It took some time, but the Sabres finally showed some offensive power as they defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 4-2, on Monday afternoon.
The crowd at the First Niagara Center was electric as Ryan O’Reilly notched his first goal as a Sabre. O’Reilly unloaded a shot from the slot on the power play, giving his team a 2-0 lead.
But what was even more impressive was the game-winning goal, which was scored by Jack Eichel halfway through the third period.
Eichel made something happen in on a play, causing a turnover, taking the puck and somehow finding a spot to collect his second goal of the season.
After carrying a 2-0 lead early in the third period, the Sabres didn’t slow down. Although they did allow the Blue Jackets to get a couple, they were aggressive and kept playing the same way they had all game long.
Rasmus Ristolainen opened the scoring early in the second period after letting a shot rip from the point. The goal was scored on the power play and gave the Sabres their first lead of the season. Ristolainen also earned the game’s first start with a goal and an assist.
“I feel really good right now. I had a really good summer. I feel I’m pretty fast out there and ready to make good simple, plays.” – Rasmus Ristolainen
Matt Moulson had the other Sabres goal, but he also collected two assists in the game for a three point night. The Sabres had seven opportunities with the man advantage and they put those to use, scoring three times on the power play.
Coming into the game, Buffalo had a perfect penalty kill, but both of the Blue Jackets’ goals were on the power play.
The Sabres had a pair of power plays early in the opening period, but couldn’t get much going. Ryan O’Reilly came within inches of putting one by Bobrovsky, but there wasn’t much threat with the man advantage.
Buffalo came out flying in the second period and at one point were outshooting Columbus 13-4.
“We’ve been working on the power play, did well there, competed, Jonny was unbelievable in net. Overall, that’s a big team win and that’s how we’re going to have to do it.” – Jack Eichel
The Sabres wrap up their three game homestand to start the season, going 1-2. They will head to Florida to take on the Panthers Thursday, followed by the Lightning on Saturday.