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Sabres Uncrown the Kings in the Queen City

Feb 13, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (1) celebrates his shutout with right wing Alex Tuch (89) against the Los Angeles Kings at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo outscores L.A. in 7-0 shutout to snap three-game losing streak.

Score: Sabres 7, Kings 0

Shots: BUF: 24 LAK: 33

Buffalo Sabres Goals: JJ Peterka (19), Jordan Greenway (7, 8), Kyle Okposo (11, PPG), Rasmus Dahlin (14), Zach Benson (5), Alex Tuch (15)

L.A. Kings Goals: none

Plus 1: Peterka Puts Buffalo on the Board

Just 4:25 into the first period, JJ Peterka backhanded the puck past L.A. goaltender David Rittich to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead. After watching Buffalo lose its previous three games, Peterka’s opening goal lets fans know tonight would be different.

Sabres’ supporters have watched their team give up early leads in the first and spend the rest of regulation trying to come from behind. It was refreshing to watch the hosts take charge from the beginning, outplaying and outscoring the Kings. Hopefully, this won’t be an exceptional performance from here on out.

Plus 2: Greenway Gets His Seventh and Eighth

With 3:02 to go in the opening 20, Jordan Greenway capitalized on an L.A. turnover, picking the puck off after Kings’ d-man Drew Doughty shot it from behind the visitors’ net. Greenway quickly scored an unassisted wrister to widen Buffalo’s lead to 2.

However, he wasn’t done. With 7:50 left in the third, Greenway got his second goal of the night (and eighth this year) with help from Alex Tuch and Casey Mittelstadt to widen the Sabres’ already insurmountable lead to 7.

After being relatively quiet on offense most of this season, No. 12 has now scored four goals in his last six matchups. Fans want to see more and maybe they will.

Plus 3: Ox Scores the Third

Another forward who had a low-scoring season until recently is captain Kyle Okposo, who netted his second goal in as many games at the end of the first. Rasmus Dahlin and Dylan Cozens set things up and the captain tipped the puck in to make it 3-0 Sabres.

What made it even better is that the goal came during a power play, something the team normally struggles to pull off. When the Sabres control the puck with the man advantage, good things happen. Let’s hope they’re finally learning how to score 5-on-4.

Plus 4: Dahlin Delivers

The Sabres weren’t content to sit on a three-goal lead going into the second period. Dahlin beat Rittich with a wrister and assists from Ryan Johnson and Peyton Krebs to widen the home team’s already sizeable lead to 4.

Bdonaghu had the Comment of the Game: “That shot was dah-licious”. No. 26 has made many dahlicious shots this season and his 14th goal of the year gave Buffalo a commanding edge.

Plus 5: Benson Makes it 5 (and Gets His Fifth)

Beating the Kings became contagious. Winger Zach Benson got into the act, getting a wrist shot on a pass from Jake Bryson with 5:43 left in the second to give the hosts a 5-0 lead. Benson’s fifth goal of the season was his first since Dec. 15. Greenway is becoming hotter on offense, it would be great to see Benson do so, too.

Plus 6: Tuch Snaps Things Shut

Just 4:30 into the final period, Alex Tuch took the puck away from Kings’ defenseman Mikey Anderson and snapped it past backup goalie Cam Talbot to make it 6-0 Sabres.

Fans were delighted, watching Buffalo score goal after goal, while L.A. couldn’t get anything past UPL. Tuch likes to put opponents away in the third and this game was no exception. No. 89 hadn’t scored since Jan. 27 versus San Jose, so seeing him settle into a goal streak would be wonderful to witness.

Final Thoughts

The Buffalo Sabres played a complete 60 minutes, controlling the action from start to finish and choking off any of the Kings’ potential scoring chances. Luukkonen had an amazing performance, blocking all 33 shots and getting his fourth shutout this season.

If the Sabres can continue to play this way game in and game out, they may salvage the last two months of 2023-24 and give their long-suffering fans some hope heading into next year.

The Blue and Gold finish out their four-game homestand Thursday night, hosting the Florida Panthers. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. at KeyBank Center.

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