Evander Kane’s first game back in Winnipeg was a good one for the Sabres as they were able to snap their six-game losing streak, defeating the Jets 4-2 at the MTS Centre on Sunday afternoon.
The Sabres were able to silence the home crowd early when Johan Larsson connected with Sam Reinhart in the slot, who blasted it past Jets rookie goaltender Connor Hellebuyck to give Buffalo the lead less than two minutes into the game.
Moments later, Blake Wheeler deflected a Bryan Little shot past Linus Ullmark into the Buffalo net, tying the game at one apiece. Before the first period of play came to a close, Reinhart would once again give the Sabres the lead, a power play goal assisted by Jack Eichel and Rasmus Ristolainen. Old friend Tyler Myers was in the box serving a hooking penalty.
The second period got off to a quick start, as Mathieu Perreault scored on the power play just 55 seconds into the period to tie the game at two. The goal was challenged by Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma, who thought that the Jets had went offsides earlier on in the play, but the goal was confirmed by the officials following a review.
The next goal wouldn’t be scored until the 15:38 mark of the third period, when Marcus Foligno scored his third of the season off of a long rebound off of Hellebuyck’s pad. Foligno’s goal ended up being the game winner, as Ullmark was able to stop the Jets’ onslaught in the closing minutes of the game.
Sam Reinhart was able to complete the hat trick with an empty net goal with 25 seconds remaining, securing the 4-2 win for the Sabres.
One of the obvious standouts of the game was Sam Reinhart, who scored his 10th, 11th and 12th goals of the season, his first of hopefully many career hat tricks. This gives Reinhart, who had only recorded one point in his previous five games, some much needed momentum.
This was a very physical game for both the Sabres and Jets, as both teams racked up over 20 hits. Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian both had four hits on their former team, tying for the lead in the hits department for Buffalo.
Kane also had an assist on the night, passing the puck to Reinhart for his third goal of the game when he could have easily scored the goal in front of the hostile Winnipeg crowd himself.
Linus Ullmark had a strong outing, stopping 42 out of the 44 shots that came his way. Although he gave up some dangerous rebounds throughout the game, he gave the Sabres a chance to win, which is all they can ask from their goaltender.
Leading the Sabres in ice time was Rasmus Ristolainen, who was on the ice for over 26 minutes of the game. The defenseman also put up an assist and three hits this afternoon, and finished the game with a +2 rating.
The next time Buffalo takes the ice will be Tuesday night at the Xcel Energy Center, as the Sabres take on the Thomas Vanek-led Minnesota Wild, who have earned points in their previous three games.