The Buffalo Sabres did something tonight that they hadn’t done yet in the month of December. What’s that, you ask? A win in regulation. Finally! To find the last time the Sabres won in regulation, you’ve got to look back over a month, to November 15 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ouch.
Tonight’s win over the Winnipeg Jets (should we call them the Lose-ipeg Jets tonight?) also marked the first time the Sabres won this season after being down after two period of play. The team managed to score four unanswered goals and capture a victory on home ice.
Tonight’s game started off decently enough. The Buffalo Sabres managed to put up 19 shots on goal in the first period alone, which was pretty amazing…. and yet the score was 0-0 at the end of the first period. Unable to take advantage of a few power plays, including a 31-second two-man advantage, the team had its chances to take an early lead, but ultimately flopped.
Things turned around pretty quickly early in the second period, as Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele scored a pair of goals in just 36 seconds. That marks Schiefele’s first two-goal game of his young NHL career, and put the Jets ahead 2-0, forcing the Sabres into a quick little hole. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one watching the game and thinking “Ugh, are we really going to do this? Come on, pick it up!”
Not the great way to get things going in a game – but it turns out the Sabres knew how to turn things around again and get things going for themselves, too. The team would score the next four goals, not only tying the game and taking the lead but also adding an additional goal and holding on for the victory.
Captain Steve Ott scored the first goal for the Buffalo Sabres in the second period, putting a little sigh of relief that the Sabres were still in it and hadn’t forgotten how to play hockey after the solid first period. Marcus Foligno would add his fourth goal of the season just 50 seconds into the third period to tie the game, and things kept going up from there.
Just 1:41 after Foligno’s goal, Matt Moulson would score his 12th of the season on the power play to give the Sabres the lead. Turns out Winnipeg isn’t the only team who can score a pair of quick, game-changing goals, eh? Finally, just over 11 minutes later, Matt Ellis scored his first NHL goal since January 2012, giving the Sabres a two-goal lead.
The team held on, eventually capturing the 4-2 win over Winnipeg. Overall: it was nice to see a win in regulation. It was great to see the team score FOUR goals, something they hadn’t done since November 5. Something else – albeit a small note – is that it’s nice to see 12 different Buffalo Sabres players come out of tonight’s game with a point, and not just forwards, but even defensemen getting involved on the scoresheet – generally, an all-around good game for the Buffalo Sabres tonight. It was a team effort and a well-earned two points.
If the team can take the high points of tonight’s game and use some of the energy in Thursday’s game against the Boston Bruins – and beyond – good things should continue to come.