Score: Sabres 6, Red Wings 3
Shots: Buffalo 35, Red Wings 31
Buffalo Sabres: Goals - Mittelstadt (6), Skinner (17), Mittelstadt (7), Okposo (4, 5, 6)
Detroit Red Wings: Goals - Kubalik (11, 12), Oesterle (2)
Plus 1 - League-Leading Offense
The Buffalo Sabres continue to set the pace as far as scoring goes in the NHL, with 4.0 goals per game. Last night though, it wasn’t all the usual suspects on the scoreboard however (with the exception of Jeff Skinner). Tage Thompson, Rasmus Dahlin, Alex Tuch and even Dylan Cozens were all quiet but somehow the Sabres offense would not be silent, despite the ten days between games.
Plus 2 - A Half-Dozen Goals Again
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 against the San Jose Sharks, and pummeled the Californians on the ice as well as the scoreboard 6-3. And then in mid-December a 6-0 win over the Kings.
Buffalo will wear the goatheads a total of twelve times this season, with the December 23rd tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning postponed. 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.
Final 5v5 on-ice and individual numbers:— Chad DeDominicis (@CMDeDominicis) December 30, 2022
- Cozens line got their swagger back.
- Power was a 1.07 xGF in NST model at 5v5 (SVA)
- Thompson line controlled play too. pic.twitter.com/7JHgbjOux0
Minus 1 - Letting Teams Back In
More than once this season the Sabres have been guilty of falling asleep in the third period of games that are basically won at that point. A couple of times they have paid the price for this complacence too, though last night they managed to get their heads back in the game long enough to hold off the Red Wings comeback attempt as Detroit outshot them 17-10 in the last stanza. Something for the coaching staff to work on there.
Comment of the Game
Our comment of the game last night was from swontfan -
KBC is hopping tonight. Of course it helps being up 5-0 - holidays probably also help - but arena filled with Sabres fans and not opposing team jerseys (filled may be key word in that sentence) and if they finish this off they will be above real .500 which is usually good for a playoff but certainly contention. Hopefully this continues for a few more months.
Away from DBTB, captain and hat-trick scorer Kyle Okposo had a wonderful comment as well -
“ We’re trying to become part of the glue that helps this community heal and holds this community together. We tried to go show that on the ice tonight.”
In an emotionally-charged evening, the Sabres getting a big win was very important for a city that is hurting badly. The latest snowstorm to hit Buffalo has already claimed dozens of victims with the number continuing to grow as the days go by.
The Sabres had already seen two games postponed because of the difficulty in clearing roads and even getting to the arena. Still, the Sabres managed to stay limber during the enforced absence and extended their winning streak now to five games (7-2-1) in their last ten games.
No one’s talking about possible playoff contention quite yet, but the Sabres are certainly playing like they belong in the postseason.