Match day #3 has come to an end. Its been a fun few days of hockey lasting from noon until past 9pm. As the prelim round comes to a close, it marks the half way point for the tournament. So far attendance has been very good and the atmosphere for the bigger matches has been as good as any high level international competition.
Despite Harborcenter’s construction being incomplete and perhaps a bit rushed, Terry Pegula’s new complex has shown well for its first large tournament. All games have run smoothly. Spectators have had nothing but compliments for the aesthetics of the main rink, the layout for concessions, and other small nuances of the building.
With Buffalo throwing its name in the ring to host the 2018 Mens World Juniors, its perfect timing to showcase the new secondary ice surface to the IIHF. Having left good impressions with the Federation despite the less than ideal Dwyer Arena in 2011, there is no doubt a much more efficient rink such as Harborcenter will enhance the bid.
The marquee game of the night was between USA and Russia. A near sellout crowd created a very energetic advantage for the home side. Mini US flags were handed out early and created a nice scene when waved all at once after goals.
The Russians didn’t put up much fight as it felt like the entire game was played in their end. The Americans proved too quick and skilled cruising to a 7-1 victory and a 29-8 shot advantage.
Melissa Samoskevich put on a show most of the game for the Americans notching a hat trick and player of the match honors.
USA finished the opening round with the top seed and point total. They also receive a bye into the semi-finals Sunday night at 7pm. They await the winner of the Czech Republic/Sweden game to be played Friday.
Speaking of the Czech Republic, they surprised many taking a 1-0 lead late into the first period against Canada. But the equalizer came with 1:29 left. Despite the Czechs being outshot 14 to 5 the score was only 1-1 heading into the locker room.
The Canadians settled down in the 2nd period and were able to score 4 goals. They also had an impressive 20-0 shot margin in the frame.
Sarah Potomak had 2 goals and 2 assists for Canada as they secured the 2nd bye in the playoff round with a convincing 7-1 victory
One of the most interesting matches of the day was between neighboring rivals Sweden and Finland.
The Swiss could only look on needing Sweden to take care of the Fins thus pushing them through to the playoff round.
However the Finnish ladies had different plans. Despite trailing 1-0 after the first period, they stormed out to 3 goals on 9 shots in the second. They would hang on to a 3-1 victory behind 2 points from captain Anniina Kaitala.
Switzerland was the odd (wo)man out in the 3 way tiebreaker based on goal differential. They will now face Japan in a best of 3 series to see who will remain in the top division next year.
New Jersey: Greene(99), Zidlicky(42), Larsson(39), Merill(37)
Tonight’s Project Line Combinations:
Buffalo Forward Lines:
Sabres Defensive Pairings:
Devils Forward Lines:
Devils Defensive Pairings:
Tonight’s Starting Goaltending Matchup:
Buffalo: Jhonas Enroth 27 GP 11-13-2 3.16 GAA .908 SV% 1 SO
New Jersey: Corey Schneider 36 GP 13-18-4 2.45 GAA .918 SV% 2 SO
Last Meeting: April 1st, 2014 Sabres Won(SO) 3-2
Season Series: Sabres Won 2-0-1-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 73-45-17-3-4
All-Time @ NJD: Sabres Lead 33-23-9-2-3
February 17th @ Devils 7:30 PM
March 20th vs Devils 7:00 PM
Last Game Recap:
Six Rangers score in win against Sabres
Things seem to be clicking on the New York Rangers power play these days.
Just ask the Buffalo Sabres.
Derick Brassard, Chris Kreider and Rick Nash scored power-play goals 2:32 apart in the first period, and Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves to lead the Rangers to a 6-1 win against the Sabres at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
It was not the fastest three-power play goals in Rangers history; those were scored on Nov. 21, 1995, in 1:10 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. New York hadn’t scored three power-play goals in a period since Feb. 4, 2010, against the Washington Capitals.
Drew Stafford scored for the Sabres, who allowed at least three power-play goals in a game for the fourth time this season. Michal Neuvirth started in goal for a second straight night, but was pulled in the first period after allowing four goals on nine shots.
Buffalo (14-23-3) plays the second of its four-game road trip Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils. The Sabres, who were shut out 2-0 at home by the Florida Panthers on Friday, are 1-7-1 in their past nine games.
“We were probably out of it before it even started,” Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said. “I thought the first five to six minutes we had some good energy with a better start than [Friday] night, and then all of a sudden, a bad penalty. They get one [goal]. Then all of a sudden, they get another one and another one, and then the game is over.”
