Score: Sabres 6 | Blackhawks 5
Shots: BUF 37 | CHI 21
Buffalo Sabres Goals: Victor Olofsson (13, 14), Kyle Okposo (17), Vinnie Hinostroza (11), Alex Tuch (9), Tage Thompson (28)
Chicago Blackhawks Goals: Calvin de Haan (2), Sam Lafferty (5), Jonathan Toews (10-PPG), Seth Jones (5), Alex DeBrincat
Minus 1: A Lesson On How Not To Start A Hockey Game
As the horn sounded to signify the conclusion of the first period, things could not have gone much worse for the Sabres. There was maybe a total of 4 positive shifts throughout the period with any offensive zone pressure. The Blackhawks were quicker to pucks and significantly more physical, making their presence felt from puck drop. The Sabres were lucky to exit the game only down by 3. If not for a defensive play by Samuelsson the Blackhawks had an opportunity for an easy tip in goal to extend their lead to 4. It seemed like some of the lethargic energy that showed up in the game versus the Rangers carried over into tonight’s game.
Plus 1: Line Shuffling Adds Energy & Compete
The Sabres started the second period down three goals. Less than two minutes into the frame the Blackhawks increased their lead to four. As the period progressed coach Granato made the smart decision to shake up his lines. The top line of Thompson, Skinner, and Tuch seemed to have lost of its chemistry as of late, and the line juggling certainly added a spark to the Sabres game throughout the entirety of the second period. The Sabres controlled the play for extended stretches, and were able to score three straight goals, bringing them to within one at the start of the third period.
Plus 2: What A Comeback!
Definitely not how the game was scripted, but a win is a win. Tage Thompson capped the victory with a goal that came off a broken stick with close to ten seconds left in the game on the power-play. This was a game that the Sabres deserved to win, even with their underwhelming start to the game. Cheers to a 4 goal comeback!
Dylan Cozens has looked like he turned the corner in his gameplay over the past few games. Even though entering this game he only had 2 points in his past 11 games, his overall play and ability to get into scoring positions has been noticeable. He was rewarded with his continued strong play in this game with a multi-point night.
Jeff Skinner continues to set an example for giving his all on a shift by shift basis. He generated multiple high quality scoring chances on his own, and deserves high praise for his season of redemption. He often takes on multiple defenders and even with not being the biggest guy, has a strong knack for coming away with the puck. His skilled and slippery play is a welcome sight for many Sabres fans.
Dustin Tokarski had a very weak game for the Sabres. Coming into this game his recent play was very strong, this was an indicator that we can’t expect elite level performance from the Sabres back-up goalie for too long.
Rasmus Dahlin’s increased physicality has been noticeable as of late. He continues to develop his game, adding another layer where physicality was not something commonly found in his first couple of seasons with the team. In my opinion the only thing missing that would make Dahlin a franchise level defenseman would be an added element of straight line speed. He has the agility and slick hands, but often comes on the losing end of straight line foot races. Big fan of him wearing the ‘A’ on his jersey this game. The sky is the limit for this 21 year old.