Score: Sabres 3, Blackhawks 4
Shots: BUF 33 CHI 26
Buffalo Sabres: Goals: Victor Olofsson (18), Tage Thompson (32), Peyton Krebs (4)
Chicago Blackhawks Goals: Connor Murphy (4), Philipp Kurashev (6), Seth Jones (3, 4)
Plus 1: TNT Lights a Spark
With less than a minute left in the first period, Tage Thompson got a wrist shot past Blackhawks goalie Petr Mrazek to give Buffalo a 2-1 lead. Thompson continues to make magic happen on the ice and fans couldn’t be happier.
Thompson’s 32nd goal of the season was his first since Jan. 14. Keep blowing it up in the rink, TNT.
Plus 2: Krebs Gets a Shortie
3:10 into the second period, Jack Johnson got two minutes for boarding Jeff Skinner. The Sabres blew the man advantage with sloppy puck control and giveaways. Almost as soon as Johnson’s penalty was over, the refs gave the Sabres a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty.
Peyton Krebs broke away, skated down the ice and beat Mrazek one-on-one with a backhander to make it 3-1 Sabres. Shorthanded goals don’t happen every night, so it was great to watch.
Minus 1: Dahlin is Shoved, Serves 10 Minutes for Complaining
1:34 into the third period, Philipp Kurashev got a tip-in past Craig Anderson. Rasmus Dahlin made his way to talk to one of the refs and ran into a group of Blackhawks players celebrating the goal. The two sides exchanged words, one of the Hawks shoved Dahlin and the zebra awarded Dahlin with a 10-minute misconduct.
Whatever Dahlin said or did, the punishment didn’t fit the crime and was needless overkill. Sabres fans are used to officials screwing over Buffalo and penalizing players for things other teams get away with, but even so, this was over the top. Buffalo’s defense became depleted for half the remaining ice time and the rest of the d-men were more fatigued, making Chicago’s come-from-behind win that much easier. Thanks a lot, NHL.
Minus 2: Sabres Can’t Close It Out
WesIsaLeo had the Comment of the Game: “When I woke up it was 3-1, Buffalo. Fed up with this team, now. Can’t finish a game to save their lives at the moment.” The Sabres began the third period leading 3-1, thanks to goals from Olofsson, Thompson and Krebs.
Then, early in the third, Kurashev got Chicago’s second goal and with less than a minute left in the game, Seth Jones scored to tie it up. The refs reviewed the play, because Craig Anderson said Tyler Johnson, who screened him, put his elbow in Anderson’s glove, not letting him make the save. The video reviewers awarded the Hawks the goal anyway and forced an overtime.
Buffalo couldn’t close it out in OT, as Jones got his second goal of the game 2:24 into the extra period to win it 4-3. It was bad enough the refs chose to stick it to the Sabres, but Buffalo blew its lead, letting the Hawks get plenty of scoring opportunities and beating the visitors when it mattered most.
The Buffalo Sabres lost five of their last six contests and once again it looks like Buffalo’s playoff hopes are slipping away. The team shows promise at times, winning against opponents including Boston and Washington and playing games where fans catch fleeting glimpses of greatness. While the Buffalo Bills prepare for a divisional matchup in their fourth straight playoff run, Blue and Gold supporters wonder how many more years they’ll have to wait to see a Sabres game after April. With the way the team’s played lately, a long time.
The Sabres host the New York Islanders tomorrow night at KeyBank Center. Puck drop is at 7:30.