Stud – Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen
It’s almost always a given that goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will finish the game with a save percentage below 0.900, or at least that was the case last year. But last night’s 0.895 percentage is not a reflection on him, and if he didn’t make more than his fair share of big saves last night, the Buffalo Sabres would not have had such a huge lead to fend off the Senators late-game surge.
There were some things about Luukkonen last night that didn’t go well, as his positioning is still an area of concern. But overall, he played a great game and was the victim of some terrible defense in the final five minutes. Against a high-scoring team like the Sens, Luukkonen put up a surprising performance, and it’s something he can build on moving forward.
Dud – Dylan Cozens
Dylan Cozens had a great game, so the fact that he landed as one of two ‘duds’ on this list may be puzzling. However, Cozens was a catalyst in the Senators late-game surge. He never should have gone after Vladimir Tarasenko like that late in the game with the Sabres holding a 5-2 lead at the time.
When you’re leading that late in the game, even by three goals, you just skate away, forget about the incident, and move on. Unfortunately, Cozens lost his cool and it ended up not only with the Sens scoring on the ensuing power play, but it also shifted the momentum. It’s a mistake that the 22-year-old needs to learn from and avoid repeating.