FAN GUIDE: LIGHTNING VS. SABRES
Buffalo caps off back-to-back games with a 7:00 PM match-up with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
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SCHEDULE FOR TODAY
- 10:45 a.m.: Sabres meeting at First Niagara Center
- 5:00 p.m.: Labatt Blue Light Tailgate Tent Party opens.
- 5:00 p.m.: Arena doors open
- 7:00 p.m.: Game Time
- Tonight is the third meeting of the year between the Sabres and Lightning. Tampa is leading the season series 2-0 with 4-3 and 3-0 shutout of the Sabres.
- The Sabres will be wearing their blue third jerseys for tonight's game.
- The Labatt Blue Light Tailgate Tent Party kicks off at 5:00 p.m. today with special guest Craig Muni stopping by. Tickets can be purchased by CLICKING HERE.
- Don't forget to purchase Alumni 50/50 tickets for tonight's game. Tickets can be purchased up to the fifteen minute mark of the second period.
MOE'S HOT PLAYERS
The Moe's Hot Players of the Night are Paul Gaustad, Thomas Vanek & Christian Ehrhoff.
If any of the three (3) selected hot players (announced pre-game) score a goal during that night's game, fans can redeem their free GameNight program coupon(page 20) for 50% off their entree tomorrow, at all participating Moe's restaurants. If any of the three (3) selected hot players score a hat trick during that night's game, fans can also redeem their free GameNight program for a free burrito at all participating Moe's restaurants.
SUBWAY SCORE 3 OR MORE
If the Sabres score three (3) or more goals during tonight's game, fans can redeem their game ticket for a free 6" Subway sub with a purchase of 30oz. drink tomorrow only at participating Subway restaurants.
Each time a Sabres player scores a hat trick inside First Niagara Center, New Era will make a monetary donation to charity per cap thrown onto the ice. Any hats thrown onto the ice and not claimed will be donated as well.
NEW ERA SCORE MORE
For every goal scored by the Sabres at that night’s game, fans can save a dollar per goal on their purchase of any cap tomorrow at the New Era Buffalo Store when they show their ticket stub.
GAME NOTES FOR TODAY'S GAME
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LIGHTNING vs. SABRES
- Third of four meetings between the Sabres and Lightning this season.
- The Lightning won their previous two meetings against the Sabres, sweeping a home-and home series Oct. 22-25.
- The Sabres are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games vs. the Lightning; 6-4-0 at home.
- This is the 73rd game all-time between Buffalo and Tampa Bay; Buffalo leads the series with a 46-21-5 record. They are 22-12-2 at home against the Lightning.
- These teams next meet on March 19 in Tampa Bay.
- Buffalo enters tonight’s game on a six-game point streak (5-0-1), their longest since they finished last season on a 5-0-1 run. They last had points in seven straight from Feb. 23 to March 6, 2011 (5-0-2).
- The Sabres have won three straight games and are seeking their first four-game win streak since Nov. 4 to Nov. 11.
- Ryan Miller is 5-0-1 in his last six games with two shutouts, a 1.11 GAA and a .962 SV%.
- The Sabres have points in their last 10 home games (6-0-4), with their last regulation loss at home coming on Dec. 10. It is the team’s longest such streak since 2009-10, when they went 9-0-3 in 12 home games from Dec. 9 to Jan. 29. With his goal last night, Thomas Vanek tied Miroslav Satan for seventh-most goals in franchise history (224).
With Buffalo’s 3-2 shootout win last night vs. DAL, Lindy Ruff was credited with his 550th win, passing Marc Crawford for 12th all-time among NHL head coaches… The Sabres are 12-5-3 (.675) with Tyler Ennis in the lineup… Buffalo is 20-2-2 when allowing two or fewer goals and 19-4-2 when scoring three or more… Seventeen of the Sabres’ last 21 games have been decided by two goals or less… Cody McCormick left last night’s game with an upper body injury and is expected to miss tonight’s game… The Sabres are 15- 3-3 when Derek Roy records at least one point.
