Score: Sabres 4, Bruins 3 (OT)
Shots: Buffalo 25, Boston 40
Buffalo Sabres Goals: Tage Thompson (27), Alex Tuch (16, 17), Dylan Cozens (12)
Boston Bruins Goals: David Pastrnak (25), Patrice Bergeron (15), Brad Marchand (10)
Plus 1 - Six-Game Winning Streak
The Sabres are now exiting the 2022 calendar year with a six-game winning streak. Saturday’s game was filled with ups and downs, and at some points, it certainly didn’t look like the Sabres were going to come out on top.
Let’s focus on a few key moments that really helped turn the tide for Buffalo.
Thompson’s goal tied the game just over three minutes after Pastrnak opened the scoring. It was another ridiculous show of his skill, a recurring theme this season so far.
Tuch’s breakaway goal in the second period gave the Sabres their first lead of the night but Cozens’ goal late in the third was just absolute perfection. As time started to tick down on the clock, things started going awry for Buffalo. First, JJ Peterka got tabbed with a double minor for high-sticking. Just a few seconds later, Ilya Lyubushkin was sent off for high-sticking. The Sabres had a long, critical penalty kill - and they did it.
Then, Rasmus Dahlin played goaltender, making a key save (with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen on the bench for the extra attacker), and sending a loooooooong pass up the ice to Cozens, who made no mistake:
Plus 2 - The Workhorse from Whitehorse
The game-winning goal deserves its own bullet point here, because, hoo boy. The Sabres did a good job of keeping pace with the Bruins in overtime, limiting Boston’s time with the puck and holding them to just one shot on goal.
Then, Cozens forced a turnover by Bergeron - the Boston captain - and executed a perfect drop pass to Tuch, who didn’t miss for his 17th of the season:
Plus 3 - UPL
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen looked generally fantastic on Saturday afternoon. Yes, there were some slip-ups, but more often than that, there were saves that made you go “Whoa.” Some of those saves, I’m still not sure how he kept that puck out of the net.
Overall, UPL faced 40 shots and had 37 saves - not a bad way to finish off the year. Expect to see Craig Anderson tomorrow in Ottawa, and then, down the line, the Sabres will have to figure out where Eric Comrie fits into the picture.
Comment of the Game
It’s less than 5 hours to 2023 here and everyone in Portugal is up and shouting “Krebs, Krebs, Krebs!”
It wasn’t the perfect game. There are obviously moments we can point to where things should’ve gone differently, like capitalizing on Boston’s early too many men penalty, or taking a few bad penalties in the third period. Even managing to get the Bruins to overtime and taking a point would have been a feat.
But more than that, there are a lot of positives that stand out from this game. Dahlin standing up for his goaltender after Frederic collided with him. Krebs doing his best to stay on pace with Clifton in a fight. Thompson’s stickwork, even if it didn’t end in a goal. Luukkonen’s big performance in net, Dahlin’s huge pass to Cozens on the tying goal, Cozens’ work on Tuch’s game-winner.
Oh, and beating the top team in the NHL on home ice is pretty, pretty sweet.
Cheers to 2022. We’ll see you back here tomorrow for a 7 p.m. puck drop in Ottawa.