A few days after playing one of their worst home games of the season, the Buffalo Sabres gave their home fans a fine send-off to the season by beating the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 2-1 in the team’s home finale.
On Fan Appreciation Night, Buffalo appeased the hometown crowd by opening the scoring in the first period, as Rasmus Ristolainen slammed home a shot from the point, with assists to Gorges and Eichel. The Sabres would score the next goal as well, with Tyler Ennis putting a sweet little tip past Carey Price for his fifth of he season in the second period.
Speaking of Ennis, he had probably his best game of the season, and his line along with Evan Rodrigues and Alex Nylander gave Montreal fits all night long. It was a nice showcase for a guy who could possibly have played his last home game as a Sabre (were you watching, Las Vegas?) and also a solid showing from two promising young players in Rodrigues and Nylander.
The Canadiens would score early in the third to cut the lead to 2-1, but Robin Lehner and the Sabres PK would stand strong in the third period to give Buffalo the one-goal win.
The refs just didn’t care about this game at all, calling just one penalty all game, a high-stick on Rasmus Ristolainen in the third period. Guess they cared about this game as much as most Sabres fans did, but at least the Sabres sent their fans home happy.
Tonight featured a number of good, bounce-back efforts following an awful game on Monday from guys like Eichel, O’Reilly, Gionta, Ennis, Rodrigues, Nylander, Ristolainen, and Lehner. The night was dampened slightly thanks to the news of Kyle Okposo undergoing tests in the Buffalo General ICU, but the home town crowd was sent home happy for the last time this year.
1. Will the Sabres show fans some appreciation with their play on the ice?
Yep, the team played a strong game against one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. Montreal outshot the Sabres by a slim 32-30 margin, and both teams were even on faceoffs throughout the night. A very nice bounce-back effort.
2. Who will win the team's end-of-year awards?
First of all, the team did not announce the winners via pregame ceremony as they have done in the past, they instead announced them via sponsored video packages during the game. Which, to be honest, is just stupid. Let the player get cheered in front of the home fans, give him a spotlight, do something aside from going for the easy money. Ugh.
Sabres Foundation Man of the Year: Zach Bogosian
Unsung Hero: Jake McCabe
Rookie of the Year: Evan Rodrigues
It was also nice to see the broadcast acknowledge most of the behind-the-scenes employees for their efforts all season long, everyone from the cameramen to the folks in the booth to Sabretooth.
3. How will Lehner respond to his performance on Monday?
Very well. Lehner looked calm and confident all night, and made 31 of 32 saves to earn the victory. A much, much stronger effort tonight.
Comment of the Game
Bogo man of the Year.
Must be all the giveaways
And this year the giveaways are even Buy One, Get One Free!
I’ll show myself out…
Posted by Kallinan