Season series: The three games the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils played last season were decided by one goal and featured eight goals combined. The Sabres won 3-2 in a shootout and 2-1 in regulation while the Devils beat Buffalo 1-0 in overtime. It’s no surprise considering Buffalo was 30th in the League in scoring (1.83 goals per game) and the Devils were 27th (2.40) last season. Not much has changed this season; the Sabres entered the week 30th in scoring (1.78) and the Devils 28th (2.15).
Sabres team scope: Buffalo is 1-7-1 in its past nine games and has allowed five goals or more in six of its past seven regulation losses. However, the Sabres have played the past seven games without defenseman Tyler Myers, who is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday in New Jersey. Myers, who has been out with a lower-body injury, leads the Sabres in ice time per game (25:21). He is an important part of their penalty kill, which has allowed 12 goals on 26 attempts in the past nine games. The Sabres gave up three power play goals in a span of 2:32 in the first period of a 6-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday.
Devils team scope: New Jersey got a hat trick from Jaromir Jagr and eight points from its top line of Jagr, Scott Gomezand Adam Henrique in a 5-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. The Devils had scored 21 goals in their previous 14 games. It was their sixth win in the past 24 games as they are 6-13-5 since the last time they strung together consecutive wins (Nov. 11-14). Forward Martin Havlat and defenseman Eric Gelinas didn’t practice Monday because they were sick. Center Jacob Josefson is eligible to come off injured reserve Tuesday; he has missed the past four games because he has been sick. He practiced Monday. Peter Harrold (head) also practiced Monday after sitting out the game Saturday.
Today kicks off the IIHF Women’s U18 World Ice Hockey Championships in Buffalo. One of the first large events to be hosted by Pegula’s new Harborcenter complex. The tournament doesn’t draw the same fanfare and attention that the Men’s Junior (currently finishing up in Toronto/Montreal) but is worth attending for many reasons.
I love international competition. Even more so international hockey. So my interest is already peaked. But the U18’s are actually the highest level of “junior” hockey for the ladies. After this the best competitions for them are the Olympics and the over 18 Worlds. So this isn’t low level high school puck here, its expected to be good hockey.
And with that I made my way down to the new facility for the opening game. Japan vs. Sweden. A matchup that didn’t bring in the big crowds but ended up being entertaining nonetheless. You would expect the Swedes to coast mainly because of their rich history in the sport as opposed to Japan, but you would also have been mistaken.
Sweden held a 2-1 lead late into the third period before Japan scored an equalizer with 3 minutes remaining. Looking like we were possibly in for an upset, Hanna Olsen of Sweden finished a beautiful one timer from the slot to retake the lead 3-2 with under a minute to play. This would end up being the game winner. Final shots were 28-25 in favor of Japan.
The first game alone was entertaining and showed this tournament could be competitive even from the underdogs.
Why should you attend the games? The above should give you one decent reason. The hockey isn’t bad. There is no checking in the women’s game (although I saw one big collision that resulted in a penalty) but there is plenty of good skating and passing. Personally I like my international hockey that way.
Second reason to attend is the venue. The new Harborcenter is a very good venue for hockey. The main rink is on the 7th floor and provides a nice atmosphere with views of downtown. There are no bad seats and even the standing room is good as you a provided with your own mini tables. This a perfect time finally check out the facilities if you haven’t yet.
Affordability. The games are all $5 except for the later rounds. Semi-finals are $10 and the gold/bronze medal games are $20. Matches run all day from noon until 930pm at night so if you’re off during the week it provides some nice mid day entertainment. You can park in the large garage that is directly attached to the arenas at no cost (at least for the earlier games). For the first contest I was able to find dozens of open spots.
Lastly USA/Canada is AS GOOD of a rivalry in women’s hockey as it is in men’s. The Gold Medal loss in Sochi for the women stuck with me longer than the early round loss to Canada by the men
Tonight’s game is sold out between the two sides but its all but expected (not guaranteed of course) to end up Canada vs. USA in the gold medal game next monday. Tickets are almost sold out for that game too so I suggest you get them quick.
Lastly for the merchandise hunters, it appears there are no country specific items such as jerseys/scarfs/hats available. However in the Rink 1 pro-shop you will find commemorative shirts and hoodies for the event.
