The Sabres prevail to beat Montreal

October 9, 2019

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Wednesday’s game was a game with quite a few momentum changes and what a crazy game it was. There were times where the Sabres had good puck possession and a good forecheck in the zone. There were other long stretches where they started running around in their own zone and looked a lot like the defensive coverage from last year.

Jack Eichel was a great example of this. He scored a nice power play goal off the post from the left circle and got a 5-on-5 goal going end-to-end flying down the middle of the ice to give his team a 3-2 second period lead.

He helped set up the overtime winning goal and made a gorgeous pass to Victor Olofsson on a power play goal, but in the postgame show, he wanted to talk about the play where he had a chance to get the puck in deep, but turned it over resulting in Montreal tying the game 4-4. Again, the tale of two games.

Marcus Johansson has been a great signing for this team and he said he isn’t even close to reaching his potential.

Colin Miller had great vision on the 4-on-4 goal, right after the Canadiens got back to full strength. He found Johansson who one-timed it into a half open net.

Johansson made a great play of his own reading a nice pinch by Henri Jokiharju. Johansson immediately found a breaking Jeff Skinner who made no mistake.

If you want to talk about how special teams turn a game, the Sabres spent the first 3:45 in their own zone until Tomas Tatar takes a penalty. Olofsson scores and the Sabres start playing their game. The shots got up to 8-3 Buffalo, but all of a sudden the power play faltered for one time. Rasmus Dahlin came through the neutral zone and tried to go back with the puck. It went right to Nate Thompson who found former Sabre Joel Armia alone in front for a shorthanded goal.

Before the period ended Rasmus Ristolainen was behind the net and had his stick slapped by Nick Suzuki right when he went to pass the puck. It went directly in front to a wide open Armia and he scored his second gift of the night. There was an example where three special teams goal sent the game back-and-forth.

Eichel hit two posts in this game and Olofsson hit one. That could’ve made things much easier.

If you’re looking for a positive in this game look no further that the line of Johan Larsson, Zemgus Girgensons and Kyle Okposo. They spent almost every shift in the offensive zone and gave the Montreal defense fits.

On the other side Casey Mittelstadt’s line with Jimmy Vesey and Evan Rodrigues spent most of the night hemmed into their own zone. The third period was a little better, but it was not a good night from them.

This was also a night where I didn’t think Vladimir Sobotka was that strong either. I’ve liked his games this year until this one.

The Sabres started overtime with a 4-on-3 power play and I didn’t like the player selection. Olofsson has tied a NHL record as his first six goals have all come on the power play, but he wasn’t out there. Eichel, Johansson, Miller and Sam Reinhart were out there. All I can say is what do I know? Ralph Krueger knows what he’s doing as those four netted the overtime winner.

Carter Hutton allowed four goals, but I thought he made some huge saves, especially in the third period. Every single Sabre we spoke to after the game talked about the big saves Hutton made.

Hutton absolutely robbed Tomas Tatar who looked like he had the corner picked.

The wins gives Buffalo a 3-0-1 record and first place in the Atlantic Division and second place in the Eastern Conference, one point behind Carolina.

The Sabres next game is right back here Friday against Florida. The Panthers lost at home on Tuesday to the Hurricanes 6-3.