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Sabres’ Six-Goal Third Period Slays The Kings

It was tough sledding for the first two periods before Buffalo unlocked the visitor’s conservative gameplan

Los Angeles Kings v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Joe Hrycych/NHLI via Getty Images

Score: Sabres 6, Kings 0

Shots: Buffalo 31, Kings 40

Buffalo Sabres: Goals - Thompson (22), Olofsson (13), Peterka (7), Tuch (14), Thompson (23), Krebs (3)

Los Angelese Kings: Goals - N/A

Plus 1 - League-Leading Offense

The Buffalo Sabres continued their high-scoring ways against all the odds. The Los Angeles Kings were hurting and embarrassed by the Columbus Blue Jackets, losing 6-5 in overtime, and wanted to play a defensive game.

The first period was particularly one-sided as the Kings went into the intermission outshooting the Sabres 16-3, but somehow the score still at 0-0. Buffalo was having a hard time getting any offensive zone time because they insisted on stickhandling through the Kings and the visitors were having none of it.

However, late in the second period the Sabres finally switched to using their speed to their favor on the forecheck and started opening up LA. The Kings giving themselves penalty troubles only compounded their woes as Tage Thompson scored a pair of power play goals to take his tally up to 23, second in the league and only three behind Connor McDavid.

Buffalo are as of this morning the highest scoring offense in the entire NHL — would any of us here on DBTB have believed we would be saying this even just two or three seasons ago?? — with 3.93 goals per game. The Sabres have scored 14 more goals than the Leafs, and yet find themselves a whole 16 points behind their northern neighbors. You can only imagine if they fix that defense how good these Sabres can be.

Los Angeles Kings v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

Plus 2 - 6-6-6, The Number of the Goathead

The decision to bring back the famous ‘Goathead’ jersey was one that was widely welcomed by the fanbase. While the colors did not necessarily fit the Sabres blue and gold schema, it did hark back to a very successful and enjoyable era of Buffalo hockey that we all yearn for.

With how well the Sabres have played wearing the black and red threads, Buffalo are going to have to consider doing this again next season too. The jerseys were first unveiled this season on ‘90s night with the Sabres taking on the St. Louis Blues, a game which ended 6-2 to the home side. They then wore them ten days ago against the San Jose Sharks, and pummeled the Californians on the ice as well as the scoreboard 6-3. And then last night a 6-0 win over the Kings.

Buffalo will wear the goatheads a total of twelve times this season, next on December 23rd against the Tampa Bay Lightning. While no one’s expecting the Sabres to stack half a dozen on the Bolts, the way the Sabres are playing I certainly wouldn’t be betting against them doing just that.

Minus 1 / Plus 3 - The Acceptance Phase

It feels just wrong trying to pick out some negatives in a high-scoring shutout win. Should we harp on that the offense seemed stymied when trying to crack a defensive-minded side that pushed two forwards high and sat back with three? Or should we give thanks that our veteran goaltender was on top form (as he usually is) keeping out the Kings in a 40-save shutout?

At this point we should just accept that this is who the Sabres are, an entertaining team that is proficient enough to bury an opponent like one of the famed southern tier snowstorms blowing off Lake Erie, but also equally perfectly capable of laying an egg and shooting themselves in the foot with defensive errors.

Comment of the Game

WesIsaLeo had this gem of a comment with regards to Tage’s thunderbolts -

“Oh my lord his shot could cure diseases ”

With the Bills in action on Saturday against the Phins, EichEichBaby (you gonna change that handle or what?) gets an honorable mention too -

Someone please have Dorsey call Saturday’s game in a Goathead jersey.

Final Thoughts

With the Sabres going on a three-game road-trip, this was a good way to say farewell to the KeyBank Center for a week or so. Tougher tests await starting with the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, and then the Arizona Coyotes and Vegas Golden Knights before coming back home to play the Lightning.

It was important to get the big win here and get their heads in a positive frame of mind for the upcoming games.