Score: Sabres 6, Blues 2
Shots: Buffalo 32, St. Louis 36
Buffalo Sabres Goals: Jeff Skinner (8, 9); Dylan Cozens (5), Victor Olofsson (10), Jack Quinn (2,3)
St. Louis Blues Goals: Pavel Buchnevich (5), Brayden Schenn (6)
Plus 1 - A productive night
It’s easy to look at Tuesday night’s seven-goal effort and expect the Sabres to produce less offensively in Wednesday’s game. Realistically, there’s no quota of offense that can be ‘used up,’ but two high-scoring games in a row is atypical. Instead, the Sabres were clearly fueled by Tuesday’s win, along with the energy in the arena, and have now scored 13 goals in the last two games.
Skinner had two goals, but so too did Jack Quinn. Quinn has been stepping up, and once he finds his momentum and really starts building... watch out. Buffalo also received goals from Victor Olofsson, who now has 10 goals on the season (... when did that happen?) and Dylan Cozens. Overall, you saw nine different players register at least a point, a decent spread.
And this goal? My goodness.
Plus 2 - Strength in net
Since Craig Anderson played Tuesday, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen got the start on Wednesday night. Luukkonen looked positively inspired by the Sabres netminders of the past who wore the goathead, channeling the vibes of Dominik Hasek and Ryan Miller as he made save after save, including several big ones.
In the end, he stopped 34 of 36 shots faced. It’s not surprising to see him succeed, considering he’s been getting plenty of minutes at the AHL level to prepare him for these moments, but especially after a lackluster game like the one against Toronto earlier this month, it’s refreshing and reassuring.
Just like with Tuesday night’s game, there was a lot to like about the Sabres’ efforts on Wednesday. The Blues came in on a seven-game winning streak, but that didn’t matter. Buffalo came in ready to play from the moment the puck drop. They played a generally well-rounded game and three of four offensive lines produced. Luukkonen looked great in goal. The power play took advantage of two out of three opportunities. And of course, the energy in KeyBank Center with the debut of the black and red goathead jerseys and 90s night was immaculate.
These last two games have looked more like the Sabres that we were getting used to at the start of the season. Any team is going to go through ebbs and flows, ups and downs over the course of a season, but these are the kinds of games you want to see more of.
The next challenge for the Sabres: the New Jersey Devils, whose historic 13-game winning streak came to an end tonight in a loss to Toronto. Remember, Friday’s game is a later start, with an 8 p.m. puck drop.