Sabres comeback falls short against Vegas

Score – BUF: 4 VGK: 5
Shots – BUF: 34 VGK: 31
PP – BUF: 3/5 VGK: 1/5
Hits – BUF: 16 VGK: 15

P1
BUF – O’Reilly (1) from Beaulieu (2) and Kane (4)
VGK – Lindberg from Smith and Karlsson

The Sabres finally got their powerplay going in the first period as O’Reilly ripped a wrist shot under the arm of Vegas goalie Malcom Subban.

Later in the period the Sabres gave it right back as Ristolainen turned the puck over in the neutral zone and Matt Tennyson looked lost trying to defend a 2 on 1 from Smith and Lindberg. Smith easily slid a pass over to Lindberg who had all day to slide into an open net.

P2
VGK – Tuch from Engelland and Leipsic
VGK – Smith from Hunt and Miller

The Sabres were sloppy all period long, taking a rash of penalties and had too many mental breakdowns to get out of this period unharmed.

Tuch stood in front of Johnson with no one around him and tipped in a shot from the point for an easy goal. Later in the period after Carrier drew his third penalty of the night Smith finally capitalized on Vegas Powerplay opportunities and put the Golden Knights ahead 3-1.

Second periods continue to haunt the Sabres, Vegas skated circles around them all period long and the Sabres looked completely lost. In no way shape or form did the Sabres deserve to even be in this game after 2 periods but Johnson did all he could to limit the damage done by Vegas in the middle frame.

P3
VGK – Perron from Eakin and Neal
BUF – O’Reilly (2) from Kane (5) and Eichel (6)
BUF – Reinhart (2) from Ristolainen (3) and Pominville (4)
BUF – Kane (5) from Eichel (7) and Pominville (5)

After a decent start to the third period the Sabres shot themselves in the foot yet again. A brutal turnover below their own goal line by Kyle Okposo saw the puck land in the slot on Perron’s stick and in the back of the Sabres net.

The Sabres capitalize on the powerplay yet again, this time a 5 on 3 and some nice passing by Eichel and Kane. O’reilly got the puck on the half wall and walked in and fired a beauty shot by a screened Subban. Reinhart set up in front of Subban and made sure he had no chance on the O’Reilly goal.

The powerplay continued to impress on this night as Reinhart set up in his office in front of Subban and tipped in a shot from Ristolainen.

With less than 10 seconds left and the goalie pulled Evander Kane bats a loose puck out of the air into the net to tie the game 4 and send the game to overtime.

The third period was the best period of hockey the Sabres played all year, the put up a huge fight and fought back to force overtime in a game that they didn’t really deserve to be in.

OT
VGK – Perron from Sbisa and Neal

Overtime was a little back and forth but Vegas had the majority of the chances and Perron fired a laser from the top of the circles past Chad Johnson to end the game and give the Golden Knights a 5-4 win.

Overall the Sabres didn’t deserve to be in this game at all, the third period was the best period of the season but other than that the Sabres looked lost and clearly weren’t prepared to for Vegas’s speed.

My three stars of the game for the Sabres were Evander Kane, Ryan O’Reilly and Sam Reinhart. Eichel also had a nice game adding two more points but other than that no one had a nice night. The D looked lost and made countless errors leading to Vegas goals and the Sabres offence was stagnant until a desperate push by the Top 6 in the final 10 minutes of pay.

The good news is that the team showed they can play, the bad news is the team doesn’t seem to know how to play a full 60 minutes. Hopefully coming back east and playing a few winnable games over the weekend can get this season back on track.

@SabresFanatics, @austin_broad

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