Sabres' Playoff Hopes Hold on with Shootout Win
Dylan Cozens scored twice & the Sabres held on for a shootout win over the Red Wings.
Score: Sabres 7, Red Wings 6 (SO)
Shots: BUF: 36 DET: 32
Buffalo Sabres Goals: Tage Thompson (45), Henri Jokiharju (2), Dylan Cozens (30, 31), Zemgus Girgensons (10), Jordan Greenway (6)
Detroit Red Wings Goals: Austin Czarnik (3), Dylan Larkin (32), Alex Chiasson (6), Simon Edvinsson (2), Jonatan Berggren (15), David Perron (23)
Plus 1: A Win is a Win...
As Dylan Cozens said in his postgame media availability, Thursday night's game was not the prettiest win for the Sabres - but it was a win, and an important one as the team fights to stay in the race for a wildcard spot.
There were certainly things to like from Thursday's game. Cozens hit the 30-goal mark and now has 66 points on the season. Tage Thompson scored his 45th goal and now has 92 points. Rasmus Dahlin notched his 55th assist. The Sabres/Red Wings budding rivalry of sorts seems to continue to strengthen.
Devon Levi, once again, made some big saves. One of note came early in the second period, with the Sabres up 3-2. Levi had a huge stop on Dominik Kubalik, which led to the opportunity for Zemgus Girgensons to score at the other end of the ice.
With the win, Levi became the youngest goaltender in Sabres history to record a shootout win.
The loss, meanwhile, officially eliminated the Red Wings from playoff contention.
On the flip side...
Plus 2: Blowing Leads
The Sabres twice blew a multi-goal lead Thursday night. They were up 4-2 more than halfway through the second period, then surrendered two goals in a span of 48 seconds to allow the Red Wings to tie it.
Buffalo then regained the two-goal lead early in the third period with a pair of quick goals of their own - Greenway and Cozens scored in a 1:12 span. But again, they couldn't hold onto the lead, as the Red Wings tied it up over the course of the final frame.
The Sabres also gave up two power play goals, so some focus should be on the penalty kill.
This game had a little bit of everything, and a whole lotta goals. The good news for Buffalo is that, regardless of what happened in the actual game, the end result is a critical win.
With Cozens hitting the mark, the Sabres now have four 30-goal scorers for the first time since 2006-07: Thompson, Cozens, Skinner and Tuch. This is also the Sabres' best season since 2011-12, as they've hit the 83-point mark.
Unfortunately for the Sabres, the other important games Thursday night didn't go their way. The Penguins, who have a slim chance of making the postseason, won 4-1. The Panthers absolutely crushed the Senators 7-2. The Islanders beat the Lightning 6-1.
The Sabres are scheduled to practice Friday afternoon before hosting the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
Until then, let's take a minute to appreciate Jack Quinn's fantastic shootout goal:
And Casey Mittelstadt's backwards pass to Greenway: