Mar 20, 2014; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Buffalo Sabres left wing Cory Conacher (88) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Edmonton Oilers during the second period at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Conacher Notches First Two Goals and Assist As Hackett Stops 35 In 3-1 Win

In a night of fives and firsts, Matt Hackett became the fifth goaltender to play at least one game for the Sabres this season, getting his first start as a Buffalo Sabre and Cory Conacher notched his first two goals since being acquired back on March 5th in a 3-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers

Mar 20, 2014; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Buffalo Sabres goalie Matt Hackett (31) guards his net as Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner (89) tries to score during the first period at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

In his his debut appearance for the Buffalo Sabres tonight, he also became the 43rd player to dress for Buffalo, tying the franchise-high of 43 players from the 1991-1992 and 1986-87 seasons.

He would sit opposite Ben Scrivens, who was in net for Edmonton.

Those waiting to see Ville Leino score his first goal were kept waiting, as Ted Nolan decided to give him some hard earned vacation time, opting to scratch Leino.

Zenon Konopka was reinserted into the lineup tonight, kicking off the game fairly early and getting a five for fighting after dropping the gloves with Luc Gazdic only 4:43 into the game.

Hackett was put to the test early, doing all he could to stifle the Oilers as much as possible, but fell victim to a rough penalty kill late in the opening period.

Cory Conacher’s name was definitely coming out of the announcers mouth a lot tonight. Early on in the game, Conacher went to the box after a bump with Scrivens called roughing and Scrivens retaliating sent Conacher to the box and Tyler Pitlick stood in for Scrivens, serving the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

While sitting in the box, Conacher showed his comedian side when the officials accidentally gave him John Scott‘s helmet instead of his own. Instead of giving the helmet back, Conacher laughingly donned the what is now thought to be a magical helmet, given what happened tonight.

After Taylor Hall scored his 24th of the season on the power play with 2:12 remaining in the first period, Conacher began to erupt.

Standing out at the top of the face-off circle to Scrivens’ left, Jamie McBain released a slap shot that Conacher put a stick to, changing the direction of the puck, trickling by Scrivens to even the score at 1 on the powerplay.

Through two, we had a locked game at 1-1, with Buffalo just being edged 27-24 in shots.

Conacher’s second came quick in the third period, on a deep play to take Buffalo’s first lead of the game.

Cody Hodgson took a shot towards the net, and just like before, Conacher crossed in front of the Edmonton net and put a stick on the puck and deflected it past Scrivens, thrown off by the sudden change in direction once again.

Drew Stafford added the third goal of the night and 15th of the season only three minutes later. Conacher took the puck and tapped it to Stafford, taking a hard slap shot and missing just wide of the net, the puck careened off the back boards onto the stick of Ennis. Scrivens sprawled to prevent a shot making it through, Ennis flipped the puck behind him to Stafford, who wristed a shot up and over the laid out goaltender to push Edmonton further down.

With over 15 minutes still remaining, Buffalo continued to do the simple things. Take pucks away, make easy passes and take shot after shot.

Buffalo really controlled the pace of the game throughout the third, holding Edmonton to limited chances all around and playing a great conservative effort, leading 8-1 in shots through 10 minutes of the third period.

Even pulling the goaltender wasn’t enough, as Buffalo rallied around Hackett, protecting him to seal his first win.

In the night of fives and firsts:

  • Buffalo scored on their first man-advantage of the night, they also only had five giveaways and five takeaways
  • Matt Hackett becomes fifth goaltender to play for Buffalo this season, earns first win.
  • Cory Conacher scored his first goals as a Sabre, his fifth and sixth of the year. He also had five shots tonight.
  • OK, this ones a stretch but Drew Stafford scored his fifth-teenth goal of the year, almost five minutes into the third period. (Hackett’s last save was his thirty-fifth)

Buffalo continues on their road trip Sunday night, taking on the Vancouver Canucks, at 8 P.M.



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