No Tyler Ennis and no Zemgus Girgensons? No problem for the Buffalo Sabres’ offense, which put up their most goals in one game this season as they trounced the Vancouver Canucks in a 6-3 victory.
Despite missing their top two goal scorers, Buffalo was able to find the back of the net consistently and in great quantity this evening, including a four-goal third period that overwhelmed the Canucks and eventually secured the win.
“I think it’s pretty easy to get motivated for any game in the NHL,” said Chris Stewart following the contest. “I think [with] losing hockey teams, guys have everything to play for. So we’re putting it on the line every night and we’re trying to turn it around in the second half of the season.”
Stewart was pivotal to a pair of Buffalo’s goals tonight. He scored his 11th of the season in the second period on a breakaway chance that was initially stopped by Canucks’ netminder Eddie Lack, but ricocheted off Stewart’s skate and past the crease. He added an assist late in the game by storming into the Vancouver zone unopposed, snatching up the puck before Lack could reach it, and tossing it to Brian Flynn who tapped it into the back of the net.
Torrey Mitchell laid claim to two of Buffalo’s goals on the night, his first tallies in 29 contests. Buffalo’s other goals came from Andrej Meszaros, just his second of the year, and from captain Brian Gionta, who sealed the win with an empty netter. Gionta also added two assists to his contributions on the night.
Just as key to Buffalo’s win were two surprising stats; the Sabres only allowed three shots on goal in the first period, and did not take a single penalty over the course of the contest. In their last game on Tuesday against the Columbus Bluejackets, a Sabre was directed to the penalty box five different times.
“It’s work, it’s your attitude, and it’s your discipline, and tonight we hit all three,” said head coach Ted Nolan in his post-game press conference.
Vancouver goals came from Shawn Matthias, Jannik Hansen, and Daniel Sedin. Goaltender Eddie Lack, who is filling in the starting role with Ryan Miller out for 4-6 weeks, stopped just 18 of 23 shots. In his first two games since taking over for Miller, he fended off 67 of 68 shots.
Buffalo will return to the ice this Saturday for an afternoon meeting with the Florida Panthers. That game will take place at 3:00 PM EST from the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.