Score: Sabres 7, Canadiens 2
Shots: Buffalo 38, Montreal 31
Buffalo Sabres: Goals - Dahlin (8), Peterka (4), Tuch (10), Skinner (6) & (7), Jokiharju (1), Thompson (13)
Montreal Canadiens: Goals - Caufield (12), Monahan (4)
Plus 1 - Coming out swinging
The Buffalo Sabres skated into Bell Center and decided enough was enough. This time they had packed their scoring sticks because the determination with which the Sabres started this game showed there was plenty of fight still left in this team despite their miserable eight-game losing streak.
Tage Thompson found Rasmus Dahlin cruising into the slot in the first minute of play to put Buffalo ahead, and within another minute or so Dylan Cozens persistence got JJ Peterka a goal and Alex Tuch then added to the tally on a power play after
Dennis Chris Wideman tried to resuscitate the Habs by fighting Tyson Jost.
There were definitely some games in the now-ended skid that Buffalo probably didn’t deserve to lose, but getting lynchpin defenseman Mattias Samuelsson back after weeks out made a big difference as well as waiver pickup Jost who logged over 14 minutes of ice time with an assist to boot.
The quickest three goals to begin a game in Buffalo Sabres history came on Jan. 6, 2010 when Tyler Myers, Jochen Hecht and Clarke MacArthur scored three goals in the first 2:11 of a 5-3 win over Tampa Bay.— Sabres PR (@SabresPR) November 23, 2022
Plus 2 - Penalty Kill unit stiffened up
Today marked the end of another very important negative streak - games with a
shorthanded goal given up on the penalty kill, and the number was nine. The penalty kill units have been all at sea and the losing run neatly syncing up with the special teams woes was no coincidence. The Canadiens had plenty of opportunities (six!) with the man advantage, including a spell of 4-on-3 hockey in the second period too.
The twelve full minutes on ice played shorthanded by the team is a new high for the Sabres, and Craig Anderson was excellent again between the sticks making 29 saves. To rub salt into the Habs wounds, Buffalo scored on two of their four power plays to make it five power play goals in the last three games.
Plus 3 - The monkey is off their backs
Buffalo’s next two games are against the St Louis Blues (seven straight wins) and the New Jersey Devils (thirteen straight wins). While streaks are made to be broken, the odds were genuinely short that the Sabres would have only added to those in their opponents’ favor. So, it was very important to get the win today, and the team delivered.
The comment of the game today goes to coach Granato, who was very relieved that the losing streak was finally over -
“It’s taken a weight off my shoulders personally, it’s great, it’s fun to see the guys play like that...you see the care behind the scenes, it’s really nice to seem them enjoy this tonight.”
Dahlin gets an honorable mention however for his own take on what Granato said -
This was more like the Buffalo Sabres that started the season on fire and made hockey fun to watch again. Tonight it was like the players decided they would stop feeling sorry about themselves and do something about it.
While every team has to deal with injuries, when you have such a young core and you start losing your top defensemen and key veterans, it’s understandable the run Buffalo went on the last few weeks. Did you realize it was this bad?
First time since game three of the season that the Sabres had their top four defensemen in the lineup. Made a big difference.— Lance Lysowski (@LLysowski) November 23, 2022
With the slide arrested, it’s a good time to return to consistent efforts and hopefully consistent results in the win column for the next few weeks. For now, we can give thanks to the Buffalo Sabres for finally getting a victory! Happy Thanksgiving all!