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Game Recap

Sabres fall late in OT

Recap

The Chicago Blackhawks, a team desperate for wins, snapped a five-game losing streak by beating the basement-dwelling Buffalo Sabres, by a score of 3-2 on Friday night at the United Center.

Gustav Forsling, who was involved in all aspects of the score sheet, scored the overtime winner with only five seconds remaining. Only moments prior was he nailed with a holding call, as he took down Jack Eichel on a breakaway.

In such situations the player taken down is awarded a penalty shot. Eichel was stopped by Blackhawks’ netminder, Corey Crawford, and the Buffalo Sabres watched a hard-fought road game go down the drain.

The Sabres appeared poised for a road win late in the third period, as they went to the power play with just under five minutes left in regulation. However, the dark cloud that has haunted them this entire season – the short-handed goal – paid a visit once again.

The Blackhawks, obviously aware of the Sabres’ special-teams woes, rushed all four penalty-killers into the Buffalo zone. Forsling wound up a slap shot, which was then deflected by a Tommy Wingels tip in front, tying the game at two. That was the Sabres’ eighth short-handed goal against this season.

For the Sabres to come into Chicago and steal a game would mean that Robin Lehner would need to be at his best – and he was, despite the end result. Buffalo was outshot the majority of the game by a margin of almost 2:1, but Lehner made key saves when called upon, stopping 48 of 51 shots.

A key save of the game came in the dying moments of the second period. Richard Panik let a grade-A shot rip from the slot, but Lehner stuck out his left pad to make the save. That preserved the Sabres’ 2-1 lead going into the third period.

The Sabres actually got the scoring started in the dying moments of the first period. On their second power-play of the period, Eichel put a perfect pass on the stick of Jason Pominville, who tipped the puck past Crawford. That power play goal snapped a 0-for-30 streak.

A desperate Blackhawks team didn’t take long to respond after that though. Chicago rookie, Alex DeBrincat, scored his 12th goal of the season on a power play as well, which tied the game at one.

The Sabres, despite being out-shot by a large margin, continued to play a decent road game. Kyle Okposo gave his team a 2-1 lead about halfway through the second period, deflating the Blackhawks momentum they had just received.

Both Scott Wilson and Evan Rodrigues picked up assists on the goal, their first points of the season. The Wilson-Rodrigues-Okposo is one of many new lines to appear in an attempt by coach Phil Housley to strike balance through the lineup.

Despite the loss, the Sabres have played with a little more spark since the recent roster moves. After placing Matt Moulson on waivers and bringing in Wilson, Rodrigues, and Hudson Fasching, the Sabres have looked like a nominally better team.

The Sabres’ road trip continues into St. Louis on Sunday as they take on the Blues for a 7 p.m. puck drop.

Scoring

Penalties

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NHL Standings

TEAMGPRECPTS
Atlantic Division Leaders:
6247-11-498
6236-17-981
6036-20-476
Metropolitan Division Leaders:
6035-18-777
6234-21-775
6135-23-373
Wild Card leaders:
6133-21-773
6233-23-672
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6232-22-872
6129-24-866
6229-26-765
6027-25-862
6127-26-862
6224-30-856
6223-30-955
6122-34-549
TEAMGPRECPTS
Central Division Leaders:
6137-20-478
6436-23-577
6133-23-571
Pacific Division Leaders:
6138-16-783
6236-18-880
6332-26-569
Wild Card leaders:
6130-26-565
6227-24-1165
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6229-27-664
6128-28-561
6226-27-961
6126-27-860
6124-28-957
6025-29-656
6123-32-652