Final Score: 4-3 Sabres (SO)
The Sabres hosted the Devils on Saturday in the first of this weekend’s pair of afternoon games. Jack Eichel netted the shootout winner for Buffalo after a pretty even game both ways.
The first period featured a lack of opportunities for both sides. Each teams seemed to struggle to find good opportunities and cleanly generate any offense.
Eric Staal got the scoring started for Buffalo after receiving a pass from Taylor Hall and releasing a gorgeous shot from the slot past Wedgewood.
The game would go back-and-forth from that point with a couple of quick goals each way. Ty Smith tied things up at one for New Jersey and Andreas Johnsson followed it up to give the Devils a 2-1 lead. The Sabres responded quickly with a goal from Toby Rieder and things were tied up once again.
In the third period, Jack Eichel took a puck to the head and had to go to the locker room for repairs. Oddly enough, the Sabres best man-advantage of the night came with Eichel in the dressing room. With a little under 10 minutes to go in the 3rd, Victor Olofsson came through on the power-play.
The Devils eventually tied the game once again after an odd pass from below the goal line hit a New Jersey player in front and trickled past Ullmark.
Despite a slew of chances, overtime couldn’t produce a goal.
In the shootout, Jack Eichel had the only goal and the eventual game-winner.
⦁ Eric Staal: The first year Sabre has begun to settle in and now has 3 goals and 4 points in the last 5 games.
⦁ Skinner’s Line Usage: The Skinner-line saga has been a pinnacle story to follow in Sabres World this season and some fans briefly got their wish on Saturday. With Reinhart out of the lineup, Tage Thompson slid back onto the top line with Jack Eichel — where he started the season before being healthy scratched. The line couldn’t find a spark with Thompson’s and Kreuger felt the need to make a change.
“I thought Jeff was having a good game. Krueger said. “We’re quick in tie games [changing lines], doing things to win. It was a push for the win.”
In the 3rd, Krueger put Skinner on the top line. While it was impeded by Eichel’s trip to the dressing room, Skinner was still in an elevated role many have clamored for. If Reinhart can’t go Sunday, it’ll be interesting to see if Skinner remains there to start the game.
⦁ Rasmus Dahlin: While he still hasn’t broken out completely, Rasmus Dahlin has been unquestionably better the past few games than he was to start the season. The biggest improvement he’s shown over the last couple games is in his willingness to push play. There have still been some lapses defensively, but he’s starting to regain what makes him so dynamic.
- The Sabres killed off a massive 5-on-3 penalty kill due to the work of Lazar, Ristolainen and McCabe.
- Linus Ullmark has saved 9/10 of the last shootouts he’s faced. He also continues to channel his inner Dominick Hasek with some of the saves he’s making this season.
The Sabres are back at it on Sunday at the same time, same place, against the same team.
1 PM vs the Devils! Let’s see if they can sweep the series.