Buffalo: Jhonas Enroth 24 GP 11-11-2 3.04 GAA .912 SV% 1 SO
Chicago: Craig Anderson 22 GP 8-9-5 2.43 GAA .928 SV% 3 SO
Last Meeting: December 15th Sabres Won(SO) 5-4
Season Series: Sabres Lead 1-0-0-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 59-45-10-3-4
All-Time at OTT: Senators Lead 28-18-7-4-4
February 10th vs Senators 7:00 PM
March 6th @ Senators 7:30 PM
Last Game Recap:
Islanders blow lead, lose to Sabres in shootout
A three-goal lead in the third period wasn’t enough for the New York Islanders on Saturday.
Tyler Ennis scored in the shootout and Jhonas Enroth stopped all three shooters to give the Buffalo Sabres a 4-3 win against the Islanders at First Niagara Center.
The Sabres (14-19-3) ended a four-game skid. Enroth stopped Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, and John Tavares in the shootout to earn the victory.
“In this game, it’s one thing we said going into the third period, you just never know,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “Throw some pucks on net … but for us to say it was going to happen was a different story. It was just a great third period.”
The Islanders (23-11-1) jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two periods with a goal from Nick Leddy in the first period and two from Tavares in the second, but the Sabres scored three times in 5:12 in the third to tie the game.
Enroth made 33 saves through 65 minutes and improved to 5-0 in shootouts.
“I thought their goalie obviously elevated,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “I mean he was good tonight, but he made some big saves when he had to and that’s what you need to do when you win hockey games. I thought their goalie played well and, we just, at that point, we had some quality chances … we just couldn’t get one by him.”
According to Elias Sports, it was the second time in Sabres history they overcame a 3-0 deficit in the third period and won. They also accomplished the feat on April 2, 2003 in a 4-3 win against the Atlanta Thrashers. It was also the first time they overcame a three-goal deficit and won since April 3, 2012 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“It just goes to show you the type of character we have in this room and a no-quit attitude,” Sabres forward Drew Staffordsaid. “Earlier on in the year, especially down 3-0, the way that they were kind of controlling the play, especially in the second period, we might’ve folded up shop. It’s not so anymore. The type of grit, the type of determination we have in here … what a gutsy win.”
Nic Deslauriers made it 3-1 with 13:21 left in the third period with his fourth goal of the season and second in as many games. Deslauriers received a pass from Stafford in the high slot and took a wrist shot that beat Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin for his fourth goal of the season. The goal also extended Deslauriers point streak to three games.
“We always believed, but we got lucky,” Deslauriers said. “The puck just popped out at me, I took a shot and it went in. From there we built momentum and [Zemgus] Girgensons buried a nice goal there.”
Girgensons made it 3-2 with a shorthanded goal with 9:59 left. Girgensons took a pass from Deslauriers and broke in against Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Girgensons’ wrist shot beat Poulin to the stick side for his 10th goal of the season.
“I think a couple guys just turned it up a little bit more,” Nolan said. “Girgensons went to the next level, [you] can’t forget about [Chris] Stewart. I think for the last couple of games he’s really coming on. Stafford didn’t play his two best periods at the beginning, but he had a good third period.”
Stewart tied the game 3-3 with 8:09 remaining. Stewart took a pass from Stafford, deked and then beat Poulin with a backhand shot for his fifth goal of the season.
Buffalo: Jhonas Enroth 23 GP 10-11-2 3.05 GAA .912 SV% 1 SO
Detroit: Petr Mrazek 6 GP 3-2-1 2.24 GAA .927 SV% 0 SO
Last Meeting: November 2nd Sabres Won(SO) 3-2
Season Series: Sabres Lead 1-0-0-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 54-51-13-2-1
All-Time @ DET: Red Wings Lead 37-18-5-0-1
January 13th vs Red Wings 7:00 PM
January 18th @ Red Wings 8:00 PM
Last Game’s Recap:
Eriksson’s OT goal lifts Bruins past Sabres
For the second time in three games, Loui Eriksson was the overtime hero for the Boston Bruins.
After defenseman Dougie Hamilton scored his second goal of the game with 1:31 remaining in regulation to force overtime, Eriksson scored with 2:14 elapsed in the extra session to earn the Bruins a 4-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Sunday.
The Sabres (13-18-3) have lost three in row. Enroth, who started on back-to-back nights because Michal Neuvirth was sick, made 33 saves.
