Join us here for live updates & thoughts from the rink!
6:50 PM: Buffalo loves its hockey. We all know that, but I’m pleasantly surprised at how full this crowd is tonight. Granted, the appeal of seeing : Slafkovsky can’t be understated. (And yes, there are a handful of Habs jerseys in the crowd.)
7:08 PM: The anthems are finally (finally!) over, and we’re getting ready for puck drop. It’s Vrbetic in net for the Habs, while Beck Warm gets the start for the Sabres.
7:14 PM: It’s early in the game, but Warm has already had to make a few big saves. He had a decent one on a wrister by Xhejaj, then stopped a shot from Filip Mesar down low. The physicality of this game is also evident from the start.
7:21 PM: Josh Bloom & Filip Cederqvist had a really nice play and nearly capitalized, but the puck slipped off Bloom’s stick before he could get the final shot off. On the same play, at the other end of the ice, Heineman scores for Montreal to make it 1-0.
7:25 PM: Filip Mesar goes bar down to score shorthanded for the Habs, putting them up 2-0. The goal came off a great play by Juraj Slafkovsky, which.... yeah. No surprise there.
7:28 PM: How quickly things change. The Sabres just scored two quick goals to tie this one up - both from undrafted players. Josh Passolt picked up a pass from Linus Weissbach on the first one, catching the goalie moving and capitalizing on the open space. Nolan Burke ripped off a shot shortly thereafter to tie it.
7:38 PM: The offense on both sides definitely seemed to find its legs as the first period went on, and it’s 2-2 after twenty minutes. We also saw plenty of physicality in the opening frame. Not surprising given that some of these players are hoping to get a contract out of this; you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get noticed. (P.S. Shots on goal were 14-12 MTL.)
7:56 PM: Matt Savoie takes the draw to start the second period and we’re underway. It takes only 1:16 for Tyson Kozak to strike as he redirects a point shot from Mats Lindgren, putting the Sabres up 3-2. Loved what I saw from Kozak during development camp; excited to see what this week brings for him.
8:08 PM: I feel for the guys who have to defend against Filip Mesar and Juraj Slafkovsky when they’re on the ice together. Their talent is clear.
8:11 PM: With 9:38 to play in the second period, it’s time for the Sabres to switch goalies. Beck Warm heads to the bench after an impressive performance. Now, it’s time to see what Tomas Suchanek can do... and he’s instantly thrown into the fire as the Sabres head to the PK.
8:20 PM: Josh Bloom & a teammate just had a great combo to essentially bodyslam a Habs prospect between the two of them. It was a great play, but unfortunately for Bloom, it seems like he came out of it the worst. He was clearly uncomfortable and skated off holding his shoulder.
8:22 PM: The pace of the game has certainly picked up. Players are flying out there, with both speed and plenty of hits. Buffalo leads 3-2 on the early goal from Kozak. Suchanek has looked fantastic, as expected. Shots in the period were 16-8 in favor of MTL.
8:50 PM: Tyson Kozak scores a beautiful goal to make it 4-2 early in the third period. He went in on a 2-on-1, kept the puck instead of passing and was rewarded with a nice backhander as a result. Oh, and it was shorthanded.
8:54 PM: Matt Savoie and Aleksander Kisakov nearly connected on a nice play, but Savoie just missed shoveling it in. Lots of “oohs” and “ahhs” tonight elicited from both sides. Moments later, it’s Savoie and Filip Cederqvist nearly connecting.
8:56 PM: Owen Beck makes it look easy at the other end of the ice, flipping the puck up and over Suchanek to close the gap to one goal.
9:03 PM: Ah yes, the classic “fight at a prospects’ challenge game” time. It’s Zach Berzolla dropping the gloves with Lucas Condotta. Sure, okay, fine.
9:12 PM: That’s a W. Sabres 4, Habs 3.