Buffalo (28-11-4) vs. Colorado (24-15-6)
The Sabres enter the night with a perfect 7-0 record against the Western Conference. Buffalo is looking to extend their current win streak of six games while Tim Connolly hopes to extend his eight game point streak.
Patrick Lalime starts between the pipes for Buffalo, allowing Ryan Miller to rest after making 48 saves last night. Buffalo has scored 22 goals during the current win streak, averaging almost four per game. Colorado has scored eight goals in their last four games. This is Buffalo’s final game before heading out on the road for a seven game road trip.
Colorado took a 1-0 as Matt Duchene scored his 12th of the season. Shortly later, Duchene would score again, and Buffalo found themselves down by two late in the third. During the Sabres win streak, they have come from behind more than once, including overcoming three goal deficits in back to back games.
Buffalo was outshot 11-7 in the first period. The Sabres had a power play for almost four minutes, but were unable to take advantage of the opportunity.
Drew Stafford broke the shutout with a power play goal late in the second. Paul Gaustad and Tim Kennedy received assists on the play. Colorado responded quickly with a goal from Brandon Yip, regaining the two goal lead for the Avalanche.
After two periods, the Sabres win streak was in jeopardy, and Buffalo needed a comeback in the third period. The Sabres were outshot 14-12 in the second period. In the last five games when the Sabres trail after two periods, they are 4-1. They needed another comeback to improve that record.
Thomas Vanek had the crowd back in the game with his 12th goal of the season. Buffalo was within one midway through the third period and the comeback was halfway there.
The HSBC Arena was on it’s feet when Jochen Hecht tied the game with a turnaround shot that Craig Anderson never saw. With just over four minutes to go, the Sabres completed the comeback, but still had plenty of work to do. The crowd was roaring and the Sabres wanted this win…badly.
Tim Connolly assisted on the Hecht goal, extending his point streak to nine games. The Sabres outshot Colorado 15-4 in the third period.
Both teams had a few quality chances to score in the overtime, but Buffalo put on more pressure. Neither team was able to score, sending the game to a shootout, which lasted 11 rounds. Both teams had three goals in the shootout, until Matt Hendricks won it for the Avalanche, ending Buffalo’s win streak at six games.
With the overtime loss and a New Jersey win, the Sabres trail the Devils by two points in the Eastern Conference. Buffalo does not play until Thursday, when they will begin a seven game road trip.