FINAL BUF 2-1 ANA
ANA Rickard Rakell Assists: Fowler, Montour
BUF O’Reilly Assists: McCabe, Eichel
Anders Nilsson would backstop the Sabres, who came into the game on a never ending adventure to score a goal. The game moved slowly, much like against the Kings, being halted multiple times by icings in the first 8 minutes. Buffalo would be caught on a 2 on 1 with a pass from the neutral zone but the ensuing shot hit Anders right in the chest. Buffalo would come back up and get their first chance from ROR, though foiled by a prone Jonathan Bernier. Buffalo has been getting caught in a lot of odd man rushes lately and you can’t help but be infuriated watching it. Rickard Rakell would score his 31st of the season 12 minutes in, putting Anaheim up 1-0. The endless tale of falling behind to begin the game continues.
Jack Eichel and Ryan O’Reilly looked to be the only motivated duo in the Sabres lineup in the 1st. Jack would find ROR on a beautiful behind the back pass but ROR’s shot would go wide. The 1st period would come to an end as the Sabres searched for their first goal since the 1st period on Tuesday.
Anaheim would get a chance 5 minutes into the 2nd period but Anders Nilsson would deny Cogliano with the blocker to keep the score 1-0. Evander Kane demonstrated his extraordinary shot minutes later as he launched a shot that just made contact with Bernier. Kane definitely has a top 3 shot on the team. Jakob Silfverberg would get a chance to score in the slot but Nilsson shut the door. With 4 and half to go in the 2nd the Great Drought of 2017 ended as Ryan O’Reilly tallied his first goal in 5 games. Hallelujah! The period would end tied at 1.
The 3rd period began with a much faster pace than the snooze fest that came before it. The Sabres got a chance on a 2 on 1 with Matt Moulson and Evander Kane, but this was interrupted by a fight between Zach Bogosian and Nick Ritchie. Bogo was retaliating against a hit on Bailey, but dude, you have to choose the right time. You’re going to have another 4 shifts, maybe more. Settle it then, not when you can take the lead. This was embarrassing.
Buffalo got the first power play of the game with 8:29 to go. Kevin Bieksa would go for hooking. Evander Kane had 3 opportunities at a goal on the PP, twice missing the puck and once being caught by Bernier’s glove. This game had clearly gotten to everybody as even the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington began arguing with th guy who does the Eichel Tower on twitter. This is what we have become.
Anaheim was successful on the penalty kill leading up to overtime. After a back and forth extra period we head to a shootout. Anders Nilsson stifled Anaheim’s first shooter which was a beautiful site. Tyler Ennis shot first for Buffalo and got too fancy, taking the shot too close. Getzlaf would score to start the 2nd round followed by Ryan O’Reilly who tied the shootout at 1 goal apiece. Rickard Rakell shot 3rd for Anaheim and tried toe-dragging Nilsson who was having none of it. Jack Eichel would follow and try to use the Kucherov move but no no avail. Corey Perry shot 4th for the Ducks and shot he puck high and wide. Sam Reinhart shot next and was stopped. Patrick Eaves began the 5th round and was robbed by Nilsson’s glove. Evander Kane had a chance to win on the next attempt but fanned horribly. Cam Foster was stoned by Nilsson to begin round 6. Matt Moulson, yes you read that right, would get the next opportunity only to miss the net. Anders Nilsson made another great save to start round 7, his time on Antoine Vermette. Brian Gionta would then be denied. Ryan Kessler shot next for Anaheim and was blockered by Nilsson. Evan Rodrigues went next and lost control of the puck.
The 9th round started with Brandon Montour who sniped one past Nilsson. Rasmus Ristolainen shot next and scored probably the greatest shootout goal in Sabres history, busting out the Forsberg. Nilsson would stop Ritchie next, leading to Zemgus Girgensons’ winning goal. What a shootout! Buffalo seals the deal in the 10th round.