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Buffalo Sabres game preview: 1/14/19 at Edmonton

STAFF REPORTS


LAST GAME
Saturday, January 12
Tampa Bay 5 at Buffalo 3
Goals: Reinhart, Thompson, Scandella
Goalie: Ullmark (25 saves/30 shots)
PP: 0/4; PK: 0/1; Shots: Buffalo 33 – Tampa Bay 30

CURRENT INJURIES – (Man Games Lost: 170)Player (injury, first game missed) – total games missedCasey Nelson (upper body, Dec. 8; injured reserve) – 16 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 GAMESWednesday, 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.
Friday, Feb. 1: Chicago at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

TONIGHT'S GAMESABRES at OILERS
  • This is the first of two meetings between the Sabres and Oilers this season.
  • Last meeting: Buffalo defeated Edmonton 5-0 in Edmonton on Jan. 23, 2018
  • The Sabres are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games vs. the Oilers; 6-3-1 on the road.
  • This is the 76th game all-time between Buffalo and Edmonton; Buffalo has a 26-38-11 series record.
  • The Sabres are 11-23-3 on the road against the Oilers all-time.
THIS DAY IN SABRES HISTORY
  • The Sabres are 8-9-3 all-time on January 14.
  • January 14, 1972: The Sabres acquire Jim Lorentz from the New York Rangers in exchange for a second-round pick in the 1972 draft.
  • January 14, 2003: Ryan Miller stops all 22 Minnesota shots to earn a 1-0 victory and his first career shutout.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
  • After losing all four games against the Oilers in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, the Sabres have swept the four games between the teams in the last two seasons.
  • With a win tonight, the Sabres will have defeated the Oilers in five straight meetings for the first time since Buffalo won each of the six matchups between the teams from Jan. 16, 2006 to Jan. 3, 2012.
  • Sam Reinhart has already set career-high totals in assists (32) and multi-point games (13) this season. The Sabres are 17-7-4 this season when he records at least one point and 28-4-6 (.816) in his career when he records at least two.
GO WEST
  • Tonight's game is the beginning of a three-game road trip through Western Canada for the Sabres.
  • Buffalo is 9-2-1 against the Pacific Division this season, including wins in each of their last five games against the division.
  • A win tonight would give the Sabres six straight wins against Pacific Division opponents in the same season for the first time since 1997-98.
STRIKING OIL
  • Kyle Okposo has tallied 14 points (7+7) in 12 career games against Edmonton, including multi-point efforts in four of his last six matchups. It's his best per-game output against any NHL team.
  • Rasmus Ristolainen has 12 points (2+10) in nine career games against the Oilers, including multi-point outings in each of his last four meetings with Edmonton. It's his best per-game output against any NHL team.
  • Jack Eichel has totaled seven points (3+4) in five career games against Edmonton, including five (2+3) in two road games.
  • Sam Reinhart has five points (1+4) in six career games against the Oilers, including four (1+3) in three road games.
  • Vladimir Sobotka has totaled eight points (3+5) in his eight meetings with Edmonton since the beginning of the 2012-13 season.
  • Tage Thompson scored his first career goal in his only previous meeting with the Oilers on Dec. 21, 2017.
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 53
  • Jeff Skinner's goal on Friday at Carolina 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).
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 entering play Sunday 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
  • Entering play Sunday, 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 entered play Sunday tied for third 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 MEEntering play Sunday, Rasmus Dahlin led rookie defensemen and ranked third among all NHL rookies with 24 points (4+20) 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).
  • With his 20th assist on Saturday vs. Tampa Bay, Dahlin tied Ray Bourque for sixth-most assists by an 18-year-old defenseman in NHL history.
  • Dahlin's totals put him on pace for 44 points this season. It would trail only Phil Housley (57 points in 1982-83) for the most ever recorded 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 42 15 34 49 11 25 36
Eichel 2018-19 (Pace) 79 28 64 92 21 47 68
Skinner Career High (2016-17) 79 37 26 63 30 18 48
Skinner 2018-19 45 30 14 44 23 10 33
Skinner 2018-19 (Pace) 82 55 26 80 42 18 60
Reinhart Career High (2017-18) 82 25 25 50 13 16 29
Reinhart 2018-19 45 10 32 42 9 22 31
Reinhart 2018-19 (Pace) 82 18 58 77 16 40 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 for the third-most goals in Sabres history, trailing only Mogilny in 1992-93 (76) and Danny Gare in 1979-80 (56) for. His 42 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 before 1/13 games)
