Score: Sabres 3, Islanders 2 (OT)
Shots: BUF 45 | NYI 26
Buffalo Sabres: Goals: Alex Tuch (22), Victor Olofsson (19), Dylan Cozens (15)
NY Islanders Goals: Brock Nelson (16), Matt Martin (5)
Plus 1: Shots, Shots, Shots
The Sabres did a fair job of getting shots throughout the night, even if many of them didn’t go in. In the end, they outshot the Islanders 45-26 but dominated much of zone time early on in the game. They also had 28 shot attempts blocked - including five each from Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin.
On the plus side, it was good to see the Sabres shooting so much. On the flip side, it was frustrating to see how much they couldn’t hit the net. Jack Quinn could’ve easily had five goals but had so many chances that just missed the net. Jeff Skinner had some chances that should’ve turned into something, but didn’t.
Of course, it didn’t help that the Sabres had to face a strong netminder in Ilya Sorokin. Sorokin has a 2.32 GAA and .926 save percentage this season in 35 games played.
Plus 1: A Special Night
I’m planning to write something more about this, but it was a really special experience being inside KeyBank Center for Ryan Miller Night. Celebrating one of the franchise’s best goaltenders was a night filled with memories. It’s also clear how much the current Sabres team feeds off the energy of a packed, raucous KeyBank Center.
Plus 1: Goodness, That Pass
Thursday night wasn’t the first time we saw Rasmus Dahlin lob a looooong pass up to a teammate for a game-winning goal, but boy, was it a beautiful thing. Dahlin’s pass up to Cozens just seconds into overtime, followed by Cozens’ great handling of said pass to score the game-winner, was phenomenal. Cozens’ goal came just 12 seconds in, the second-fastest Sabres goal in OT in franchise history.
That lob pass from Rasmus Dahlin to Dylan Cozens for the OT winner... pic.twitter.com/TPXzkLTlcv— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) January 20, 2023
Early on, the Sabres had so. many. chances. It really did feel like they should’ve had so many goals before the Islanders even got a chance to get one - but then of course, the Isles struck first. You almost felt that coming — like things were going too well for Buffalo, so naturally something would happen at the other end.
Overall, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen looked good, and he made some Ryan Miller-inspired saves over the course of the night. Letting Matt Martin of all people score against your team is not ideal, but the good news is that the Sabres picked up the pieces and finished it out.
It wasn’t a perfect game, but none of them are, right? Most importantly, the Sabres skated off with two points in front of a packed KeyBank Center and honored Ryan Miller with a victory. They’re back at it Saturday afternoon for a 12:30 puck drop against the Anaheim Ducks.