Photo: Buffalo Sabres / Bill Wippert

Sabres defeat Penguins 10-2 to claim Prospects Challenge title

Buffalo explodes for seven goals in the third to take home the crown

September 10, 2018 - 3:44 pm

The Buffalo Sabres needed to win their final game of the 2018 Prospects Challenge by six goals in order to overcome a tie-break scenario with the New Jersey Devils and win the tournament. The Sabres managed to put up 10 goals on the Pittsburgh Penguins, and win by a 10-2 score to claim the title at HarborCenter in Buffalo.

After leading 3-0 at the end of the second period, the Sabres quickly secured a fourth goal as the third period opened. Alex Nylander rifled a shot home to start the surge, but the Penguins answered back with two quick goals of their own to make the score 4-2. From there, Buffalo dominated the game, scoring six unanswered goals as the Penguins faded. The Sabres offense was dynamic, with eight different goal scorers in the win. Both Nylander and camp invitee Nicholas Welsh had a pair in the decimation of Pittsburgh.

Nylander and Rasmus Asplund led the way in the point department for the Sabres, each notching four points on the scoresheet. Asplund scored in the first period with a beautiful end-to-end rush that resulted in a spectacular goal to give Buffalo a 2-0 lead.

Casey Mittelstadt also got on the scoresheet in the win, notching three assists in the third period.

The goaltending was roughly split in half as Jonas Johansson played the first 31 minutes, while allowing no goals. He was relieved by Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who allowed both Pittsburgh goals early in the third before settling in. The defense was strong and created chances for the offense, despite first overall pick Rasmus Dahlin not playing in the tournament finale.

The Sabres, Devils and Boston Bruins all finished the tournament with a 2-1-0 record, but the Sabres took home the title based on goal differential and head-to-head matchups. The Sabres held the advantage on New Jersey with their win over the Devils on Friday, and the two-goal advantage in goal differential. Even though the Sabres lost to the Bruins on Saturday, New Jersey beat Boston on Monday to hold that head-to-head advantage, and they had a better goal differential.

The Sabres will now look ahead to training camp, which begins on Thursday with the team reporting for team physicals. Buffalo's first preseason will come next Monday when thet travel to Columbus for a 7 p.m. faceoff against the Blue Jackets.

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