Score: Sabres 3 | Rangers 2
Shots: BUF 29 | NY 30
Sabres Goals: Casey Mittelstadt (3), Victor Olofsson (10)
Rangers Goals: Artemi Panarin (10, 11)
Plus - 1 | Pace
Tonight’s game had a solid pace and plenty of chances from both teams. It was a vast improvement from what we have been subjected to watching this season in terms of entertainment and effort from Buffalo. While that does not say much, passing between Sabres players has also gotten cleaner.
After a 1-0 lead by New York, Casey Mittelstadt found himself in a two-on-one opportunity where he opted not to pass to Taylor Hall, but to shoot the puck instead. It was a beautiful goal on the far side buried just inside the post to tie up the game. Mittelstadt seems to have found his groove and is now on a three-game point streak.
Later in the game, when it looked like it would be a 2-1 defeat by New York after another Panarin goal, Buffalo did not give up in the third period as they historically have this season.
This was the first comeback win when down going into the third period this season.
Plus - 2 | A Few Good Men
There has been a lot of chatter about Victor Olofsson this season - some good, but mostly bad - with the main criticism being his play at even strength (and some ugly turnovers as of late). Well, tonight was different. He took advantage of linemate Kyle Okposo losing control of the puck in the Rangers’ end at even strength in the third period and forced the Sabres into overtime for the second game in a row.
Linus Ullmark also deserves an honorable mention with his 28 saves on 30 shots faced. He recorded 11 saves in the third period, one in overtime, and stood his ground against the likes of Panarin and Mika Zebanejad in the shootout. In shootouts this season, Ullmark has faced 13 shooters and stopped 12 shots.
Shout out to Tage Thompson, too, who had an impressive goal in the shootout to help lead his team to victory.
Minus - 1 | Pathetic Power Play
In their two power plays, the Sabres only managed one (!) shot total and at one point, almost gave up a short-handed goal, too. Buffalo failed to create enough chances to make the Rangers work to defend their zone and it was often difficult to watch. You would never know they were one of the better power-play units in the league the first half of the season. Clean it up, boys!
All-in-all, this was one of the better games we have seen in a long time, and just like that Buffalo is on a four-game points streak. There’s a different feeling within the team right now, and it’s a good one. The Sabres are back on the road on Tuesday when they face the New Jersey Devils at 7:00 PM.