Sabres fall to the Coyotes, 5-2

Marcus Johansson and Jeff Skinner score both of Buffalo's goals in the first period

WGR 550
February 29, 2020 - 8:40 pm

Photo: Ross D. Franklin - Associated Press

It was a great start for the Buffalo Sabres with two goals in the opening 20 minutes of play. However, that was about it as they collapsed defensively in the second period, en route to a 5-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night at Gila River Arena in Glendale.

Buffalo opened the scoring less than halfway through the first period with Marcus Johansson taking advantage of a turnover from the Coyotes deep in their own zone. After defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin overskated the puck in the corner, Dominik Kahun collected the loose change and fed Johansson in front, who walked around goalie Antti Raanta to tuck in his eighth goal of the season.

44 seconds later, Wayne Simmonds got his first point with the Sabres as his backhand found its way to the front of the net before re-directing off Jeff Skinner's stick and in the net to make it a 2-0 lead for Buffalo.

Despite ending the first period being outshot 9-8, the Sabres had the lead and the better of the scoring chances.

Unfortunately for the Sabres, it all unraveled for them in the second period.

It took just 2:20 for the Coyotes to strike as forward Clayton Keller found a pinching Jordan Oesterle in front of goalie Jonas Johansson to put Arizona on the board.

On the next shift, the Coyotes tied the game at 2-2 after applying some pressure in the Buffalo zone. This time, it was Phil Kessel who was able to slide in a rebound to the left of the Sabres net after Alex Goligoski's original shot rang off the post.

The Coyotes went ahead about six minutes after Johansson misplayed a puck behind his own net. Forward Christian Dvorak applied the pressure on Johansson and ended up stealing the puck and getting it to Keller in the slot. After his original shot hit the post and bounced around for a bit near the crease, Keller found his own rebound and put Arizona in the lead, 3-2.

The Sabres tried to push back to start the third period, but the Coyotes went into lockdown mode and made it difficult for Buffalo to sustain any quality pressure.

Keller really put the game out of reach with 6:01 to go in regulation when he was able to get around defenseman Rasmus Dahlin on an odd-man rush and slide the puck just under Johansson in goal.

With time running out and the Buffalo net pulled, the Coyotes capped off the scoring as captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson was able to put a puck down the length of the ice and into the empty net.




Goal Summary:

First Period:

BUF: 7:59 - Marcus Johansson (8) (Dominik Kahun, Jake McCabe); 8:43 - Jeff Skinner (14) (Wayne Simmonds)

Second Period:

ARI: 2:20 - Jordan Oesterle (3) (Clayton Keller, Oliver Ekman-Larsson); 3:13 - Phil Kessel (14) (Alex Goligoski, Jordan Oesterle); 3:30 - Clayton Keller (16) (Unassisted)

Third Period:

ARI: 13:59 - Clayton Keller (17) (Jason Demers); 19:40 - Oliver Ekman-Larsson (8) ENG (Unassisted)


Penalty Summary:

First Period:

BUF: 4:05 - Rasmus Dahlin (High-sticking - 2 min.); 10:23 - Victor Olofsson (Tripping - 2 min.)
ARI: 13:13 - Niklas Hjalmarsson (Slashing - 2 min.)

Second Period:


Third Period:

ARI: 17:46 - Niklas Hjalmarsson (Hooking - 2 min.)


Strategic Financial Solutions Stats of the Game:

Shots on Goal:

BUF: 27 (8, 12, 7)
ARI: 31 (9, 12, 10)


BUF: Jonas Johansson - 27 saves
ARI: Antti Raanta - 25 saves

Power Plays:

BUF: 0 for 2 (0%)
ARI: 0 for 2 (0%)

Three Stars:

  1. Clayton Keller - ARI
  2. Phil Kessel - ARI
  3. Jordan Oesterle - ARI

What's Next:

The Sabres head to Winnipeg to finish off their Western Conference four-game road trip on Tuesday night. Faceoff from Bell MTS Centre is set for 8 p.m. with the Paul William Beltz Pregame Show set for 7 p.m. with Brian Koziol on WGR.

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