It was a gutsy effort for the Sabres to earn one point; Buffalo was at a decided disadvantage in terms of manpower from the start and the loss of players continued throughout the game. The Sabres started without defenseman Tyler Myersbecause of a lower-body injury. Forwards Matt Moulson and Patrick Kaleta were out sick, and before the game coach Ted Nolan said several other players were ill.
Late in the first period, forward Brian Gionta was injured on a hit by Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski and forwardMarcus Foligno was injured in the ensuing fight with Bartkowski. Gionta and Foligno did not return to the game because of upper-body injuries. Bartkowski received a game misconduct.
“Yeah, I mean going down to three lines early and losing a couple more guys, just the way that the game ended you’re disappointed, but the effort, you’re right, we couldn’t have asked for more,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “They gave us everything they had and we have a [Tim] Schaller going head-to-head against a [Patrice] Bergeron all night and it’s kind of a … he’s only played three games in the NHL. So I thought that all things being equal we did a great job.”
Schaller, a rookie from Merrimack, N.H., put the Sabres ahead 3-2 with 1:27 gone in the third period with his first NHL goal on a wraparound. He was called up Sunday from the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League because of the injuries and illness afflicting the Sabres. Schaller’s parents made it to the game.
“I didn’t even know how to celebrate,” he said. “I threw my hands up, they gave me a hug, so I guess that’s all I needed.”
Season series:Zemgus Girgensons scored in the third round of a shootout and Michal Neuvirth stopped Henrik Zetterberg to seal a 3-2 win for the Buffalo Sabres against the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 2 in Buffalo. The Red Wings had won seven straight against the Sabres; Buffalo’s previous victory against Detroit was a 6-2 win Oct. 13, 2009.
Sabres team scope: The Sabres canceled practice in Detroit on Monday, mostly because coach Ted Nolan wants to make sure a flu bug that already has affected forwards Patrick Kaleta and Matt Moulson doesn’t spread any further. Their status for Tuesday is unknown, as is the status of captain Brian Gionta. Gionta sustained a hard hit from the Boston Bruins’ Matt Bartkowski at 14:08 of the first period and did not return to the game because of an upper-body injury. In addition, Marcus Foligno sustained an upper-body injury fighting Bartkowski after the hit on Gionta and did not return to the game. If the Sabres decide to recall a forward from Rochester of the American Hockey League, it might not be in time for the morning skate Tuesday.
Red Wings team scope: Goaltender Jimmy Howard practiced Monday, but his status for Tuesday remains unknown. Howard injured his groin in the first period of a 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Friday and left about halfway through practice Monday, according to MLive.com. “I was surprised [Howard] was out there on his own, then I was surprised he was in the net,” coach Mike Babcock said Monday, according to MLive.com. “I gave him the boot out of the one net to say are you starting tomorrow. I don’t know if he is. We’ll know tomorrow morning.” Petr Mrazek will start if Howard can’t, but Howard told MLive he’s feeling positive he’ll be able to go. “There’s a chance, but I don’t know. I’ll probably have to talk a little bit more to [the training staff] to see what’s best for myself and for the team. It’s responded every single day with treatments. It felt good out there on the ice today, so hopefully tomorrow, another good work day, and you never know.”
Zadorov’s first goal of the season came when he received a pass from Tyler Ennis and took a slap shot that beat Panthers goalie Al Montoya.
“Finally I did it and it’s a great feeling, especially in overtime in the National Hockey League,” Zadorov said. “I probably never had that big a goal in my life. It’s a great feeling and I’m going to try to do it again.”
It was Zadorov’s second NHL goal, his first game-winner.
“I told [Zadorov] before the game, I said I think he’s getting one tonight,” Ennis said. “I don’t want to say that I called it, but I called it. He did a good job slipping in and I just tried to be patient and [he got it].”
“The one thing we talked about early was compete factor,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “If we compete, good things can happen, and now we’re starting to play with some structure and discipline. Anybody can beat anybody on a given night and right now we feel real good. The team feels good about themselves, they’re playing hard for one another, and when you do that, good things happen. So right now, knock on wood, things are going good for us.”
Meszaros left the game at 11:35 of the second period after he took a puck in the face from Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad. Gorges left the game in the third period after he blocked a shot.
“They both went for their reviews and so they both look very doubtful for our next game,” Nolan said. “We’ll cross our fingers and hope for the best.”
