For what seems like years now, the first period has been the bane of the Buffalo Sabres existence. Slow starts have doomed them again and again, as the importance of scoring the first goal continues to rise.
Last night, the Sabres not only scored the first goal, but the first three en route to a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild.
Jamie McGinn would open the scoring with his ninth of the season halfway through the first, while Rasmus Ristolainen and Brian Gionta would score their own goals later in the period, just 20 seconds apart.
Dan Bylsma was happy with his team's start, according to Sabres.com, saying "We've probably played our best in the first period and not gotten the goals. The last two games, it's been the opposite. We've played well in the first and we've gotten the goals to go in. It's been nice for us to get out in front and play from in front."
Minnesota would not go quietly, however, as Ryan Suter got them on the board in the second period, and our old friend Thomas Vanek made things close with a goal in the final minute.
The Sabres got another strong effort in net from Linus Ullmark, whose play has risen the close Robin Lehner comes to returning. The Sabres will have to make a decision with Lehner returning as early as this weekend, but Ullmark is at least making them have to think about it.
The win was Buffalo's second in a row, closing out their Central Division road trip at 2-1. Next up is a return home to face the Bruins on Friday.
1. How will Mark Pysyk look in his first game back from injury?
The Sabres recalled Pysyk, but did not dress him. Check again on Friday.
2. Marcus Foligno scored his first goal in 11 games against Winnipeg. Will any other slumping Sabres break out tonight?
McGinn and Ristolainen have been consistent scorers, but it was nice to see Brian Gionta get on the board. Evander Kane also notched his second assist in as many nights.
3. How will all our old friends look for the Wild?
Vanek scored and led the Wild with five shots, while Pominville's tough season continued, going -1 with just one shot.