A team often known as the ‘Comeback Kids,’ the Sabres routed the Winnipeg Jets 6-5 in their highest-scoring game of the season where the Buffalo team was constantly on the comeback path. The Sabres took a season-high 45 shots in the win. Corey Tropp scored his first NHL goal, and Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy each scored twice.
The game began with two Jets goals in 1:06, and just like that, before the six-minute mark had struck the clock, the Sabres were down 2-0. Sound familiar? This time, however, the Sabres were ready.
A power play goal by Derek Roy put the Sabres on the board, and 11 seconds later, rookie Corey Tropp scored his first NHL goal to tie the game at two. Just over two minutes later, however, a goal by Tanner Glass left the Sabres down, and a penalty on Jordan Leopold could have put another dagger in the team’s hopes – but no. A spectacular breakaway and spin-around pass from Gaustad to Pominville resulted in yet another Buffalo goal – a shorthanded one! – and the game was tied at 3 at the end of the first period.
Just 1:07 into the second period, the tide changed yet again, as Bryan Little tallied a power-play goal to regain the Winnipeg lead – and this time, it lasted a bit longer, as the Sabres didn’t tie it up until over 14 minutes later. (Phew!) Thomas Vanek scored his ninth of the season, and the teams left the ice after 40 minutes tied at 4.
Another quick goal by Dustin Byfuglien just 48 seconds into the period brought the lead back to the Jets, and Sabres faithful were left on the edge of their seats to wait for yet another comeback – and the blue & gold didn’t disappoint.
Derek Roy scored his second of the night on the power play at 13:52, and the energy in the building was rejuvenated once again. Overtime struck its familiar chord, and it was do or die time.
Jets forward Blake Wheeler took a hooking penalty at 4:05 to give the Sabres a power play in a game where they had already tallied three times on the man advantage, and fellow Gopher Thomas Vanek scored his 10th of the season on the power play to give the Sabres the win.
Not to be overshadowed by the win were the pregame festivities where the Sabres honored former Sabre (and also former Jet) Dale Hawerchuk and Rick Jeanneret as members of the Sabres’ 2012 Hall of Fame class. Speeches and video tributes set a nice stage for the game at hand. Members of the OHL’s Barrie Colts – where Hawerchuk is head coach – were in attendance at the game, as well as members of Jeanneret’s family.
The Sabres next play at home Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. against the Ottawa Senators (7-7-1).