Final Score: Sabres 2 | Jets 1
Shots on Goal: Jets 26 | Sabres 25
Sabres Goal Scorers: Kyle Okposo (8, 9)
Jets Goal Scorers: Blake Wheeler (21)
Plus 1: Hope Remains
Coming into Sunday afternoon’s game against Winnipeg, the playoff picture made this game a must-win.
Many fans find themselves hopeful that Buffalo can put together a run for the ages to not only get back into the playoff race but then subsequently propel themselves into a playoff spot.
That hope continued following Sunday’s game, which saw Buffalo shut Winnipeg down with a bus-parking effort in the third period.
Buffalo now sits six points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the third playoff berth in the Atlantic Division. Buffalo holds a game in hand.
Plus 2: Parking the Bus
Buffalo’s performance against Winnipeg was impressive from multiple aspects. Goaltender Jonas Johansson answered the bell multiple times.
Forward Kyle Okposo continued his strong play this afternoon with two more goals.
The most impressive stat of all from the day? Buffalo’s successful parking of the proverbial bus in the third period.
Krueger credits the team defensively for not giving up a scoring chance in the final 10 mins. Winnipeg didn't register a shot in the final 9:46 of the 3rd period. #Sabres50— Brian Koziol (@BrianWGR) February 23, 2020
The Sabres took locking things down to the next level. It is impossible to score goals if you cannot record a shot on net.
Plus 3: First Time Winner
For the first time in his professional career, Jonas Johansson finds himself a winner at the National Hockey League level.
Congrats on your first @NHL win, @jonasjohansoon! #Sabres50 pic.twitter.com/dvNfJFUvL0— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) February 23, 2020
In his fourth career appearance, and third career start, Johansson finally captured his first victory.
With today’s impressive performance, Johansson’s season stats improved to 1-1-1 with a 2.28 goals allowed average with a .910 save percentage.
From the looks of it, Johansson has taken the adjustment to the NHL and will only look to build off of Sunday’s performance.
First career win hugs pic.twitter.com/UjZgq05w52— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) February 23, 2020
Buffalo came into Sunday afternoon’s game with incredible expectations. The team had been red hot as of late, dispatching opponents with relative ease.
Winnipeg most certainly was a formidable opponent but just did not have enough to put themselves in a position to win.
With the Trade Deadline approaching on Monday afternoon, one has to wonder what this win - coupled with the aforementioned strong stretch of play - will do for Jason Botterill and his upcoming trade decisions.