A three-goal third period proved to be the difference as the Blackhawks rolled to a 6-2 victory on home ice, improving to 2-0 on the season. The Sabres battled back from a two goal deficit in the first period, but struggled to keep up with Chicago over the last 60 minutes.
Heading into the third period with the game tied, Chicago took complete control, outshooting Buffalo 19-4.
Patrick Kane received a fortunate bounce and took advantage of it with a shot that beat Jhonas Enroth, giving the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead six minutes into the third period. Kane’s first of the season turned out to be the game-winner.
Marian Hossa tacked on a shorthanded goal, while Patrick Sharp and Dan Carcillo also netted goals, running away with the game in the third period.
“Winning’s tough,” Josh Gorges said. “It’s not easy. You have to give 60 minutes.”
Head coach Ted Nolan wasn’t exactly please with the effort he saw tonight.
“For whatever reason we had too many passengers tonight,” Nolan said. “We have to be a lot better. We can’t continue going this way.”
The Sabres have gone into the 3rd period tied in both games so far, and have been outshot 35-12 and outscored 6-0 in the two 3rd periods combined.
Jhonas Enroth faced 47 shots, stopping 41 of them and not getting much support from his defense in the final period. While Enroth has made several big stops, allowing six goals in a game often leads to a goaltending switch in the next game. Michal Neuvirth may get his first start of the season early next week.
The Blackhawks got things started quickly with a pair of goals in the opening three minutes. Andrew Shaw and Duncan Keith brought fans to their feet, putting their team out to a great start in the home opener.
For Buffalo, Zemgus Girgensons collected his second goal in as many games with a wrist shot past Corey Crawford. Tyler Ennis knotted the game at two toward the end of the opening period with a shorthanded goal, the first of his career. Drew Stafford recorded an assist on both Buffalo goals, giving him his 300th NHL point.
The Sabres have been heavily outshot over the first two games, and have now been outscored 9-3.
“We didn’t do enough to help Enroth,” Nolan said. “The score certainly wasn’t his fault.”
The Sabres will head home and prepare for Monday’s matchup against the Ducks. That game is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the First Niagara Center.