The Sabres did something they haven’t done in their last six games in Colorado. Won a game. They also were able to score four goals and put in a pretty good effort on the road.
In the first period, both teams exchanged some chances. Former Sabres prospect J.T. Compher was alone in front and shot the puck wide on a great chance early in the period. Benoit Pouliot put one off the iron on a nice rush and Rasmus Ristolainen did as well in the first few minutes of the game.
The Avalanche were given two power-play opportunities in the first 20 minutes, but Robin Lehner made some nice saves to keep them off the scoreboard. Buffalo had one opportunity of their own. They’re 0 for their last 26 chances with the man advantage entering tonight. Although they didn’t score on this opportunity they did a good job moving the puck around to create scoring chances.
Nobody was able to light the lamp in the first and Colorado took a 10-9 lead in shots to the locker room.
Buffalo continued to get themselves into some penalty trouble in the second period. One time it happened to work in their favor. Ryan O’Reilly made a nice pass to Pouliot after Erik Johnson slid out of the way for the team’s fourth shorthanded goal of the season.
After the Sabres jumped out to a 1-0 lead. Another penalty against didn’t go in their favor this time. Nathan MacKinnon beat Lehner with a nice shot under the bar blocker side to tie the contest at one.
Then late in the period, a small miracle happened. A Sabres defenseman scored a goal! Jake McCabe’s point shot got by Semyon Varlamov with Scott Wilson providing the screen. We had to go to an offside review to make sure the goal counted. It looked offside by a mile at first glance and it was shocking that the officials called it a good goal. However, upon further review, we were able to see the Sabres forwards tagged up before they went back in again and touched the puck.
The third kept up the theme of a pretty exciting game. Also, the trends of Sabres penalties continued as well. Nathan MacKinnon scored his second of the game to tie the game at two with 10 minutes left in the game.
Just under two minutes later the Sabres got the lead back. Evander Kane who could have had four goals tonight capitalized on a Jack Eichel blocked shot. He wrapped the rebound around to get his club back in front 3-2.
Buffalo took a few more penalties to end the game, but Lehner was up to the challenge. Eichel added an empty-netter to seal the win and end the losing streak for the Sabres.
Final: Sabres 4, Avalanche 2
Shots on Goal: Sabres 35 | Avalanche 37
Sabres Goals: Pouliot (7), McCabe (1), Kane (13) and Eichel (8)
Avlanahce Goals: MacKinnon (9,10)
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Jack Eichel (1 G, 1 A)
2. Evander Kane (1 G, GWG)
3. Nathan MacKinnon (2 G)
Comment of the Game
The Buffalo Sabres are undefeated when getting a goal from a defenseman (1-0-0).
What to Watch
1. A few debuts to check out.
Scott Wilson and Evan Rodrigues both played well tonight. Wilson played 14:19 and had one shot on goal. His speed and aggressive forecheck was noticeable. Also, played some penalty kill. Rodrigues played 14:33 in the game. Like Wilson, he got penalty kill time and provided some good speed.
2. Grab some popcorn, Z.
I’d imagine he gets a similar view in Chicago.
3. Did they receive the message?
I guess we’ll see. Tonight they looked better and were able to get a win. Even battled some adversity when they give up the game tying goal in the third period.