The Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning will participate in the 33rd and 34th NHL regular-season games played outside North America when they play a back-to-back set at the 2019 NHL Global Series at Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. The first game is Friday (2 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN1, NBC.TV) and the second is Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN1, SUN, MSG-B, NHL.TV).
Here’s a look at some of the key numbers in the Global Series:
How they’ve fared
Buffalo can become the first team to win each of its first three regular-season games played outside North America. The Sabres defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 in Helsinki, Finland, and the Los Angeles Kings 4-2 in Berlin, Germany, to start the 2011-12 season. No one on the Sabres this season was part of that team, but four members are still active in the NHL: forward Tyler Ennis (Ottawa Senators), defensemen Tyler Myers (Vancouver Canucks) and Andrej Sekera (Dallas Stars), and goalie Ryan Miller (Ducks).
The Ducks (3-3-0) and Senators (3-0-1) are the only teams to win three games outside North America.
The Lightning are also making their second overseas trip. Tampa Bay lost back-to-back 2-1 games to the New York Rangers in Prague, Czech Republic to begin the 2008-09 season.
Lightning forward Steven Stamkos is the only member of the 2008 team that played in Prague who’s still with Tampa Bay. Stamkos, chosen No. 1 in the 2008 NHL Draft, was making his NHL debut. The other player on the Lightning who’s played an NHL game overseas is defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who played two with the Rangers in 2011-12.
The Sabres have six players born in Sweden on their roster: goalie Linus Ullmark (Lugnvik); defensemen Rasmus Dahlin (Lidkoping) and Lawrence Pilut (Tingsryd); and forwards Marcus Johansson (Landskrona), Johan Larsson (Lau) and Victor Olofsson (Ornskoldsvik). The only Sweden-born player on Tampa Bay’s roster is defenseman Victor Hedman (Ornskoldsvik).
Dahlin will be 17th NHL teen to play overseas
Dahlin, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, has the ninth-most regular-season points in NHL history among teenage defensemen (55; 10 goals, 45 assists in 97 games). The 19-year-old is set to become the 17th teenager in NHL history to skate in a regular-season game outside North America. He’ll be the seventh defenseman, joining Scott Hannan (San Jose Sharks, Oct. 9, 1998), Dmitry Kulikov (Florida Panthers, Oct. 2-3, 2009), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Arizona Coyotes, Oct. 9-10, 2010), Cam Fowler (Ducks, Oct. 7-8, 2011), Samuel Girard (Colorado Avalanche, Nov. 10-11, 2017) and Evan Bouchard (Edmonton Oilers, Oct. 6, 2018).
Video: BUF@PIT: Dahlin flips puck over Murray’s glove
Hannan (two assists) and Girard (one assist) are the only teenage defensemen to have a point in a regular-season NHL game outside North America. The two teens to score a goal in such an NHL game are forwards Tyler Seguin of the Boston Bruins (Oct. 10, 2010) and Patrick Marleau of the Sharks (Oct. 10, 1998)
Stamkos could reach milestone in Stockholm
Eleven years after he was one of five players to make his NHL debut overseas Oct. 4, 2008 (the others were Vladimir Mihalik and Janne Niskala with the Lightning, Paul Bissonnette with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Lauri Korpikoski with the Rangers), Stamkos comes to Stockholm two goals shy of 400 in his NHL career. Should he reach the milestone in Sweden, it would come in his 760th or 761st NHL game, and he would become the 21st-fastest player in NHL history to score 400 regular-season goals.
Regardless of when he gets No. 400, Stamkos is on track to become the second-fastest active NHL player to reach the milestone. Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals scored his 400th goal in his 634th game Dec. 20, 2013.
Stamkos has scored 18 regular-season goals against Buffalo, his eighth-highest total against one team.
Video: TBL@BUF: Kucherov feeds Stamkos for go-ahead goal
Hedman hopes to play for Lightning
The Lightning, off to a 6-5-2 start after tying the NHL single-season record for wins with 62 in 2018-19, hope to have Hedman back in the lineup. He sustained a lower-body injury in Tampa Bay’s 4-1 loss at the New York Rangers on Oct. 29 and missed the next two games.
Three Lightning players, Hedman (Oct. 23 against Pittsburgh), Kevin Shattenkirk (Oct. 17 at Boston) and Ondrej Palat (Oct. 30 at New Jersey Devils) have scored a go-ahead goal in the final five minutes of the third period in a game this season. There have been 13 such goals scored in the 236 games played in 2019-20.