Returning home from their semi-successful California trip, the Sabres looked to get their first win on home ice this season.
Following the poor effort against Anaheim to close out their road trip, Rolston felt it necessary to shuffle the lines coming into tonight. Starting for the Sabres were Ott-Hodgson-Moulson on offense while Myers and Tallinder were paired together on defense.
The first period started with not much enthusiasm from either side. This quickly changed when the Kings struck only 1 minute and 17 seconds into the contest.
Justin Williams shot the puck from just outside of the glove side face-off dot where it deflected off of Pysyk in front of the net before passing Miller’s blocker.
LA came back quickly after the ensuing face-0ff and were able to sustain pressure in the Buffalo zone, holding the Sabres from registering a shot on net until the five and a half minute mark of the period. Although Buffalo was able to mount some pressure of their own, the Kings were a dominating force on the puck and did not allow another Buffalo shot for some time.
At the 13 minute mark, Jake Muzzin of the Kings took a high-sticking call and sent Buffalo to the power play. The Buffalo power play did not look completely lost on the ice, and they were able to register a single shot from Jamie McBain which was blocked by a diving Slava Voynov in front of the Kings net.
The remainder of the period continued on as expected; the Kings dominating every aspect of the game, with pressure only lapsing for a shift or two. At the end of the period the shots were 15 to 4, in favor of the Kings. Though they had given up a lot of shots, they were mostly harmless and very few were actual scoring chances.
The second period began as the first had ended. The Kings continued to dominate the Sabres across the board. Winning face-offs and battles along the wall, passing the puck with precision, and dictating the tempo of the game with their physical play. Los Angeles came out rolling, recording two shots on net in the first minute of play.
Although they were giving up opportunities, the Sabres played very well positionaly and kept the volatility of the Kings shots to a minimum. The Sabres would go another 10 minutes without a shot on net. When the shot finally did come it was a beauty of a tip by Hodgson in on the far post off of a Steve Ott pass that resulted in a Buffalo goal.
Ott and Moulson drew assists on the play, while Hodgson recorded his 14th point over the last 18 games. The Sabres were able to feed off of the momentum from the goal, however failed to record another shot on net until the 18th minute mark of the period.
While following up on the shot Hodgson managed to take a hooking penalty behind the L.A. net. The great athletic and defensive ability from Girgensons kept the game tied at 1 as he chased Drew Doughty from below his own goal line into the Buffalo zone before stealing the puck away and lifting it out of the zone and to safety, only to find it hitting the scoreboard. After two periods the Sabres were being out shot 30-7 by the Kings and luckily remain tied at 1.
The Sabres came out of the dressing room for the third period ready to compete and win this period. The teams exchanged chances for the first four minutes of the period. At the 4:26 mark, Cody Hodgson found himself a juicy rebound off of a Matt Moulson shot-pass that deflected off of Tyler Ennis’ skate and buried it to take the 2-1 lead over L.A.
Only minutes later the Kings would find themselves on the power play after an incredibly questionable boarding call against Steve Ott.
Though they maintained possession and were able to get shots through, Miller was spectacular. Specifically on a deflected puck that found its way trickling toward the goal line before Miller swung around and covered it with his trapper. The penalty ended to no avail for the Kings although they had regained their momentum.
Controlling the play for most of the third period, the Kings were not at all reluctant to fire to the net and managed to find themselves tied up when Dwight King knocked a puck out of the air off of a rebound from a Tyler Toffoli shot. With the game tied at two, the team could not afford to give up any more quality chances.
With only half a minute left in regulation, Drew Stafford took a slashing call against Trevor Lewis and sent the Kings to the power play. L.A. was only able to register two shots the entire power play, one coming with only 10 seconds left to go in regulation, and one about a minute into the over time period.
The overtime period was again dominated by the Kings, with the Sabres only getting one shot on net. With just over a minute left to go before the shootout, Kings goaltender Quick went down with what appeared to be a leg or groin injury.
Though he was given ample time to consider his options, the ref eventually made them make the call which sent Ben Scrivens onto the ice for the remainder of the game. Neither team was able to muster any real chances in the remaining time. The Sabres were headed to the shootout.
Up first for the Sabres was Matt Moulson who was 1 for 1 on the year. He came in, deked Scrivens out of position and first one above his blocker to take the lead. Mike Richards was up for the Kings. He came in and attempted to beat Ryan Miller clean which was a mistake.
Miller stoned him cold on the shot attempt. Hodgson put his shot into the post, and was unable to score on a sprawling Scrivens. Trevor Lewis lost control of the puck in front of the crease and found himself out of room before he could regain control.
Tyler Ennis could end the game and seal the first home victory with a goal. He did precisely that. Ennis came in at a reasonable speed and simply beat Scrivens in between his glove arm and body for the win.
Although they were out shot 45-17 the Sabres were able to pull out a victory due to the incredible goal tending by Ryan Miller.
The Sabres will be back in action Friday night as they host the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:00 pm.