Sabres look to make it four in a row against Senators
Season series: The Ottawa Senators won three of four games last season against the Buffalo Sabres and have won nine of the past 12. The game was scheduled to be played Feb. 20 at First Niagara Center but was pushed back after a November snowstorm in Buffalo forced the postponement of the Sabres game with the New York Rangers, which will be played Feb. 20.
Senators team scope: Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner, who made 29 saves in a 3-2 shootout win against the Boston Bruins on Saturday, will start. In six road starts, he is 4-2-0 with a 2.57 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. Forward Milan Michalek (upper-body injury) skated and is eligible to return from injured reserve on Monday. Forward Zack Smith, who sustained a wrist injury on Saturday, will be out for a few months, according to coach Dave Cameron. Forward Bobby Ryan has five points in his past four games. The Senators will try to win two straight games for the first time since Nov. 4-6.
Sabres team scope: Buffalo has won nine of its past 12 games and is looking for its fourth straight win. The Sabres have not won four games in a row since a five-game winning streak from Mar. 19-27, 2012. Buffalo enters play on Monday six points out of a wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and trail the Senators by three points in the Atlantic Division. Goalie Jhonas Enroth has won his past three starts, allowing six combined goals. Defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who was hit in the chin with a puck on Saturday, and Josh Gorges, who was injured blocking a shot, likely will not play Monday, according to coach Ted Nolan. The Sabres could recall a defenseman from the Rochester Amerks of the American Hockey League. Buffalo concludes a four-game homestand and is looking for its sixth straight win at First Niagara Center.
Buffalo: Jhonas Enroth 18 GP 7-10-1 2.91 GAA .918 SV% 1 SO
Calgary: Karri Ramo 13 GP 8-3-1 2.37 GAA .917 SV% 2 SO
Last Meeting: March 18 Flames Won 3-1
Season Series: Flames Won 2-0-0-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 48-34-16-1-0
All-Time vs CGY: Sabres Lead 30-15-5-1-0
January 27th @ Flames 9:00 PM
Last Game’s Recap:
Enroth Ouduels Quick In Sabres 1-0 Win Over Kings
Jhonas Enroth picked a good night to get his first shutout of the season.
Enroth made 34 saves and Tyler Ennis scored in the third period to give the Buffalo Sabres a 1-0 win against the Los Angeles Kings at First Niagara Center on Tuesday.
“This was actually one of my easier games,” Enroth said. “Everything was pretty controlled and I put myself in a good position and was pretty sharp all the way through.”
Not only was the shutout the first of the season for the Sabres, it was the first the Sabres have recorded since a 1-0 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on April 13, 2013. Enroth made 29 saves in that game.
“We came out pretty confident and we wanted to play well and not just go out to play to lose,” Enroth said. “It was good.”
Enroth was under pressure by the Kings offense throughout the game, but came up big in the third period when he made 14 saves. Enroth made two saves during a Kings power play with 6:52 left in the third and made two more against Kings forward Tyler Toffoli to keep the Kings scoreless.
“The puck was just rolling,” Toffoli said. “I was just trying to get something on it. I didn’t really get a whole lot on it. On the backhand, it still almost went in but it wasn’t good enough.”
The Kings led the Sabres in shot attempts by a 70-23 margin.
“We had some really good ones in the first half of the game,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “We’re playing against, quietly, goalies that are right up there in terms of, I think they’re like 10th in the League in save percentage. You’ve got to bear down on your opportunities. We had some good looks in traffic and didn’t finish the job.”
Ennis scored four minutes into the third period to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead. With Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr in the penalty box for roughing, Ennis received a pass from Matt Moulson in front of the net and took a wrist shot that beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick for his eighth goal of the season.
“It’s a good feeling when you’ve got a 1-on-1 with a goalie and you’ve got the time,” Ennis said. “Great pass by Moulson, good entry and I’m glad we put it in.”
Season series: The Calgary Flames won each of the two games they played against the Buffalo Sabres in 2013-14. In the most recent game, the Sabres were held to 14 shots on goal in a 3-1 loss on March 18.
Flames team scope: The Flames are third in the Pacific Division but have lost their past two games. Prior to its recent stumble, Calgary had won four in a row. The Flames ended up on the wrong side of a 4-1 score against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, but players remain positive despite back-to-back defeats. “I think the last two games for the most part we’ve been pretty good, just a couple stretches where turnovers led to goals,” forward Paul Byron told calgaryflames.com Wednesday. “If we can take those out the team’s been playing good otherwise.” The Flames’ visit to Buffalo is the second stop on a four-game road trip and the first of three games in four nights.
