Is chemistry brewing on the Buffalo Sabres fourth line?

While the Buffalo Sabres first three lines are starting to click, the fourth line also may not be far behind following last night’s contest.

Jan 6, 2024; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Buffalo Sabres left wing Zemgus Girgensons (28)
Jan 6, 2024; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Zemgus Girgensons (28) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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The Buffalo Sabres may only rank 18th in scoring heading into Sunday, but it’s also been just a handful of games since they got their normal top-six back. Buffalo has also recently found a sound third line in Casey Mittelstadt, Jordan Greenway, and Zach Benson - even if they received predominantly second line minutes last night. 

But the fourth line became a mystery when Kyle Okposo went down with an injury. Yet even before then, the Sabres fourth was known more for its defense instead of its scoring, even if Okposo was enjoying a bit of a resurgence in the latter department.

Last night, we saw the trio of Zemgus Girgensons, Peyton Krebs, and Eric Robinson team up and ultimately score the game-changer that helped lead the Sabres to its first winning streak since early November. And they did it with a simple approach that wore down the Penguins players who were out on the ice - most notably Erik Karlsson and Jake Guentzel.

Chemistry brewing between a few players on the Buffalo Sabres fourth line

Girgensons was in just his second game back from a lower-body injury while Robinson looks like the guy slated to fill in for Okposo. The latter is also proving to be a solid acquisition for the Sabres, as he now has four points and one goal in nine contests with a plus-1 rating. He’s also shown a physical edge with eight hits, and that trend should continue the more he plays. 

Overall, the Buffalo Sabres fourth line had a sound outing in their second game without captain Kyle Okposo. While there are no guarantees that head coach Don Granato will keep this line together in the week ahead, they more than made their case thanks to their contributions to scoring the game-winning goal last night thanks to a simple approach that involved them surrounding the net. 

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)