The Buffalo Sabres have their first three game winning streak of the year and it took another skills competition for it to happen. The 4-3 victory over the Devils gives the team some confidence and some much needed points as they have to turn around and face the New York Rangers on Sunday night. Here are the period thoughts.
- Things got chippy within the first couple of minutes in the game. Steve Ott and David Clarkson dropped the gloves within the first minute and Bryce Salvadore took exception to Patrick Kaleta's pokes after a whistle.
- Both teams start early with a handful of good shots but not a lot of traffic to make either goaltender's life miserable.
- Marcus Foligno has had a decent start to the game. He made a nice play on the boards after a lost faceoff and sent the puck to the front of the net but couldn't find anyone home.
- Kaleta and Kovalchuk had a brief moment in the middle of the period. Kovalchuk seemed to be annoyed that Kaleta was shadowing him and it cost him two straight penalties. The first took Kaleta with him, the second didn't.
- Christian Ehrhoff was the Sabres PP killer in the first as he shortened both of the Sabres penalties with his own. The first was a hooking penalty behind his own net 17 seconds into the power play. The second was 46 seconds on an interference call. In the little time the Sabres had on the power play, they couldn't generate much of anything as the puck movement and possession just wasn't there.
- This might have been Mikhail Grigorenko's best period in a long time. He has some of the best wingers he has skated with in a long time in Drew Stafford and Jochen Hecht. Those three made a nice rush up the ice that saw Grigorenko just miss a tip in front of the net. Grigorenko finished the period with 3:11 in ice time, 1 shot on goal, and 1 missed shot.
- The Sabres and Devils ended the period scoreless. New Jersey outshot Buffalo 13-6 in the period.
- The Devils got a power play to start the period on a dubious Kevin Porter boarding call 1:53 into the period. New Jersey gets some chances on the PP and three shots on goal, but doesn't actually convert with the man advantage.
- Both teams have slowed the game down with an icing fest in the first five minutes of the game.
- Tyler Myers takes a cross checking penalty to give the Devils their second power play of the period. The Sabres are the ones to convert as Pominville gets a nice feed from Cody Hodgson in front of the net to score his eighth of the season. Hodgson did a lot of the work there battling two Devils in the corner for the puck and then finding Pominville in front of the net. The goal is Pominville's 10th career shorthanded goal.
- The Devils respond right back with a Steve Bernier goal off a goofy deflection at the side of the net. The Devils were just able to keep the puck at the net and it bounced in off Bernier's midsection.
- Ryan Miller has been outstanding in the last few games. Going back to the 2nd period of the Florida game on Thursday, the Sabres have been out shot 60-28 and have only given up two goals in the process.
- When considered with the Kevin Porter boarding call that happened at the beginning of the period, Alexei Ponikarovsky got away with a blatant boarding penalty to end the period. The Sabres gave the Devils three power play chances in the period and were able to kill all of them.
- The Sabres start the period off on the power play as Ryan Carter took a cross checking penalty as time expired in the second period. The Devils were able to get their own shorthanded goal as Adam Henrique worked around Jason Pominville and just beat Ryan Miller. It's Henrique's 5th goal of the season and first goal in nine games. It's also the first time that the Sabres have allowed and scored a shorthanded goal since November 26, 2010 vs. Toronto.
- Jason Pominville makes up for the shorthanded gaffe with his second of the game 1:49 later. Cody Hodgson made a nice pass to finish the goal. It's second two goal game this season with the other coming on January 24th against the Hurricanes.
- The Sabres continue to apply pressure in the third as they go through the first ten minutes of the period with a 7-2 shot advantage and a bunch of quality scoring chances.
- The Drew Stafford/Mikhail Grigorenko/Jochen Hecht finally cashes in with a standard Jochen Hecht behind the red line goal to give the Sabres a 3-2 lead.
- Andrei Loktionov ties the game up off a fantastic spin-o-rama type pass from Stefan Matteau in front of the net. Miller was just down and out for the shot.
- After starting the period with a 7-2 shot advantaget in the first ten minutes, the Sabres offense goes cold again and doesn't generate another shot on goal in the period.
- The teams get chippy at the end of the overtime period as Tyler Ennis fires a shot down the ice after the buzzer sounds. Devils defenseman Adam Henrique takes offense to it and both receive roughing minors for their troubles. This is notable since these two teams meet in five days.
- Two shooters were all that were needed for the Sabres again as both Jason Pominville and Tyler Ennis score for the Sabres. Both Ilya Kovalchuk and Adam Henrique shot and missed for New Jersey.
- Jason Pominville led all Sabres with six shots on goal and ten Sabres registered at least one shot on goal. Five Devils, Adam Henrique, Ilya Kovalchuk, Steve Bernier, Travis Zajac, and David Clarkson, each registered four shots on goal and fourteen Devils had at least one.
- The Sabres were 59% from the faceoff dot. Cody Hodgson won 16 of 27 on the night and Steve Ott won 12 of 16.
- Ryan Miller finished the game with 28 saves on 31 shots in the winning effort while Johan Hedberg had 19 saves on 22 shots for the loss.
- The win gives the Sabres 19 points in 22 games thus far. With action still to go on Saturday night, they sit four points out of a playoff spot and two points ahead of last place in the Eastern Conference.