  • Buffalo Sabres: 83.7% PK% (6th)
  • Eichel: 173 S (T-6th), 25 EVA (T-10th)
  • Ristolainen: 25:26 TOI/GP (6th), 139 hits (T-9th)
  • Skinner: 7 GWG (T-1st), 30 G (2nd), 23 EVG (T-2nd), 3 OTG (T-3rd)
BUF-EDM CONNECTIONSFormer Sabres:
  • Oilers F Zack Kassian was selected by the Sabres in the first round (13th overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft. He spent one season with the team (2011-12), playing in 27 games and scoring seven points (3+4).
  • Oilers D Andrej Sekera was selected by the Sabers in the third round (71st overall) in the 2004 NHL Draft. Sekera played for the Sabres for seven seasons (2006-2013), skating in 339 games and recording 92 points (17+75).
Former Oilers:
  • Sabres assistant coach Steve Smith played for the Oilers for seven years (1984-1991), skating in 385 games and scoring 218 points (46+172). Smith won three Stanley Cups with the organization (1987, 1988, 1990) and later re-joined the team as an assistant coach for four seasons (2010-2014).
Jason Botterill:
  • Played in Dallas when Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock was the head coach of the Stars.
Jack Eichel:
  • Played with Oilers F Connor McDavid and F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for Team North America under Oilers General Manager Peter Chiarelli at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Remi Elie:
  • Played in Dallas when Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock was the head coach of the Stars.
Phil Housley:
  • Played with Oilers assistant coach Trent Yawney in Calgary.
Matt Hunwick:
  • Played with Oilers F Milan Lucic in Boston. Oilers General Manager Peter Chiarelli was the Bruins' general manager during Hunwick's tenure with the team.
  • Played for the Rangers with Oilers G Cam Talbot.
Carter Hutton:
  • Played with Oilers F Kyle Brodziak and F Ty Rattie in St. Louis. Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock was the head coach of the Blues during Hutton's tenure with the team.
Johan Larsson:
  • Played with Oilers F Kyle Brodziak in Minnesota.
  • Represented Sweden with Oliers D Adam Larsson at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship. The two played together again at the 2018 IIHF World Championship, where they won a gold medal.
Kyle Okposo:
  • Played for the Islanders with Oilers G Mikko Koskinen.
Davis Payne:
  • Was an assistant coach in Los Angeles when Oilers D Kevin Gravel, F Milan Lucic and D Andrej Sekera were playing for the Kings.
Jason Pominville:
  • Played with Oilers F Kyle Brodziak in Minnesota.
Sam Reinhart:
  • Played for Team Canada with Oilers F Connor McDavid at the 2014 and 2015 IIHF World Junior Championships. The duo won a gold medal together in 2015, with both Reinhart and McDavid being named to the tournament's All-Star Team. The pair won a second gold medal together while representing Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.
  • Won a gold medal for Team Canada with Oilers D Darnell Nurse at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.
  • Won a gold medal for Team Canada with Oilers G Cam Talbot at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.
Rasmus Ristolainen:
  • Represented Finland with Oilers G Mikko Koskinen at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Marco Scandella:
  • Played with Oilers F Kyle Brodziak in Minnesota.
Jeff Skinner:
  • Played with Oilers F Ty Rattie and D Andrej Sekera in Carolina.
Steve Smith:
  • Was an assistant coach in Carolina when Oilers F Ty Rattie and D Andrej Sekera were playing for the Hurricanes.
  • Was the head coach of the Blues when Oilers D Kriss Russell was playing in St. Louis.
Vladimir Sobotka:
  • Played with Oilers F Milan Lucic in Boston. Oilers General Manager Peter Chiarelli was the Bruins' general manager during Sobotka's tenure with the team.
  • Played with Oilers F Kyle Brodziak, F Ty Rattie and D Kris Russell in St. Louis. Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock was the head coach of the Blues during Sobotka's tenure with the team.
Tage Thompson:
  • Played with Oilers F Kyle Brodziak in St. Louis.
  • Won a gold medal for Team USA with Oilers D Caleb Jones at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.
SABRES REAL-TIME STATS LEADERSHits: Ristolainen (139), Girgensons (66), Okposo (58)
Blocked Shots: Ristolainen (73), Bogosian (73), McCabe (65)
Shots: Eichel (173), Skinner (141), Ristolainen (110)
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: 2-3-0 (4), 16/15, 1/13, 10/12
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 … 3 games … 300 career games played
Sam Reinhart … 6 games … 300 career games played
Zach Bogosian … 8 games … 600 career games played
Rasmus Ristolainen … 9 games … 400 career games played
Marco Scandella … 9 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 … 1 point … 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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