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Sabres at Senators recap: Lehner stands strong in 2-1 road win

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The Sabres took a long time to come on-line, and Robin Lehner helped the game stay close until they did.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Ottawa Senators Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Sabres have been one of the best teams in the NHL on the road this season, but tonight, they needed their goaltender’s best effort of the year just to keep them in it until they could find their legs in the third period, and come from behind to beat the Ottawa Senators 2-1.

As improved as the team’s overall effort has been this year, the Sabres struggled hard to get things going out of the gate tonight.

If you look at the basic scoresheet, it doesn’t look too bad, but Buffalo had very few high-danger scoring chances and couldn’t sustain any kind of pressure in the Ottawa zone for the first two periods. Their forecheck was nonexistent, and Robin Lehner had to make more than a few fantastic saves in the first two periods just to keep the score at 1-0, thanks to a second period Ottawa goal from Mike Hoffman.

The team finally found their legs in the third, striking quickly out of the gate thanks to Kyle Okposo, who scored his team-leading fifth goal by deflecting a Jake McCabe shot past Craig Anderson to tie the game at one.

Just minutes later, with the Sabres buzzing in the Ottawa zone, Sam Reinhart shoved a Girgensons rebound past Chris Neil and Anderson to give the Sabres a 2-1 lead, which they would manage to hold until the final whistle.

Things looked bleak when Dmitry Kulikov took a four minute penalty late in the third thanks to drawing blood on a ugly high stick to Bobby Ryan, but the Sabres did a fantastic job shutting Ottawa down for all four minutes.

Despite yet another empty net post hit in the final minute, the Sabres managed to hold on for a 2-1 road win. It was their first win of the season after giving up the first goal, and it was largely thanks to the heroics of Robin Lehner, who played extremely well tonight as the team in front of him took 40 minutes to warm up.

Two Questions

1. What impact will Will Carrier have in his NHL debut?

Not a ton, though he only got 6:26 of ice time. Carrier did manage two shots and four hits in that time, however, so that’s a pretty strong rate of play in his debut. Also, it should be noted he led the rush into the zone that developed into Sam Reinhart’s game winning goal.

2. Can the Sabres find their offense?

In the third period, yes. In the first two periods, good lord no.

Comment of the Game

Huge save by Lehner

that MMA is doing some good

Posted by go_buff

Highlights

Coming soon.