Sabres team scope: The Sabres are in last place in the Atlantic Division with 22 points in 28 games, but they enter Thursday after blanking the Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings 1-0 on Tuesday. Goalie Jhonas Enroth stopped all 34 shots and will get his ninth start in the past 10 games, but Sabres coach Ted Nolan hesitated to call him the No. 1 starter. “Calling a No. 1 I think is just status,” Nolan told Buffalo Sports Radio WGR 550 on Wednesday. “Jhonas is playing well and anyone that plays the best is the number one.” Buffalo may also have the added benefit of a charged-up Chris Stewart, who was not quiet about his displeasure with being a healthy scratch Tuesday. “I’m not happy about it,” Stewart said after practice Wednesday. “I don’t agree with being a healthy scratch, but you take it on the chin like a man. I’m happy the boys got the win and I’ll put the work boots on and get ready for the next time I’m back in the lineup.”
Florida: Mitchell(55), Campbell and Ekblad(28), Kulikov and Olsen(24), MacKenzie(21)
Tonight’s Projected Lines:
Buffalo Forward Lines:
Sabres Defense Pairings:
Panthers Forward Lines:
Panthers Defense Pairings:
Tonight’s Starting Goaltending Matchup:
Buffalo:Michal Neuvirth 10 GP 3-5-1 2.85 GAA .920 SV% 0 SO
Florida: Roberto Luongo 19 GP 8-5-6 2.39 GAA .924 SV% 1 SO
Last Meeting: October 17th Pantehrs Won 1-0
Season Series: Panthers Lead 1-0-0-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 44-29-4-0-3
All-Time @ FLA: Sabres Lead 20-16-1-0-2
December 13th vs Panthers 7:00 PM
January 2nd vs Panthers 7:00 PM
February 28th @ Panthers 3:00 PM
Last Game’s Recap:
Sabres and Lightning Combined for 110 PIM’S in Lightning’s 5-0 Rout
Though they were on the wrong end of the score sheet, the Buffalo Sabres didn’t back down from a fight Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
A series of scrums and fights highlighted the third period of Tampa’s 5-0 win at Amalie Arena. The two teams combined for 110 penalty minutes in the game.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Buffalo. They’re now 6-2-0 in their past eight games.
“We just got off our game a little bit,” Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons said. “We got a little bit unlucky on some of those goals. It’s just about us not doing the things we’ve done.”
Sabres coach Nolan said he would have liked to see the team stick to playing a simpler, north-south game similar to the one that allowed them to pick up some victories. The Sabres had beaten the Lightning in a shootout on Tuesday at First Niagara Center.
“We just lost track of what we need to do in order to be successful,” he said. “We stopped hitting, we stopped skating. We were doing a lot of pirouettes in center ice. It got away from us in that second period.”
Coming out of the first period, the Sabres were down 1-0 and were being outshot 8-5. Buffalo felt good about where they were in the game but they unraveled in the second, surrendering three goals and generating very little offensive zone time. They managed only three shots on goal in the middle frame.
“We put it into their hands and they’ve got a good team,” Sabres forward Marcus Foligno said. “When you turn over pucks at crucial spots – it was definitely tough to see them respond in the second and to be down to a team that we thought we were really close with:”
Bolland could return for Panthers against Sabres
Season series: Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo made 26 saves in a 1-0 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 17. Buffalo goaltender Jonas Enroth made 34 saves, but allowed the game’s only goal in the second period to Sean Bergenheim. The Panthers have won four in a row against the Sabres and six of the past eight.
Sabres team scope: Buffalo was defeated by the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-0 on Thursday for its second loss in eight games. The Sabres haven’t lost two games in a row since Nov. 11-13. Buffalo had 13 shots on goal in the loss, its third-lowest total of the season. It had 12 shots in a 5-1 loss against the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 13, and a season-low 10 shots on goal in a 4-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 28. The Sabres will turn to goalie Michal Neuvirth, who hasn’t started since sustaining a lower-body injury on Nov. 19. “Jonas has been playing really good so I had to work more in practices and wait for my opportunity,” Neuvirth said after practice Friday. Forward Drew Stafford, who missed the past three games with a lower-body injury will be in the lineup, according to coach Ted Nolan. Defenseman Andrej Meszaros (concussion-like symptoms) did not play Thursday.
