The Sabres used some good work to win in San Jose

Zemgus Girgensons scores the game-winner in the third period

Paul Hamilton
October 20, 2019 - 1:49 am

Photo: Stan Szeto - USA TODAY Sports


(WGR 550) - The Sabres come home from California with 4-of-6 points after squeezing out a 4-3 victory in San Jose.

This game was different from Anaheim and Los Angeles. Against the Ducks and Kings, the Sabres came out fast and fizzled. In this game, I thought they started off slowly and were playing well by the time the third period rolled around. This is especially impressive because it was three games in four nights.

I liked the fact that they stuck with this game too. Buffalo led 2-1 going into the third period, but Tomas Hertl scored a power play goal 44-seconds into the period. Jeff Skinner made it 3-2 at 2:28, but just 22-seconds later, Marcus Sorenson tied it again.

The Sabres stayed on top of the San Jose defense, and it was the Johan Larsson line that got pressure in the zone. Zemgus Girgensons finished off all that hard work by ripping one past Martin Jones into the top corner for his first of the season.

If I look at the four Buffalo goals, it was some nice work that lead to all of them. Marcus Johansson beat Jones on a shot that he should’ve had, but it was Henri Jokiharju skating the puck into the zone that led to the chance.

The second goal was Casey Mittelstadt’s third goal in two games. It never would’ve happened if Conor Sheary didn’t sprint down the ice and beat the defenseman to the dot to avoid an icing. Jokiharju then subtlety backed up on the blue line, giving Jimmy Vesey a passing lane to him. He also opened up a shooting lane and Mittelstadt tipped it in. The referee waived off the goal saying he hit it was a high stick, but Toronto overturned the call. I think the Sabres were awfully lucky to get that one, but that doesn’t diminish the work that went into the sequence.

Jeff Skinner’s goal was because Jake McCabe bulled his way right into the crease to keep a play alive. He then got the puck over to Skinner who had a wide-open net.

The Larsson line was very hard on the puck and the Sharks defense on the game-winning goal. Kyle Okposo had the puck go off him right to Girgensons.

Jokiharju did not get a star in this game, but I thought he deserved one.

At 7-1-1, Buffalo is tied with Colorado for the most points in the NHL with 15. Buffalo is now three points in front of Boston, four ahead of Toronto, five points better than Montreal and six ahead of Tampa Bay. If the playoffs started today, the Lightning would not be in them.

Buffalo flew home right after the game and will finish the home-and-home series with the Sharks on Tuesday in Buffalo.

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