The Sabres win two straight to come home with six out of 10 points

Buffalo fired 45 shots at Ryan Miller and scored four unanswered goals

Paul Hamilton
October 22, 2018 - 12:44 am

Photo: John Hefti - USA TODAY Sports


(WGR 550) - The Sabres got off to a good start, but it didn’t translate into goals early. I thought the Sabres played fast throughout the game and their perseverance paid off with a huge team win.

Ryan Miller looked like he was going to steal the show as he faced 31 shots in the first two periods. Anaheim had a 2-0 lead, but Buffalo finally got on the board with the extra man and it was the second unit that came through. Sam Reinhart hasn’t been spending much time around the net which is why he is no longer playing with Jack Eichel. Reinhart did in this game and it resulted in two power play assists.

On the first one, it was a quick, short pass to Kyle Okposo and on the second, he totally screened Ryan Miller for Rasmus Ristolainen’s game-winning goal. Reinhart can use this game to get back to playing the way he is capable of.

Jeff Skinner was flying in this game and giving the Ducks' defense fits. He pressured them on a forecheck, stole the puck and was stopped by Miller. He also hit the post on the power play and had four first period shots.

Skinner, just like his teammates, stuck with the game plan and he scored when he came flying down the middle of the ice and took a perfect pass from Jason Pominville. Pominville’s old teammate Miller had stoned the Sabres for the first 36:03 of the game, but Okposo and Skinner tied the game with goals 1:28 apart.

Buffalo never stopped buzzing the Anaheim zone. Twice they hemmed the Ducks in and didn’t even allow them a chance to change. Phil Housley stresses north/south hockey and he got just that for 60 minutes.

Things got a little tight when Conor Sheary took a selfish slashing penalty with just 5:08 left. Buffalo was leading by one goal, but did a terrific job of killing it off.

Things got very wild after Miller was pulled for the extra attacker. The Ducks played their best 90-seconds of the game and were all over the Sabres. Carter Hutton made three huge saves and with the puck approaching the goal line, Johan Larsson got back and swept it out. Zemgus Girgensons then got the puck out to Patrik Berglund who scored his first goal as a Sabre into the empty net. Larsson and Girgensons have been the fans' whipping boys since training camp and it was good to see them contribute in such a big way.

The Sabres come back from their five-game Western swing with six points out of a possible 10. When they left Buffalo, the knee jerk fans wanted Housley fired and most of the Amerks called up. On the other side, I would caution fans not to get too giddy about the 5-4-0 record either. This is a new team and there’s no question it is much better than last year, but with that, there are going to be very good games like Sunday and very bad games like Vegas. My suggestion is let the season play out for awhile before you make snap judgments.

I left this game thinking if the Sabres play a fast game like that all the time, they’ll win a lot of games. When they will be able to do that? It’s anybody’s guess.

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