Score: BUF - 3 | EDM - 2
Shots: Sabres 23 | Oilers 35
Buffalo Sabres Goals: Anders Bjork (3), Dylan Cozens (2,3)
Edmonton Oilers Goals: Leon Draisaitl (13,14)
Plus +1: Cozens’ best game of the season.
This was, in my opinion, a career defining game for Dylan Cozens. His first multi-goal game against the best team in the NHL was impressive, but it was his checking of the Connor McDavid line, all night, that was incredible. He was 50% on the dots and held McDavid in check, keeping the all-star Oiler to 1 power play assist for the night.
Cozens’ first goal of the game was a beauty. Winger Drake Caggiula intercepted a pass in the neutral zone then deftly slid the puck to a breaking Cozens. The big Sabres centreman burst into enemy territory and, with three Oilers in hot pursuit, went armpit on Oiler Goalie Stuart Skinner to knot this one at two.
Minus -1: The Sabres reserved box seats for this one.
Buffalo ended up with 12 PIMS on the night which included 2 infractions while they had a man advantage. All in all, Buffalo was credited with giving the NHL’s best power play 6 chances and were fortunate that Edmonton only scored on 2 of them. That said, credit to the Sabres penalty kill unit as they played well enough to keep the home side in the game.
Plus +2: Block Party
The Sabre defenders stood tall in the face of some heavy artillery, blocking 21 shots throughout the game. Defenseman Colin Miller finished with 4 blocks, while fellow D-men Robert Hagg and Mark Pysyk finished with 3 a piece.
Plus +3: Tokarski seals up the gushing Oilers.
Goaltender Dustin Tokarski deserved this one. He’s been solid this season and has often played much better then the final scores indicate. Tonight, Tokarski was strong throughout the game, but it was during the 3rd period, when the Oilers were pushing to tie the game, that he made some amazing saves. Number 31 had to stop 14 shots in the third to keep the game at 3-2 en route to earning himself a very well deserved win.
Best Game Thread Comment:
Someone call the zookeeper, the zebras are out of control. - bdonaghu
There were some very questionable calls throughout this game, in particular, the Jacob Bryson “hooking” penalty that led to a Draisaitl PPG. Thankfully, the referees wore out their whistles during the first and second frames and let the boys play in the third.
Final Thoughts & Notes
This was a total team win but here are my unsung heroes from the game...
- Head Coach Don Granato. Coach Granato clearly came in with a game plan and the Sabres executed that plan to perfection. The Sabres kept the Oilers to the outside all night long with the forwards dropping down to help the Buffalo defenseman box out Edmonton’s skilled players and keep them on the perimeter.
- Buffalo’s 4th line. They were noticeable every time they hit the ice, keeping the play in the Oilers zone with a nice blend of muscle and speed. Winger Ander Bjork started the scoring when he chipped the puck away from Oilers point man, Cody Ceci, then turned on the jets to move in on a break away....
- Defenseman Mark Pysyk. Overall, I thought all of the Sabres’ blueliners played very well, but Pysyk stood out to me. He was blocking shots and winning puck battles with a quick stick all night. Each time he touched the puck, he moved it safely and effectively which was a welcomed sight against a dangerous Oiler lineup.
- It doesn’t get any easier as the Sabres are back in action this Saturday, November 13th, against their cross lake rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs (9-5-1).