After the last two days when first the Buffalo Bills blew a big lead and then the Buffalo Sabres gave up playing after 45 minutes, this was a letdown waiting to happen as the Sabres hosted a fast Edmonton Oilers team in the second game of a back-to-back.
And after the Oil roared back to score three unanswered, many fans (including this writer), gave up hope. However, first Evander Kane then Rasmus Ristolainen scored within a minute and a half on either side of overtime to win the game.
Analyst Rob Ray had predicted that the Oilers defense would turn the puck over if pressured down low, and so we saw as the Sabres enjoyed a strong first period where they were dominant at times. The home side moved the puck through the neutral zone with impunity, crashed the net and cycled the puck quite easily on the offensive.
Kane had opened the scoring with a good shot to the far side, beating Cam Talbot who was well-screened by Brian Gionta. The captain topped that a few minutes later finishing off a fantastic off-hand pass by a surging Marcus Foligno to put Buffalo up by two.
The second goal seemed to have stung the Oilers into action, as they ended the period the stronger side, and then came out hard in the second stanza as well.
Buffalo’s penalty kill has been dreadful recently, and proved to be their Achilles heel once again as they gave up a goal from a scrum in front of Anders Nilsson, and then a minute and a half later Connor McDavid found Milan Lucic with a great pass that even Lucic’s stone hands couldn’t miss to tie the game at two. The Sabres then gave two silly penalties in a row, but were fortunate to not concede again to finish out the period.
McDavid then setup Leon Draisatl on the power play for the lead in the third period as the parade to the penalty box continued, this time Kane the culprit. Just before that the post had denied Buffalo for the second time on the night as Sam Reinhart clanged one off the pipe.
The Sabres looked completely gassed as they chased the game, their tired legs no match for the visitors who continued to get shot after shot on Nilsson. Edmonton were outshoot Buffalo 18-8 in the third period and 37-23 for the game when the Sabres pulled the goalie for the extra skater. A good possession sequence followed and Kane capitalized as Ryan O’Reilly smacked his shot off the post, game tied with just over 20 seconds left to play.
Adam Larsson then committed a bone-headed holding penalty, sending the Sabres into overtime on the man advantage, and Ristolainen duly obliged with his first of the season, hammering a shot against the post and in. The previous three times the pipe had kicked the puck back out, but Risto was not to be denied tonight.
1. Will McDavid dominate Buffalo like he did last year?
He was mostly anonymous in the first period, but found some more skating room in the second period as the Sabres just couldn’t get out of penalty trouble. McDavid’s diagonal allowed Lucic to tie the game, and then was lucky to not get Umberger-ed by Jake McCabe. He also picked up an assist on Edmonton’s third goal.
In Canada, they call that an oil spill. pic.twitter.com/zIU9lwBoYz— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) December 7, 2016
2. Speaking of Eichel, will he show any ill effects from his ankle non-re-injury?
Eichel looked his usual self tonight, so we’d say no here.
Comment of the Game
Posted by AcesNines