LEADING THE WAY AGAINST TAMPA BAY
LIGHTNING GOALIES STRUGGLE AGAINST SABRES
Despite a shutout performance by Lightning goaltender Mathieu Garon the first time these two teams met this season and a win in the second meeting, the Sabres have typically fared well against Tampa Bay’s current goaltenders. Garon is 3-7-0 in his career against the Sabres with a 3.12 GAA and a .895 SV%. Dwayne Roloson has struggled even more against his former team, going 0-7-2 with a 4.05 GAA and a .844 SV%, his worst numbers against any NHL team by a wide margin.
CLOSE AT HOME
The Sabres have seen 10 of their last 13 home games decided by one goal. Of Buffalo’s 28 home games this season, 18 have been decided by just one goal. The Sabres are 7-5-6 in these games.
FINISHING STRONG AFTER THE BREAK
Buffalo is 530-395-181 (.561) all-time in games after the All-Star break. This includes a record of 79-42-19 (.632) in those games since the lockout. These totals do not include games after breaks for the Olympic Games.
Buffalo’s seven defensemen that began the season with the team have suffered a total of 57 man games lost this season, with each of the seven except Marc-Andre Gragnani missing time with an injury. Of the team’s 54 games, only 25 have featured a defense corps that included six of these top seven defensemen. The Sabres are 16-8-1 in these games, allowing 2.28 goals per game. In the other 29, they are 8-16-5, allowing 3.41 goals per game.
LET'S PLAY TWO
Tonight’s game wraps up Buffalo’s 15th of a league-high 21 sets of back-to-back games this season after last night’s 3-2 win vs. DAL. The Sabres are 10-6-0 in the first game and 5-6-3 in the second. The Sabres have swept two sets, gotten three points in one, split eight, gotten one point in two and been swept once.
With his win on Saturday, Feb. 4 at NYI, Ryan Miller broke Dominik Hasek’s franchise record of 234 wins with the Sabres. Miller’s 235th career victory marked the first time Hasek had not held the record since he surpassed Don Edwards (156 wins) on Nov. 3, 1998 in a 4-2 win vs. Boston. Edwards had previously held the record since March 11, 1979, when he passed Roger Crozier (74 wins) in a 9-4 victory over the Atlanta Flames.
Brad Boyes is 5-for-7 on shootout attempts this season, with two game-deciding goals. Boyes is ranked third in career shootout goals by an active player, with 29. Only Carolina’s Jussi Jokinen and Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk (30 each) have more goals.
Buffalo currently has two players on injured reserve. In all, 22 different Sabres have missed at least one game with injury entering tonight's game. Buffalo’s total of 246 man games lost after 54 games is 120 more than they had at that point last season, when they finished the year with 229. Buffalo has only had two players (Jason Pominville and Jhonas Enroth) dress for every game this season.
The Sabres play nine of their 13 games in February at home, tying November’s total for most this season. The team has two breaks of three days each during the month, and will play three back-to-back sets. Eleven of Buffalo’s 13 February games are against Eastern Conference opponents.
Since Lindy Ruff was named Buffalo's head coach on July 21, 1997, there have been 170 coaching changes in the NHL. Ruff is the second-longest tenured coach in the four major professional sports leagues. Only Gregg Popovich, who began coaching the San Antonio Spurs in 1996, has been head coach of his team longer. Ruff has 550 wins as head coach of the Sabres, second-most by a head coach with a single franchise, trailing only Al Arbour (740). Ruff has more wins than any other coach with his first NHL team.
Download your copy of the official game notes by clicking here.
Have an idea for a song that you want to hear at a Sabres game? Let us know what it is by sending us a tweet. Send us a message at @SabresDotCom with a hashtag of #SABRETUNES before 12:00 p.m. on a game day and we'll try to get it into the playlist for that night's game.