Vancouver’s Loui Eriksson scored the only goal of the third period and goalie Thatcher Demko had a strong game as Vancouver sent the Sabres back to Buffalo with a 4-3 loss.
Buffalo carried the play for much of the first period, outshooting the Canucks, 11-6. It looked like a promising start when Evan Rodrigues picked up his fifth goal of the season and his third in as many games.
A hard shot from Vladimir Sobotka at the point deflected off of Rasmus Ristolainen’s skate, right to Rodrigues, who shuffled the puck past Demko. Unfortunately, the lead was short-lived as Vancouver answered back with goals from Alexander Edler and Sven Baertschi, ending the first period with the Canucks leading, 2-1.
The second period was similar to the first, but it was the Sabres turn to score a pair of goals. At the 2:26 mark of the period, Kyle Okposo scored his eighth of the season. Hard work in the corners from Girgensons and Johan Larsson caused the puck to be freed up in the corner. Larsson grabbed the puck and found Okposo alone in front of the net for a nice backhander.
“We did a good job getting it deep and grinding and those two guys are really great at that and they made that goal happen. I was just on the scoring end of it”- Okposo.
In this back and forth contest, once again the lead didn’t last. The Canucks’ Brock Boeser notched his 16th of the season when Lawrence Pilut sent an errand pass up the middle. Boeser picked it up and beat Ullmark with a nice wrist shot to give the Canucks a 3-2 lead. Buffalo kept coming at their opponent and at the 12:52 mark Sam Reinhart took a pass from Connor Sheary, spun around and backhanded a shot past Demko. The second period ended with the teams tied at three.
The game was there for the taking for Buffalo, but the only scoring in the third came from Vancouver’s Loui Ericksson. The Sabres had some great chances to tie the game up, but Demko and his 39 saves sealed the deal for Vancouver.
Next up for the Sabres is their bye week and All-Star game break. Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner will represent the team when they travel to the SAP Center in San Jose, CA. The next regular season game for the Sabres will be on January 29 when they travel to Columbus and take on the Blue Jackets.