The Sabres got off to a quick start tonight in this one. Just over a minute into the game, Conor Sheary caused a neutral zone turnover. He entered the zone and dropped the puck to Casey Mittelstadt at the top of the faceoff circle. Mittelstadt created some space and snapped a wrist shot high glove on Darcy Kuemper to make it 1-0.
Mittelstadt goal replay pic.twitter.com/CvX7KpBt6h— Ben Mathewson (@Ben_Mathewson) December 14, 2018
Just a few minutes later, they kept the pressure on to increase their lead. Sam Reinhart made a beautiful pass to Jack Eichel in the neutral zone. Eichel then slid it across to Jeff Skinner and he skated in alone to beat Kuemper for his 22nd goal of the season.
The Coyotes got themselves back into the game on a nice play from Christian Fischer. He tricked Carter Hutton into thinking he was taking the puck around the net the opposite and quickly wrapped it around at the post to make it 2-1.
Both teams had their opportunities, but the Sabres were the better team in the open 20 minutes. They held a 2-1 lead on the scoreboard after the first.
In the second period neither team was able to find the back of the net. However, it was a pretty entertaining back and forth game in the middle frame. Both clubs had their opportunities.
Kyle Okposo fired a shot off the post on a nice shot and the Coyotes created some chances in tight on Hutton.
The two teams fired 28 shots on goal in the second period (15-13 Sabres) but Buffalo held onto their 2-1 lead.
Early in the third period you may have started to get a little concerned that the Sabres were letting the Coyotes hang around. They had a few chances early in the final frame, but were unable to find the equalizer.
Zemgus Girgenson made another solid play to cause a turnover and sprung Evan Rodrigues off of it. Rodrigues blew past Alex Goligoski and beat Kuemper with a great shot low blocker side to give the Sabres a two goal lead.
Reverse angle of the E-Rod goal pic.twitter.com/UxCtkJ0unt— Ben Mathewson (@Ben_Mathewson) December 14, 2018
From that point on the Sabres locked it down defensively. We almost had a really fun moment when Hutton tried to take a shot at the empty net, but it was blocked by a Coyotes player.
The Sabres picked up their second straight win and look ahead to a tough back to back this weekend.
Final: Sabres 3, Coyotes 1
Shots on Goal: Sabres 33 | Coyotes 26
Sabres Goal Scorers: Casey Mittelstadt (4), Jeff Skinner (22), Rodrigues (2)
Coyotes Goal Scorers: Christian Fischer (7)
Three Stars of the Game
1. Zemgus Girgensons
2. Casey Mittelstadt (1 G)
3. Carter Hutton (25 saves on 26 shots)