The Winnipeg Jets scored three goals on four shots in the second period and held on for the win as they defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 tonight in Winnipeg. The Sabres, who outshot the Jets 27-18 on the night and were the better team for most of the game, couldn’t solve Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck in the final minutes to tie the game. This was the Sabres’ third straight regulation loss.
The Jets opened up a 2-0 lead early in the second period on goals from Cole Perfetti and Mason Appelton. After Alex Tuch cut the lead in half just 24 seconds later, Nic Ehlers scored on what you could call a seeing eye shot from the point past a screened Eric Comrie. It was the Jets’ third goal on only four shots.
The Sabres drew within one in the third when JJ Peterka converted on a breakaway setup on a long stretch pass from Rasmus Dahlin. Despite tremendous pressure, they couldn’t put any more pucks past Hellebuyck.
- This felt like a game that the Sabres should have gotten at least a point, if not the win. They played well defensively, holding the Jets to only 18 shots on the night, and did everything but score in the final minutes of the game. The effort was there, the result wasn’t.
- Rasmus Dahlin was on fire tonight. If I were to choose Buffalo’s player of the game, it would be him. He was solid defensively, he set up Peterka’s goal and then almost tied it himself a couple of times late in the third period. That’s the Dahlin I want to see game-after-game.
- Despite giving up three goals on four shots, I can’t blame this loss on Comrie. He was beaten cleanly on the first goal from the shot. The second was a bang bang play on a cross-ice pass and the third one, he never saw. The blame for the last one is on Owen Power.
- With Thompson out, Cozens centered Tuch and Skinner. I think I would have put Mittelstadt on that line and had Cozens – who still doesn’t look like himself – playing with Benson and Peterka.
- Rough night for Tyson Jost, who was -2 in only 8:38 of ice time.
- Ryan Johnson continues to be impressive. He played 16:54 tonight and looked really good. I can’t see how they’d consider sending him back to Rochester. He’s clearly better than both Erik Johnson and Connor Clifton.
- This was Zach Benson’s best game since the 2nd game of the season. Will it be enough for him to stick with the team? I’m not sure. They may decide to send him back to junior after his 9th game and then recall either Rousek or Kulich from Rochester.
- The loss tonight was the Sabres third straight. They’re still 7th in their division with 7-9-1 record.
Without Tage Thompson in the lineup (IR) and with Alex Tuch, Zach Benson and Eric Comrie returning, the Sabres shifted their line trios and defensive pairings.
Jeff Skinner– Dylan Cozens – Alex Tuch
JJ Peterka – Casey Mittelstadt – Zach Benson
Zemgus Girgensons – Peyton Krebs – Kyle Okposo
Jordan Greenway – Tyson Jost – Victor Olofsson
Rasmus Dahlin – Mattias Samuelsson
Owen Power – Ryan Johnson
Connor Clifton – Erik Johnson
Even first period
Decent start for the Sabres in the first period. A solid shift from the Jost line generated the first two shots on net. Unfortunately, those shots weren’t taken by the shooter on the line… Jost had the shots rather than Olofsson.
The Sabres got the first powerplay opportunity of the game at 10:15. With Thompson out, the first unit had a different look with Tuch, Skinner, Mittelstadt, Dahlin and Peterka. They had good possession on the outside, but only one shot.
A couple of minutes later, Samuelsson took a penalty giving the Jets their first PP chance. They had one great chance, but Comrie made a nice save.
Comrie stopped Kyle Connor on a breakaway in the last minute to keep the game scoreless.
Shots in the first were 7-6 Winnipeg.
Bad plays costly in the second
The Jets opened the scoring at 2:12 on a goal from Cole Perfetti. He ripped a wrist shot past Comrie from the slot. Skinner and Olofsson got caught deep in the Jets zone and the Jets benefitted from the odd-man rush coming the other way.
Not long after, Jason Appelton doubled the Jets lead at 4:23. He got a step on Samuelsson through the slot and tapped in a nice cross-ice pass from Niederreiter. Nothing for Comrie to do on that one.
Alex Tuch cut the lead in two at 4:56 with his 5th of the season. Jeff Skinner stole the puck in the circle. His shot was blocked, but Tuch picked up the rebound and beat Hellebuyck low on the glove side.
Nikolaj Ehlers made it 3-1 on a long wrist shot from the blue line at 8:12. It looked like he was just trying to keep the puck in, but Power appeared to screen Comrie as he let the shot past. Bad goal, but it’s not on Comrie. Power can’t stand in no-man’s land like that, screen his goalie and let a blooper shot like that through.
Shots were 10-4 Buffalo in the second, which means the Jets scored on 3-of-4 shots.
Not quite enough in the third
JJ Peterka made it 3-2 at 1:00 when he jammed in a rebound off his own breakaway shot. The play was created by a beautiful stretch pass from Rasmus Dahlin, who found Peterka streaking through the middle of the ice.
The Sabres almost tied it a couple of minutes later when Hellebuyck made a bit of a lucky stop when Greenway’s shot deflected off Olofsson’s skate. I say lucky just because he didn’t seem to know where the puck was.
Zach Benson, who had played a good game, unfortunately took a high sticking penalty with 2:15 to play.
After pulling Comrie with about 40 seconds to go, the Sabres buzzed around Hellebuyck’s net, but couldn’t get it past the Jets goalie.
Shots in the third were 11-6 Buffalo and 27-18 for the game.