After a slow first period, the Sabres picked up the pace in the second to propel them to a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes at the First Niagara Center on Friday night.
The first period exemplified what happens when a team doesn’t respect the speed that Arizona can bring to a game. Shots were equal at seven, but the Sabres ended the period down 1-0 on a breakaway goal by Max Domi.
It didn’t take long in the second for the young Sabres to turn up the heat with another strong performance by Sam Reinhart. Reinhart’s great 2nd effort down low resulted in a turnover and a quick goal as he stuffed the puck passed Arizona’s Mike Smith.
Eichel’s beautifully executed flip pass to Jamie McGinn six minutes later in the second gave the Sabres the lead for good.
A wild 3rd period began with the Sabres doing their best to wear down the Coyotes as they played their second game in two nights. Kane’s explosive shorthanded goal 2:40 into the 3rd upped the score to 3-1. His 5th career shorthanded goal had Smith standing still as he rifled the wrist shot stick side, top shelf.
Arizona rookie Domi netted his 2nd of the night at 6:42 of the 3rd while catching Johnson sleeping. Buffalo had a quick response thanks to Marcus Foligno. A great backchecking effort by Foligno led to a quick breakout. He was then able to set himself up in the slot and send a sizzling wrist shot by Smith.
Thanks to a well-played review (goaltender interference) called by Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma, the Sabres were able to maintain their two goal lead heading into the final minutes of the game.
Evander Kane added an empty net goal after the Coyotes pulled Smith for the extra attacker. A well-deserved reward for a strong performance by Kane who made his presence known throughout the game.
With the offense clicking for the Sabres, it marks the first time the Sabres have scored at least four goals in each of their last four games. That’s something they haven’t done since the 2007 season. Buffalo has now totaled 17 goals in the past four games and are 3-0-1 over that span.
Chad Johnson received the start in net and stopped 18 of 20 shots, earning his seventh win of the season. Smith fell to 10-8-1 after allowing four goals on 27 shots.
Buffalo will be heading out west for a three game road trip against the Oilers, Canucks and the Kings.