Ristolainen scored a goal on four shots and had two PIM Tuesday in a 3-1 loss to Winnipeg. Ristolainen tallied the lone Sabres goal midway through the third period, when he came off the end boards and surprised Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck with shot from between the goal line and the bottom of the faceoff circle. It was the sixth goal of the season for Ristolainen but his first since Jan. 12. Despite the goal slump, he's provided a solid 32 points in 66 games.
Ristolainen, thought to be a trade candidate, was not dealt by the Sabres as the deadline passed Monday. Risto, a good scorer who's historically put up nauseating plus/minus ratings, has adapted well to new coach Ralph Krueger's system, and at plus-3 the defenseman could put up his first-ever positive rating. While he offered Cup candidates a scoring presence from the blue line at a reasonable salary, in the end he'll stay with the Sabres as they try to make a late playoff push.
Ristolainen picked up two power-play assists in Saturday's 5-2 win over the Penguins. He helped set up both of Jack Eichel's strikes, including the eventual game-winner in the first period. Ristolainen has a four-game point streak going during which he has six points (all assists), and he remains on pace for his fifth straight 40-point campaign with five goals and 31 points through 61 games.
Ristolainen had two assists, including one on the power play, and five hits in Sunday's 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs. The Finn had a hand in goals by Jack Eichel and Jimmy Vesey in a span of 1:31 during the third period. Ristolainen has posted five assists and 23 hits over eight games in February. For the season, the 25-year-old has 28 points, 176 hits and 108 shots on goal in 59 outings. Right now, he's on pace to miss the 40-point mark for the first time since 2014-15, but the blueliner is capable of making up that ground.
Coach Ralph Krueger said Ristolainen missed practice Wednesday but that it was for "maintenance," Lance Lyskowski of The Buffalo News reports. Ristolainen was a huge trade candidate this past summer, but things have calmed down on that front, as he seems to enjoy playing for his new coach. While the blueliner is averaging a modest 22:34 per game this season -- his lowest total ice time since 2014-15 -- and at 23 points he's going to have to put together a hot streak to achieve his fifth straight 40-point season, Risto sits at a respectable even plus/minus, far better than the minus-41 and minus-25 he put up the last two campaigns.
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||77||6||37||43||-24||1||0||2||0||0||131|