Alex Tuch scored the winner with less than three minutes to play as the Buffalo Sabres scored three in the third to cap a great comeback win against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight in Buffalo. Jeff Skinner started the comeback with his 9th of the season on the powerplay five minutes into the third period. Kyle Okposo tied the game midway through the third on a lucky tip off Erik Karlsson’s stick. Both Tuch and Skinner added an assist on the night, while Victor Olofsson picked up a [air of assists. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was solid in the Sabres’ net, stopping 31 of the 33 shots he faced.
- Nice comeback win! They played with a lot more urgency in the third period and it paid off with goals from Skinner, Okposo and Tuch. UPL was excellent too in the win.
- In post-game comments, it seems Kyle Okposo stood up and talked to the team between the second and third periods. It worked. Up to that point, they looked like a team afraid to make a defensive mistake.
- Oddly enough, the two Penguins goals were gifts on mistakes from the Sabres. Samuelsson on the Crosby goal and Dahlin on the Eller goal.
- Already short one forward, the Sabres lost Zemgus Girgensons midway through the second period. If he’s out for any amount of time – even one game – it’s clear they will have to recall someone from Rochester. I’d like to see Kulich, but it’ll probably be Rousek.
- If they do recall someone, and assuming Girgensons doesn’t go on IR, someone will have to go down to Rochester. Logically, it’ll either be one of the eight D they are carrying (Jacob Bryson?) or Devon Levi if he’s not scheduled to play tomorrow in New Jersey.
- As I thought after Wednesday’s game against Washington, Zach Benson got the good news that he’ll be staying with the team. Good for him! He has looked good in most games and earned his spot.
- With the win tonight, the Sabres return to .500 with a record of 9-9-2, 6th in their division.
With Jordan Greenway missing tonight, the Sabres went with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen for the third straight game.
Jeff Skinner– Dylan Cozens – Alex Tuch
JJ Peterka – Casey Mittelstadt – Zach Benson
Zemgus Girgensons – Peyton Krebs – Kyle Okposo
Tyson Jost – Victor Olofsson
Rasmus Dahlin – Mattias Samuelsson
Owen Power – Ryan Johnson
Connor Clifton – Erik Johnson
Even first period
Very early chance by Kyle Okposo, who rang a one-timed wrister off the post to the right of Pens goalie Alex Nedeljkovic.
Pretty good start to the game for Peyton Krebs. He’s the one who set up Okposo for that chance in the first couple of minutes. He made a similar play from behind the redline to Girgensons about 10 minutes in.
Sidney Crosby opened the scoring for the Penguins at 16:46. The Sabres won the faceoff in their zone, but Samuelsson lost control of the puck as he circled the net. Before you knew it, Crosby fired a slapshot through a screen to beat UPL on the glove side.
Fairly even first period. Not a ton of energy from either team. Shots were 11-11.
Another turnover in the second
The Sabres had a powerplay opportunity about six minutes in. Interesting that Victor Olofsson joined the top unit. They moved the puck around nicely but didn’t generate any great scoring chances.
Krebs got into a bit of a scrap with Kris Letang; each got two minutes for roughing. Tenacity will be what keeps Krebs in the lineup, and he knows it.
Another BIG turnover deep in the Sabres zone cost them. This time it was Rasmus Dahlin who fanned on the puck and gave it right to Nieto at the bottom of the circle to the right of UPL. He fed Lars Eller, who fired a quick one-time snapshot off the post and crossbar and in to make it 2-0 at 16:44.
It’s too bad, because it was a solid period from UPL; he made several nice stops on the Pens powerplay.
Shots in the second were 11-9 for Pittsburgh.
Coming back in the third
Finally, some good puck movement on the powerplay and Jeff Skinner scored at 5:13 with a nice wrist shot from the slot after taking a saucer pass from Alex Tuch from behind the redline. Olofsson picked up the second assist.
The Sabres tied things up on a bit of a lucky bounced when Eriik Karlsson tipped a Kyle Okposo shot past Nedeljkovic at 10:52. It was the captain’s 1st of the season. Dahlin and Olofsson picked up the assists on the play.
Great work diwn low from from Skinner and Casey Mittelstadt led to a go-ahead goal from Alex Tuch. He converted a nice pass from Skinner from behind the net at 17:16. It was the 6th of the season fro Tuch.
The Penguins pulled their goalie with 1:20 to play. The Sabres almost scored, but Dylan Cozens was pulled down by Karlsson, putting the Sabres on the powerplay with 26 seconds to go.
Shots in the third were 13-12 Buffalo; 34-33 for Pittsburgh for the game.