Score: BUF - 4 | MTL - 1
Shots: Sabres 39 | Canadiens 26
Buffalo Sabres goals: Thompson (9), Eakin (3), Okposo (6), Thompson (10)
Montreal Canadiens goals: Anderson (5)
Plus 1: Thompson continues to produce
If there’s one player that Sabres fan should be thoroughly impressed with this season, it’s Tage Thompson. Thompson seems to really be coming into his own, and has improved many different parts of his game, including puck possession and shooting. He’s always had a great shot but has struggled to hit the net at times in previous years. Can’t say the same for this season. At this point through 20 games, Thompson has 10 goals, easily beating his previous high of 8 goals last season through 38 games. With Jack Eichel and other former top Sabres players gone, Tage Thompson has the chance to be the highlight of this Buffalo offense. And to this point, he isn’t squandering his opportunity.
Plus 2: Complete Team Effort
This was one of the most apparent games of the year where the Sabres played well on offense, defense and in net through all three periods on the way to a win. Buffalo was able to score four times, but also had half a dozen other fantastic chances to extend their lead further. The defense committed far less turnovers in the back end, and limited the number of Montreal scoring opportunities. Dustin Tokarski was also solid in net, only letting up one goal, while making a few strong saves. While the Canadiens don’t seem to be as much competition this year compared to other teams, it is still refreshing to see the Sabres dominate another NHL team in all three phases of the game.
Plus 3: Finally Playing to the Finish
There have been many games this year where the Sabres played well in the first two periods or so, but then folded in the third. Not this time. It was encouraging to see Buffalo play the third period aggressively and not pull back, letting Montreal close the gap at any point. Tokarski made a handful of good saves throughout the third, while the Sabres improved their lead up to a more comfortable three. Good things happen when you play a full 60 minutes, and Buffalo was rewarded against Montreal because of it.
After the Sabres put together a string of tough loses recently, giving up 22 goals in the past four games, it was good to see them come together and prove there’s still a lot of reasons to be hopeful. It’s hard not to root for this team, who seem to play more inspired and with more passion than years prior. It’s also great to see guys like Okposo and Skinner have turn around years, while young guys like Cozens and Thompson only continue to improve. There is something to be thankful for concerning the Sabres after all.
Next up: Buffalo heads on the road immediately to Detroit to face the Red Wings (9-9-3) Saturday night at 7 pm.