Score: Sabres 4 | Sharks 2
Shots: BUF 31 | SJ 35
Buffalo Sabres Goals: Dylan Cozens (20), Owen Power (4), Jeff Skinner (21), Alex Tuch (26-EN)
San Jose Sharks Goals: Evgeny Svechnikov (6), Alexander Barabanov (11)
Plus-1: The Workhorse from Whitehorse
Dylan Cozens - earning his 20th goal of the year tonight - took the puck coast to coast to open up scoring for Buffalo early in the game. Following a dominant three minutes by the Sabres’ offense in the opening period, Cozens found the back of the net with a neat wrister on the glove side of Kaapo Kahkonen as it snuck in, five-hole. Cozens now has 40 points in 40 games and is currently riding on his second point streak of four or more games this season.
This angle #LetsGoBuffalo pic.twitter.com/5z5homnbZ7— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) February 19, 2023
Unfortunately, San Jose did answer back late in the first to tie up the game and drew an interference penalty on Rasmus Dahlin during the final minute of the period. It was Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen who kept the game tied with some huge saves just seconds before the first intermission buzzer. Shots were drastically in favor of San Jose after 20 minutes: 14-5.
Plus-2: Patient Power
Following some sloppy play by Buffalo late in the first period and early in the second, Owen Power handed the lead back to his team thanks to a great pass from Jeff Skinner at center ice (which may have actually been meant for Alex Tuch, but it matters not). Power patiently dipsy-doodled towards Kahkonen, burying yet another five-hole goal into the opponents’ net. Power now has 20 points in 51 games and all four of his goals have occurred on the road this season. He is just the fifth defenseman in Sabres history (after Dmitri Kalinin, Nathan Paetsch, Tyler Myers, and Rasmus Dahlin, respectively) to record 20 points or more in his rookie season.
Minus-1: Shoot the Puck
To be blunt, the Sabres struggled to get pucks to the net the entire game. As the second period wound down, they had just seven shots to San Jose’s 24, as the most shots through two periods were from Jack Quinn (with three). It looked as though the momentum had the potential to shift after Casey Mittelstadt drew a holding penalty, but his team could not produce offensively with the man advantage and continues to decline on the power play as they have scored on just seven of their last 50 opportunities. Though they sit at fifth in the league with the man advantage, you would never know it.
This game was, well, more sloppy than anything else - especially during the first two periods. Luckily, some great work down low by Tage Thompson halfway through the final period led to Jeff Skinner tallying his 21st goal of the season, second point of the night, and - perhaps most importantly - the game-winner.
Tuch made it official with his empty net goal (the team’s 14th this season) in the final minute of the game to give Buffalo a 4-2 victory.
Tommer with the battle— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) February 19, 2023
Jeff with the finish #LetsGoBuffalo pic.twitter.com/v1h7Ar9op7
The Blue and Gold return home Tuesday to face the Maple Leafs, who recently received former Sabre Ryan O’Reilly in a trade. Puck drop is at 7:30.