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Recap: Sabres win 3-2 OT thriller in Montreal

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An embattled defensive corps and strong goaltending lead the Sabres to their second consecutive overtime win.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Buffalo Sabres Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Going in to tonight’s game, the biggest worry on the mind of all Sabres fans was the fact that their defense, which has been the Achilles Heel of this team all season, had suffered yet another injury and would be without their second-best defenseman in Jake McCabe. How would this ragtag, AHL group of blueliners keep up with the top team in the Atlantic Division?

Responding with two goals, including the game winner, was something I don’t think any of us expected.

Cody Franson scored the tying goal, and Zach Bogosian scored the hero goal in overtime as the Sabres won their second game in two nights that went into extra time.

Bogosian played a huge game tonight, putting five shots on net, and drawing a hooking penalty on a pinch in addition to scoring the game winner, his first of the year. It was nice to see some other defensemen besides Ristolainen (who also played a great game tonight) step up to the plate and contribute.

The game began with a sloppy, fun, but ultimately scoreless first period that saw both teams throwing bodies at each other and shots toward the net. Artturi Lehkonen would open the scoring in the second, taking advantage of a Sabres backcheck that was nowhere to be found on a Lehner rebound to put the Habs up 1-0.

Buffalo would respond quickly thanks to good work by Evander Kane, who played a strong game all night, getting the puck to Brian Gionta who scored his 10th of the year to tie the game. The Habs would retake the lead before the period came to an end, with Phillip Danault deflecting a shot past Lehner to put Montreal up 2-1 going into the final intermission.

The Sabres came out strong in the third, but it took them ten minutes to tied the game, thanks to an unlikely source - Cody Franson, who scored his second goal of the year, which ultimately sent the game to overtime.

The final few minutes of regulation featured two things: amazing saves and great calls by Rick Jeanneret. Price absolutely robbed Ristolainen with a flashy, sliding glove save at the end of regulation, while Lehner dove across his crease to save the game in overtime. RJ went out of his mind for both, and with Bogosian winning the game just seconds later, it was a night to remember for Sabres fans watching on MSG.

Two Questions

1. How will Ristolainen feel today?

Pretty good, apparently. Risto led multiple rushes into the offensive zone, and was doing his usual work in overtime. This kid’s legs are indestructible.

2. Speaking of defense, how will the bottom four play tonight?

I am so pleased to announce that they played well. Goals from Franson and Bogosian went hand in hand with solid, if unspectacular play from guys like Fedun, Falk, and even Nelson in his limited minutes.

Comment of the Game

Two goals from defenders in one game!!?

Has hell frozen over?

Posted by TEMSON