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Game Recap

Sabres fall late in OT

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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

DIVTEAMGPRECPTS
Atlantic Division Leaders:
A4631-12-365
A4527-10-862
A4826-17-557
Metropolitan Division Leaders:
M4828-15-561
M4524-13-856
M4726-18-355
Wild Card leaders:
M4723-16-854
M4824-19-553
-----------------------------------------
M4925-21-353
M4824-20-452
M4721-18-850
A4519-20-644
A4719-22-644
A4518-20-743
A4415-20-939
A4611-26-931
DIVTEAMGPRECPTS
Central Division Leaders:
C4828-13-763
C4528-11-662
C4928-18-359
Pacific Division Leaders:
P4631-11-466
P4626-14-658
P4725-16-657
Wild Card leaders:
C4827-17-458
C4627-16-357
-----------------------------------------
C4826-17-557
P4725-17-555
P4822-17-953
C4722-19-650
P4721-23-345
P4718-23-642
P4912-28-933