Sabres at Red Wings recap: Lehner, Kane lead Sabres to 4-3 win

A strong effort in net helped the Sabres survive a scary third period to get the win.

Oftentimes a three goals-against effort doesn’t go down as a great game for a goaltender, but tonight, Robin Lehner was the hero for the Sabres as they came out of their holiday break with a 4-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings.

Lehner gave up three goals, but none of them were directly his fault. He had a puck deflect off the back of his helmet, a puck bounce off his defenseman right to Drew Miller’s stick, and a goal were he was completely screened.

Aside from that, Robin was strong in net tonight, stopping 40 of 43 shots and keeping the Sabres in the game both early before the goals and late holding on to the lead.

The Sabres started off well, scoring twice in the first period. Evander Kane put home his seventh goal of the year seven minutes into the game thanks to a great individual effort from behind the net to over Petr Mrazek’s shoulder. And with five minutes left in the period, Sam Reinhart netted his eighth of the year, this one on the power play as the Sabres went in to the break up 2-0.

The second period started slow, but finished with a bang, with three goals and two fights coming in the final few minutes.

Robin Lehner was the recipient of some bad luck, as two goals were scored against him that he really couldn’t do anything about. Henrik Zetterberg banked a bad angle shot in off the back of Lehner’s mask, while Drew Miller scored because Zach Bogosian’s skate put the puck right on to Miller’s stick for his fourth goal of the year.

In between those two goals, however, was another beauty from Jack Eichel, who pulled a power move down low and flipped the puck over Mrazek’s shoulder from in close to close the second period scoring at 3-2. Marcus Foligno and Evander Kane fought in the period, with the former doing well and the latter being very passive before ultimately winning.

Our old pal Thomas Vanek would tie the game on the power play in the third period, but Evander Kane would score the game winner on the rush later that period with a sweet snipe into the top corner. The Sabres would hand on late to get the win, getting them back to we-know-it’s-not-really.-500 on the season.

Two Questions

1. How will the Sabres respond to O’Reilly’s injury?

The Sabres didn't wilt in the absence of their top line center. Jack Eichel and Evander Kane put the team on their backs offensively, while the defense had a (relatively) strong effort against the Wings, giving the Sabres a win coming off of two terrible losses.

2. Will the Sabres defense show any improvement after a few days off?

This was a far better effort than anything the Sabres showed before the break. Yes, Detroit is not a very good team either, but it was nice to see the Sabres respond positively after their two worst games of the season.

Jake McCabe and Ristolainen had especially excellent games, and the Sabres defense made a number of saves themselves on scrambles in front of the net. Kulikov scored his first point of the season on Kane’s second goal, while Bogosian scored his second point of the season on Kane’s first.

Comment of the Game

Anyone taken the hot take that ROR was holding us back?

Because if not, I call dibs on that. Clear as day

Posted by ilikeEich15