Panthers team scope: Florida lost 4-3 in a shootout to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday despite taking a season-high 55 shots on goal. “I’m not disappointed because of the way we played in the second and third period,” coach Gerard Gallant said Friday. “I thought it was our best offensive output and our team played really good as a group. Sometimes you gain those points, sometimes you lose those points.” Forward Vincent Trocheck has five points in his past four games. Forward Dave Bolland has been out since Oct. 17 with a lower-body injury and may return Saturday. Forwards Scottie Upshall (ankle) and Aleksander Barkov (hand) may also be in the lineup. Defenseman Jesse Blacker, who was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, is expected to make his Panthers debut.
Buffalo: Jhonas Enroth 13 GP 3-9-1 3.30 GAA .909 SV% 0 SO
Montreal: Carey Price 18 GP 13-4-1 2.36 GAA .922 SV% 2 SO
Last Meeting: November 5th Canadiens Won(SO) 2-1
Season Series: Canadiens Lead 1-0-0-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 119-106-31-5-2
All-Time vs MTL: Sabres Lead 69-37-19-4-2
November 29th @ Canadiens 7:00 PM
February 3rd @ Canadiens 7:30 PM
Last Game Recap:
Frolik’s shorthanded goal lifts Jets past Sabres
The Winnipeg Jets are finding ways to win on the road.
Michael Frolik’s shorthanded goal with 5:40 left in the second period helped the Jets to a 2-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Wednesday.
The win was the second in as many nights for the Jets, who are 8-4-2 on the road.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game by any standards, but we had a couple huge penalty kills, the power play came through again,” Jets forward Bryan Little said. “It was ugly, but we’ll take it.”
Frolik beat goalie Jhonas Enroth with a backhand wraparound after Sabres defenseman Andre Benoit turned over the puck. The goal, Frokik’s fifth, came after the Jets’ Adam Lowry was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for boarding Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta with 5:54 left in the second.
“I think we wanted to have hard pressure to kill the [penalty] and I tried to get in on him and I think he missed the pass a little bit and it bounced on him,” Frolik said. “I just kind of read that and tried to wrap it around. I think the goalie thought I was going to go all the way around and I just tried the short side. I didn’t even know it went in for a second, but it did, and I was happy.”
The loss ended the Sabres’ three-game winning streak.
Benoit was a late addition to the Sabres lineup. He replaced Tyler Myers, who was a late scratch because of a lower-body injury. Myers was struck in the hand by a slap shot against the Washington Capitals on Saturday.
“That shorthanded goal against us really set us back,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “We couldn’t get our power play going. We practice it every day, and it didn’t look like we did at all.”
Season series: On Nov. 5, the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in a shootout. PA Parenteau scored in the third period, and then ended the game with a goal in the third round of the tiebreaker. Sabres goalie Jonas Enroth and Canadiens goalie Dustin Tokarski each made 31 saves in regulation and overtime. Montreal and Buffalo will play the back end of their home-and-home Saturday at Bell Centre.
Canadiens team scope: Montreal has not played since a 5-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. With four days between games, coach Michel Therrien gave his players two days away from the rink before reconvening Wednesday for practice. The Canadiens sit atop the Eastern Conference standings with 33 points, tied with the Anaheim Ducks for most in the NHL. “We’re first in the League, so that’s really positive,” center David Desharnais said. “And the fun part about it is we can go another step higher. We’ve played some good games and some that weren’t as good, then there were games where (goalie) Carey (Price) was incredible and he went and got us a win. So I think we can be better, and that’s the beauty of it.” Price is 13-4-1 with a 2.35 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. Tokarski played in New York on Sunday, meaning Price, who blanked the Boston Bruins in a 2-0 win Saturday, will have had five days off between starts if Therrien goes with him against the Sabres.
Sabres team scope: Buffalo had its three-game winning streak snapped Wednesday in a 2-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Defenseman Tyler Myers did not play because of a lower-body injury. He was replaced in the lineup by Andre Benoit, who committed a turnover that led to Michael Frolik’s shorthanded, game-winning goal in the second period. The Sabres pulled to within a goal at 5:30 of the third period on Chris Stewart’s second goal of the season, but they could not beat Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec with any of their six shots the rest of the way. Buffalo had 10 shots after two periods, then doubled that total in the third. “That first period and a half or so, I thought our hands were handling that puck like a grenade,” coach Ted Nolan said. “It just kept bouncing and bouncing. That third period we played the way we have to in order to be successful.” After this game, the Sabres will play three of four on the road.
