh.
Jeff Skinner:
  • Played for Team Canada with Lightning F Steven Stamkos at the 2013 IIHF World Championship.
  • Won a silver medal for Canada with Lightning F Brayden Point at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.
Vladimir Sobotka:
  • Represented the Czech Republic at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey with Lightning F Ondrej Palat.
SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERSHits: Ristolainen (135), Girgensons (63), Okposo (58)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (73), Bogosian (72), McCabe (65)
Shots: Eichel (165), Skinner (139), Ristolainen (109)
SABRES' RECORD IN 10 GAME SEGMENTS [W-L-OTL (PTS), GF/GA, PP, PK]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: 4-4-2 (10), 24/27, 7/31, 27/29
41-50: 2-2-0 (4), 13/10, 1/9, 10/11
OVERTIME RESULTS (5-5; 118-126 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)Dec. 29 vs. BOS: L, 3-2 (GWG-Kuraly, 3:44)
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 PlayedJohan Larsson … 4 games … 300 career games played
Sam Reinhart … 7 games … 300 career games played
Zach Bogosian … 9 games … 600 career games played
Rasmus Ristolainen … 10 games … 400 career games played
Marco Scandella … 10 games … 500 career games played
GoalsJason Pominville … 1 goal … 212 goals with Sabres (sole possession, 11th in franchise history)
AssistsKyle Okposo … 4 assists … 300 career assists
Matt Hunwick … 8 assists … 100 career assists
PointsJason Pominville … 2 points … 511 points with Sabres (T-8th in franchise history) 
RECENT MILESTONESC.J. Smith … 1st NHL goal … Jan. 8 vs. NJD
Lawrence Pilut … 1st NHL goal … Jan. 8 vs. NJD


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