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Game Recap

Jets edge Sabres in Winnipeg

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Recap

In their third straight loss, the Buffalo Sabres fell to the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 4-3 Friday night at the Bell MTS Place. The score alludes to a much closer game than it actually was.

One would assume after such a devastating 6-2 loss to the Wild the night prior, the Sabres would come out strong and play some inspired hockey. However, too many things went wrong too quickly and the Jets won with some assertiveness.

A lack of execution on special teams and a poor performance by Chad Johnson doomed the Sabres from the outset. The Sabres went 0-for-5 on the power-play, while the Jets went 2-for-4.

Scott Wilson, however, made things interesting with under eight minutes left in the third period, scoring his first goal of the season bringing the Sabres to within one. The Sabres, though, failed to finish off a comeback in what was a night of ‘firsts’ in many respects.

Dustin Byfuglien erased a surprisingly goalless drought, notching his first goal of the season on the power-play. It was a patented “Big Buff” shot from the point, which found its way through traffic past Chad Johnson.

The Sabres didn’t waste time in responding, however, as another defenseman potted his first of the year as well. Marco Scandella finally got the monkey off his back, as he too ripped a slap shot from the point, beating Jet’s goalie Connor Hellebuyck.

Jason Pominville, when asked during the offseason what Scandella would bring to this Sabres team, told reporters he could “shoot the puck 100 miles per hour.” It took 41 games for that shot to manifest into a goal.

The first period would not come to a close without another defenseman getting in on the scoring. Jets’ defenseman Jacob Trouba also scored on a shot from the point, his third of the season. This time, the only traffic in Johnson’s way was his teammate and Buffalo goal-scorer, Scandella.

Marty Biron mentioned during the intermission report how Scandella should have tried to avoid screening his goaltender. Upon further review, however, it appears Johnson could have done a better job tracking the puck. It was a save he needed to make.

Jets’ captain Blake Wheeler scored early in the second period to put some distance between the teams, making it 3-1 on the power-play. Wheeler could be credited with an accurate snipe on the goal, but Johnson again lets a stoppable puck by him. His poor tracking of the puck and him being overcommitted to one side of the net burned him.

Though most of this season has been unwatchable hockey, the Sabres usually do their part in making games seem within reach. Johan Larsson did just that with a 1:57 left in the second period, cutting into the Jet’s lead making it 3-2.

Larsson, who hadn’t scored in 34 games, tallied his second of the season. His first goal of the season came on an empty net, mind you.

The Sabres entered the third period only down one goal against one of the better teams in the Western Conference. A solid third period could have helped them grab some much-need points. Only 25 seconds into the period, that notion fell by the wayside.

Bryan Little scored his eighth goal of the season on yet another play where Johnson found himself wildly out of position, and unable to make a save. That would be all the Jets needed to seal the deal against the basement-dwelling Sabres.

Buffalo’s road trip continues to Philadelphia as they play the Flyers Sunday at 1 p.m. They will continue to look for their first win of 2018.

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