The Sabres may have played their worst period of the season tonight, but still managed one of their best victories of the season. Well, the team was due for some luck. In a game that featured a bit of everything, another crazy Jack EIchel goal, hits all over the place from Nick Deslauriers and Marcus Foligno, a bit of pent up frustration and incredibly long defensive shifs, the Sabres defeated the Hurricanes 4-1.
Despite being completely outplayed in the first period, Josh Gorges started the scoring with a bouncer from the blue line 12 minutes in. It appeared to have been redirected by either David Legwand or Ryan O'Reilly, but upon further review it was decided that it was just a crazy bounce. That was about the only thing that went well for the Sabres that period. They were outshot 11 to three in the first, and were frequently caught in their own zone. Chad Johnson did good work to keep the game close.
Four minutes later the Hurricanes scored what seemed to be an inevitable goal, featuring the most noticable of multiple gaffs by captain Brian Gionta tonight. He attempted to clear the zone, but whiffed on the pass right next to Johnson. Eric Staal was able to pick his pocket, and Victor Rask tied the game up off a rebound.
The Sabres play began to improve in the second, spurred by a successful penalty kill and another highlight reel goal by Eichel. Skating in on a 1-on-2 scenario, Eichel let off a wrist shot from beynd the right circle that found what seemed like the only hole in Cam Ward's positioning.
From then on it was all Sabres. Gionta redeemed himself a tad late in the second, deflecting a pass from Matt Moulson. Legwand, who had originally been given credit for the Gorges goal, made sure he left the arena with his second of the year in the third. Jamie McGinn fed him a great pass from behind the net, and the veteran took advantage of lackluster defending to bury it.
After the fourth goal, the Sabres were very successful at shutting the gate. They only allowed five shots on goal in the final frame, none of which particularly dangerous.
1. How will Sam Reinhart look on the top line?
The combo of Evander Kane, Ryan O'Reilly and Sam Reinhart didn't get on the score sheet, but they seemed to click from the start. It's a solid possession line, and due to their sound play and the strong play from the other lines, it wouldn't be surprising to see them together again tomorrow night.
2. Can the Sabres bury some of their chances?
Despite getting outshot 21 to 28 the Sabres won by three goals, and even got some bounces to go their way. Buffalo didn't look like the team that has been struggling to score as of late. The four goals was the most in one game since Nov. 10 against the Lightning.
3. Will the losing streak come to an end?
The Sabres finally snapped a six-game losing streak dating back more than two weeks. It could be an important confidence boost going into a two-game roadtrip against Nashville and Detroit.