The Buffalo Sabres lost more than a game tonight. Star forward Tage Thompson left the game twice with two different injuries. In the first it looked like he may have been cut by a skate and in the second he stopped a Charlie McAvoy shot with his wrist. He did not return after the second injury. After the game, coach Don Granato said he is expected to miss ‘significant time’ with the second injury.
It was a game of first goals, with five players scoring their first goals of the season in a 5-2 Bruins win over the Sabres in Buffalo. The Bruins scored early and often in the first period, scoring on nearly every scoring opportunity on their way to an easy win. David Pastrnak had a goal and two assists for the Bruins, who also got goals from Danton Heinen, Brandon Carlo, Oskar Steen and Hampus Linholm, who each scored their first goals of the season.
Victor Olofsson scored his first two goals of the season for the Sabres, who lost their second consecutive game.
Before the game, the Sabres celebrated the 1,000th game for captain Kyle Okposo.
- The Sabres were never really in this game. I know the Bruins are a good team – they’re 1st in the conference for a reason – but the Sabres started the game like they were afraid of losing. And when you do that, you always lose. They looked like they had zero confidence playing Boston.
- To me, the Bruins looked beatable. There was plenty of open ice for the Sabres to use, but they either tried for the extra pass or toe drag, or they gave Ullmark a good look at the shot. And then at the other end, the Bruins seemed to score on every good opportunity.
- The Thompson injury is devastating news for the Sabres, who are already missing Alex Tuch and Jack Quinn. I’d expect a callup (Kulich?) from Rochester in the next day or so.
- Good to see Victor Olofsson score a couple of goals. I know a lot of people will say this is like many of his goals last year – scoring with the game out of reach – but at least he’s on the scoreboard. And since we know the kind of player he is – i.e. really streaky – maybe he can go on a bit of a run over the next few games and ignite the dormant powerplay.
- It was a really rough night for Devon Levi. He wasn’t weak, but he was beaten cleanly on the 4th goal and was way out of position on the 5th. He’s young; he’ll have some great games and some he’d like to forget. Hopefully there’s something he can learn from this one and move on. UPL was solid when he came into the game, stopping all 8 shots he faced.
- It was also a really rough night defensively for both Owen Power and Connor Clifton, who were paired together for the first half of the game. Clifton was -3 against his former team. Power’s stats benefitted from being on the ice for his team’s two goals, so he was only -1 despite being on the ice for three Boston goals.
- I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but the Sabres powerplay needs an overhaul. I still think the key will be getting a net-front presence. Ever notice that other teams tend to screen our goalie? The Sabres don’t do that and I don’t understand why.
- Since I’m in Canada, I watched on Sportsnet and they sadly had the NESN feed with Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley, which meant I didn’t get to see the 1,000th Game ceremony for Kyle Okposo.
- The loss tonight didn’t help things in the standings. They’re now 7th in their division with 7-8-1 record.
No major lineup changes tonight for the Sabres. Henri Jokiharju missed the game, apparently feeling ill. Peyton Krebs returned after missing the last game for personal reasons.
Jeff Skinner– Tage Thompson – Dylan Cozens
Jordan Greenway – Casey Mittelstadt – JJ Peterka
Zemgus Girgensons – Peyton Krebs – Kyle Okposo
Victor Olofsson – Tyson Jost – Lukas Rousek
Rasmus Dahlin – Mattias Samuelsson
Owen Power – Connor Clifton
Ryan Johnson – Erik Johnson
Awful first period
The Sabres got a good start to the game, with the Thompson line putting three shots on goal in the first two minutes, albeit long shots.
But I was the Bruins who opened the scoring at 3:01 by Danton Heinen, who picked up a rebound at the lip of Devon Levi’s crease.
Just over a minute later, David Pastrnak rifled a one-timer from the circle to Levi’s right. No chance for the Buffalo goalie on that shot. It was Pastrnak’s 11th of the season.
Tage Thompson left the game after an odd-looking collision. Hard to say what happened, it almost looked like he was cut by McAvoy’s skate.
Playing 4-on-4, the Sabres got caught with three players in the Bruins zone, setting up a 3-on-1 chance for Boston. They didn’t miss. Brandon Carlo scored from Pastrnak and Zacha at 15:14.
Awful period for the Sabres, even though they outshot the Bruins 13-11.
More of the same in the second
Things went from bad to worse at 4:07 into the second period. Owen Power coughed up the puck in his own end and Oskar Steen ripped his 1st of the season high past Levi.
Boston made it 5-0 at 12:23 with the 1st of the season by Hampus Lindholm on the powerplay. It looked like Greenway may have both screened Levi and deflected the puck.
Victor Olofsson finally scored for the Sabres at 15:07 when he picked up a rebound off the backboards and into an open net behind Ullmark. It was Olofsson’s 1st of the season as well. Power and Cozens picked up the assists.
Coinciding with the goal, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (UPL) replaced Levi in the Sabres net.
Shots in the period were even 8-8.
With the game’s outcome no longer in question, both teams kind of cruised their way through the third period.
Olofsson scored his second of the night at 15:02 following some strong work from Casey Mittelstadt and JJ Peterka to make it 5-2.
The Sabres pulled UPL with 2:30 to go – why not? – to try to make it closer and did manage a couple of shots on net, but it was all for naught.
Shots in the third were 12 apiece and 33-31 overall for Buffalo.
Catch up on all the Sabres results and upcoming schedule here.