It was Danny Briere night in Philly as the Sabres took on the Flyers. Philadelphia paid tribute to the former playoff superstar by showing highlights from his career on the video board and having him perform the ceremonial puck drop with his three sons.
The Sabres had a great start to the first period. Passes were tape to tape. The defense was sound. Most importantly, the execution was there. Tyler Ennis scored the first goal of the night as he put a spin move on Claude Giroux behind the net to put himself in a position to backhand the puck passed Steve Mason.
Jamie McGinn got on the score sheet next as he positioned himself in front of the net and tipped a shot taken by Johan Larson. It was a power play goal that put the Sabres up 2-0
Philadelphia found their legs later in the period and cut the lead in half on a wrist shot by Chris Vandevelde. However, Buffalo would leave the ice with a 2-1 lead.
Both teams tightened up defensively to start the second period. Each team had a chance on the power play in the period and neither would score.
Sam Reinhart made a nice play on a rush as he drove towards the net and put a quick shot on the net that was stopped by Mason.
The Flyers gained momentum as the period continued by putting pressure on in the Buffalo zone. Chad Johnson came up big on a few occasions in that period to preserve the lead for the Sabres
Buffalo came at Philadelphia with a late push in the dying seconds of the second period including a shot by Ryan O’Reilly that just sailed over the net with eight seconds remaining.
Buffalo seemed to carry momentum from the end of the second period into the beginning of third period as they were skating well and wearing down the philly defense.
Reinhart continued to impress with a no look pass to Eichel who was making his way to the front of the net. Eichel one timed the puck on goal but it was fought off by Steve Mason.
Zemgus Girgensons nearly put one in as well when he drove the puck hard to the net. Steve mason made the save but the sabres ended up with the rebound and created multiple chances before Mason was able to gain possesion and stop play.
Philadelphia was able to get the crowd back into the game on a goal by Brayden Schenn who tipped the puck passed Chad Johnson. However, Buffalo quickly silenced the crowd with a goal of their own by the rookie Jake McCabe. He took a slap shot from the point that made it through Eichel and Reinhart who were creating traffic in front of the net.
The Flyers picked up the pace for the last half of the 3rd period and were able to tie the game with under a minute left on another tip by Brayden Schenn. The score remained 3-3 to end regulation and the Sabres head to 3-on-3 overtime for the second time this season.
The 3-on-3 period lived up to its reputation of scoring chances being traded left and right. Chad Johnson made arguably his best save of the season so far on a diving blocker stop on a backhand Scott Laughton.
Shortly after, Zemgus Girgensons received a break away pass from Colaiacovo. Girgensons fired a shot five-hole passed Steve Mason and the Sabres went on to win their third game of the season.
Girgensons was noticeably confident on the ice this game and may have had his best game this year. “you just get more confident. when you get more time on the ice, you get more opportunities.” Zemgus had 5 shots, 3 hits, and the game winning goal.
The Sabres next opponent will be a familiar one for head Coach Dan Bylsma as they will take on his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday at 7 p.m.