Buffalo Sabres finally showed some toughness vs. Columbus

Sep 30, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Riley Stillman (61) takes a shot on goal as Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Denton Mateychuk (5) tries to defend during the second period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Riley Stillman (61) takes a shot on goal as Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Denton Mateychuk (5) tries to defend during the second period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Buffalo Sabres let opponents bully them last season, but if Saturday served as an indicator, the Blue and Gold aren’t having it this year.

Dmitri Voronkov thought he’d try and exchange a few words with Buffalo Sabres goaltender Devon Levi, prompting Jeremy Davies and Riley Stillman to retaliate. And initially, it looked as though that was all that would come out of it. That was until Voronkov bumped Levi, causing a major scuffle to break out along the boards, with Dylan Cozens leading the charge.

To be fair, Levi “flopped,” basically falling to the ice on his own. But that still didn’t stop Cozens and the rest of the Sabres from confronting Voronkov and the rest of the Columbus Blue Jackets players on the ice.

Cozens managed to drive Voronkov to the ice, taking the prospect’s jersey with him. Stillman also went after Voronkov, but Cozens set the tone of what the Sabres should be doing this season any time an opposing player goes after one of their own, especially their goaltender. It was a sentiment color commentator Rob Ray also pointed out in the video below.

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For most of last season, the Sabres let other teams manhandle them in the physicality department, and that should be less of a problem this season. Ironically enough, one of the reasons they traded for Stillman was because they knew he could help address the issue.

Cozens is a star player in the making, but he also showed us at times last season that he’s not a player to cross. He reminded us all about that yesterday when he took issue with Voronkov’s bump.

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Again, Levi sold it, but the entire point behind the move was to inject energy into the Buffalo Sabres, who were in dire need of some if they planned on coming back and winning the game. Buffalo ended up doing just that thanks to a few heroics from the 18-year-old Zach Benson.