Buffalo: Jhonas Enroth 11 GP 2-8-1 3.63 GAA .900 SV% 0 SO
Washington: Braden Holtby 13 GP 7-4-2 2.26 GAA .914 SV% 1 SO
Last Meeting: January 28th Capitals Won(OT) 5-4
Season Series: Sabres Won 2-0-1-0
All-Time: Sabres Lead 85-43-15-2-1
All-Time at WSH: Sabres Lead 40-23-9-1-0
March 7th @ Capitals 7:00 PM
March 16th vs Capitals 7:00 PM
Last Game Recap:
Gionta leads Sabres past Sharks; Neuvirth injured
The Buffalo Sabres’ mastery of the San Jose Sharks continued Tuesday.
Brian Gionta had two goals and an assist to lead the Sabres to a 4-1 win against Sharks at First Niagara Center. The win was their eighth straight against the Sharks.
The Sabres took a 2-1 lead on Gionta’s first goal of the season 11:54 into the second period. Gionta took a pass from Brian Flynn and snapped a shot past Sharks goalie Troy Grosenick to his blocker side.
“[Flynn] made a great playing coming in the zone finding me and just running out of real estate and just putting it far side, and it found its way in,” Gionta said. “It’s a big relief. It’s been a long time and it weighs on you a little bit.”
Flynn was set up by Gionta with 12 seconds left in the second period for his second goal of the season and a 3-1 Buffalo lead. Gionta passed to Flynn on a 2-on-1 against Sharks defenseman Jason Demers, and Flynn beat a sprawled Grosenick.
“Our first period was probably our best period,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “We didn’t play sloppy; we didn’t give up outnumbered rushes. We’d come out in the second and third period and played dumb hockey. Just flat out dumb. Pinching, giving up 2-on-1s, 3-on-2s. We’d only given up 10 shots after two periods and we were down 3-0. Just dumb hockey. You don’t win at any level playing like that and you don’t beat any type of team playing like that.”
Gionta scored an empty-net goal with 42 seconds left to make it 4-1.
“That’s one thing … they talk about Gionta’s lack of scoring before, but the one thing he has been really bringing to the forefront is his leadership, and those type of things that happen to us, he’s the first one to say, just keep going, keep going, keep going,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “That line (Gionta, Flynn and Torrey Mitchell) tonight I thought was our best line by far.”
The Sabres victory gave them two consecutive wins for the first time this season. Buffalo defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-2 on Saturday.
“There [are] a number of things that sometimes when you’re going through a phase like we’re going through people sometimes tend to have a tendency to look at the negative things, but there’s some really positive things that are happening along the way,” Nolan said. “There [are] some bright signs and finally to see it all come together with a couple wins is really nice.”
Nic Deslauriers opened the scoring at 5:25 of the second period with his second goal. Deslauriers gathered a loose puck from a Cody McCormick shot, and then quickly fired it off Sharks defenseman Mirco Mueller’s foot and past Grosenick.
Season series: The Buffalo Sabres took two of three against the Washington Capitals last season, with all the games decided in overtime. Buffalo won the first two, exactly two weeks apart, in identical 2-1 shootouts. The Capitals won the finale 5-4 behind two goals and two assists from Alex Ovechkin.
Sabres team scope: This was supposed to be the second half of a back-to-back for Buffalo, but snowy conditions postponed their Friday game against the New York Rangers, making the Saturday game against Washington the first time the Sabres have played since Tuesday. Buffalo has won its past two games, its only such streak of the season, scoring a combined 10 goals, its highest two-game output. Brian Gionta and Zemgus Girgensons each picked up multigoal games over the past two, while Girgensons has been playing on the top line with Tyler Ennis and Matt Moulson. “We’ve got to keep this momentum going,” Gionta said Friday.
Capitals team scope:Braden Holtby has backstopped Washington to wins in four of his past five starts; the Capitals have won five of their past seven games. Holtby has faced 147 shots in those five games and has stopped 139 of them. Washington’s power play is converting at better than 24 percent but has scored twice on its past 17 opportunities. Buffalo kills just over 78 percent of opponents’ power plays. In the Capitals road victory on Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche, Ovechkin picked up his third game-winning goal of the season, putting him in a tie for second in the NHL, one behind the Montreal Canadiens‘ Lars Eller.