It was another homecoming game of sorts for the Buffalo Sabres, this time for Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn in their return to the Colorado Avalanche, but unlike the team's last big homecoming, this one didn't have a fairy tale ending.
A late goal by Francois Beauchemin in the final minute spoiled a strong early effort from the Sabres, who lost 2-1.
It was a bit of bad luck, too, as Beauchemin's point shot deflected off of Mark Pysyk's arm past Robin Lehner, but luck only played part of the role in Buffalo's late collapse. The Sabres took a 1-0 lead into the third thanks to an Evander Kane power play goal, but gave up more shots in the third period (18) than they had in the first and second periods combined (17) while only producing five shots themselves.
Colorado got on the board thanks to Alex Tanguay's third goal of the season, which was the result of Carl Soderberg holding on to the puck until Robin Lehner slid out of position for the easy goal. Lehner, who made 33 saves on 35 shots, looked solid all night with the exception of a few over-commitments, one of which led to Colorado's opening goal.
The loss spoiled the return to Colorado for O'Reilly, who assisted on Kane's goal, and McGinn, who was held pointless. O'Reilly did get a bit of "love" from the fans, telling Sabres.com, "Yeah, a little bit, a small boo. It was weird, it was different. A different uniform, a different side of things. It was unfortunate not to win, but it was nice seeing those guys. Once you get on the ice it's just another game, you try to win it."
The Sabres also lost forward Sam Reinhart, who took a hit in the second period, suffered an upper body injury, and did not return. He'll be evaluated today with the team back in Buffalo, but Dan Bylsma did not have any time frame for his return last night.
1. How will O'Reilly and McGinn perform in their return?
O'Reilly assisted on Kane's power play goal, and McGinn put two shots on net. Both players looked pretty much like themselves, but O'Reilly missed a nice opportunity off of a seeing-eye pass from Eichel and was only 40% on the draw.
2. Speaking of former players, how will Grigorenko and Zadorov play tonight?
Zadorov was a +1 in almost 20 minutes of ice time and had two shots on goal, and while Grigorenko only played about six minutes, he made good use of his time with three shots.
3. Can the Sabres special teams remain hot?
Yes, the power play went 1-for-2 while the penalty kill was successful on all three Colorado power plays.
Comment of the Game
"6' 5" 400 pound Robin Lehner"
Also rec'd for the phenomenal Washington chain that followed.