Shots on Goal: Sabres 22 | Stars 25
Sabres Goal Scorers: Victor Olofsson (5), Sam Reinhart (3), Jeff Skinner (4), Marcus Johansson (3)
Stars Goal Scorers: N/A
The 24-year-old Swedish winger has a lot to be happy about these days. The rookie set an NHL record tonight as the first player to score his first seven goals on the power play. With assists from Rasmus Dahlin and Jack Eichel, he scored on a beautiful one-timer from the right side. Olofsson even added an assist later on for good measure because...why not?
Plus-2: Team Effort
The three stars of tonight’s game were Carter Hutton (in his first Sabres career shutout), Olofsson, and Reinhart, respectively. However, the 60 minutes that were played were that of a true team effort. Aside from some great goals from top forwards, there weren’t really any players that made you roll your eyes. Newcomers like Henri Jokiharju and Colin Miller played will in their defensive pairings with Marco Scandella and Dahlin. During the last few games, Vladimir Sobotka has even contributed a nice physical presence in addition to some “responsible” playing that has transferred from practice to games, according to head coach Ralph Krueger.
Plus-3: Keeping the Lead
Dallas didn’t exactly look like an inspired, competitive match tonight. However, historically, Buffalo has gotten themselves into trouble with maintaining a lead. They were unable to win in regulation just the other night against the Florida Panthers after blowing a two-goal lead. Florida shouldn’t have left that game with a point. Perhaps Krueger can help clean this up as we continue through the season.
Minus-1: More Shots, Please
While the Sabres were the clear dominating team against the lackluster Stars, their two goals in the third period came with only two shots attached to them. It may have worked tonight, but having only those two shots for the entire period is going to catch up to the team eventually. With a four-goal lead in the final period, one might argue that there was no need to keep shooting pucks at the net. Is that true? Maybe. It would just be a shame if this became a habit. There will always be a need for offense to continue improving.
Sabres fans are quietly and cautiously cheering all over Buffalo and I can’t blame them. Dare I mention the topic completely beaten to death? We all got too excited last November, but it was only to be disappointed at the end of another season. Other than the obvious point of better coaching so far (see? There I am being cautious) - better decisions are also being made by players. This beautiful combination is resulting in less careless penalties and a higher number in the win column. It’ll be interesting to see where the upcoming road trip takes the team, but for now here is another fun thought: this is the best start on home ice the Sabres have completed since the 2006-2007 season.
The Buffalo Sabres head to California for their next game, which is Wednesday October 16th vs. the Anaheim Ducks at 10:00 PM.