Score: Sabres 5 | Red Wings 4 (SO)
Shots: BUF 34 | DET 45
Buffalo Sabres Goals: Dylan Cozens (7,-SH 8), Mattias Samuelsson (1), Jeff Skinner (11-PP)
Detroit Red Wings Goals: Jonatan Berggren (2), David Perron (7), Oskar Sundqvist (2,3)
Minus 1 - Lack of Discipline
Before we get to the good stuff, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way. The Sabres’ lack of discipline and subsequent penalties could have been a big problem on Wednesday night. Thankfully for Buffalo, they were able to stave off the Red Wings’ power play, which was 14th in the league entering the game. Giving your opponent a whopping seven power plays is almost never going to work out in your favor.
The biggest challenge came late in the third period, when one defenseman after another was penalized for the Sabres. Just shortly after Henri Jokiharju came out of the box, Rasmus Dahlin went in. Mattias Samuelsson followed soon after, giving the Red Wings plenty of time to pot a game-winning goal.
Luckily for the Sabres, that goal never came, but this is simply not sustainable.
Minus 1 - Third Period Collapse
The Sabres started off Wednesday night’s game rough, allowing Berggren to open the scoring just 1:20 in. But after that, things evened out and eventually the Sabres found their step. We’ll talk more about the goals in a second, but Buffalo came into the third period up 4-1. If they’d learned anything from Monday’s loss to the Lightning, it should have been this: don’t sit back. Don’t let up.
As the Red Wings scored one goal after another in the third period, you just knew that tying goal was coming sooner rather than later — and sure enough, it did. As if you needed a reminder, the Sabres were up 5-3 on Monday night with under six minutes to play and blew that one. A full 60-minute effort is critical for long-term success.
Plus 1 - Dylan Cozens & Mattias Samuelsson
Dylan Cozens had a great night for himself. His first goal came on a shorthanded breakaway and was simply a thing of beauty. His second goal, which put the Sabres up 3-1 near the midway point of the game, helped push momentum in Buffalo’s favor. He also had numerous other chances as the night went on, and could’ve easily potted the hat trick if things had gone an inch this way or that way.
Cozens now has 18 points on the season and is fifth on the Sabres in scoring.
And how about a big round of applause for Mattias Samuelsson, who notched his first career NHL goal in his 64th game? The goal wasn’t the prettiest, but hey, it counted. Let’s all take a second to bask in Samuelsson’s pure joy and elation after scoring. He was literally jumping up and down on the ice in glee:
Mattias Samuelsson scores his first NHL goal! pic.twitter.com/V4HsR1nUPb— The Charging Buffalo (@TheChargingBUF) December 1, 2022
Plus 1 - Craig Anderson
Craig Anderson stepped up big-time on Wednesday night, stopping 41 of 45 shots faced plus all three shooters in the shootout. He even recorded a point, notching an assist on Cozens’ shorthanded tally. On the 20-year anniversary of his NHL debut, he showed flashes of absolute brilliance, including this ridiculous slide, pad stack and glove save that brought back memories of Dominik Hasek:
This game was... a lot. Just when you thought things were going really well for the Sabres, it all fell apart. Then, somehow, they managed to kill a bunch of late penalties and force overtime. Then, somehow, they managed to get to the shootout... and Jack Quinn with a very nice move to give Buffalo a win they certainly didn’t look like they deserved in the third period.
There’s little time to ruminate on this one, as the Sabres are right back in action on Thursday to host the Colorado Avalanche. Puck drop - back on MSG - is set for 7 p.m.