Score: Vancouver: 6, Buffalo: 5 (OT)
Shots: VAN-30, BUF-28
Buffalo Goalscorers: Kyle Okposo, Rasmus Ristolainen, Victor Olofsson, Zemgus Girgensons, Marcus Johansson
Vancouver Goalscorers: Josh Leivo (2), Antoine Roussel (2), Tyler Myers, J.T. Miller
Minus-1: What the heck was that first period?
Saturday’s game didn’t start off great for the Sabres, who were outshot 9-3 in the opening twenty minutes of play. It took over eight minutes for Buffalo to record its first shot on goal, and the period was filled with turnovers. Josh Leivo eventually made it 1-0 after a missed pass by Marco Scandella, and a missed save from Hutton. Let’s be honest: the Sabres were lucky to only be down by a goal after twenty minutes of play.
Plus-1: Goals are Nice
As much as it’s always nice to see Jeff Skinner or Jack Eichel score, it’s also admittedly nice to see the Sabres getting some secondary scoring from other players. Kyle Okposo scored in his first game back from injury, Rasmus Ristolainen did something good, and Marcus Johansson got some of his MoJo back! Zemgus Girgensons also found the back of the net, and Victor Olofsson scoring is always a thing of beauty.
Defensive slip-ups like the Marco Scandella play on the Canucks’ early goal just can’t happen, but the team also needs to be able to rely on its goaltending to make those saves. The same can be said for the overtime, game-winning goal. As bad as it was for Henri Jokiharju to get called for a penalty in overtime, the play happened to try to allow Eichel to make the shot. Hutton needed to play stronger in overtime and make that final save, and it didn’t happen.
Minus-2: You’ve Got to Play More than 60 Minutes
Saturday’s loss marks the fifth straight overtime loss for the Sabres, including one shootout loss. Buffalo can maybe (sometimes) play sixty minutes, or at least play strong enough to find themselves tied at the end of sixty, but if the game isn’t over, they’ve got to keep playing and find a way to win. Every point counts.
Throw the first period out the window. One good thing to take away from Saturday night’s game is that the Sabres were able to twice battle back from two-goal deficits. While you obviously don’t want your team to go down by a pair, it’s good to see Buffalo find a way to rally back, not once but twice. It’s just a shame they couldn’t really complete the comeback.
Next up: the Edmonton Oilers, who are sitting in second place in the Western Conference, with seven more points than the Sabres.