If you would have told Sabres fans they would leave with a point after being down 2-0 early, I’m sure there would have been no fuss about it. After leaving with only a point after the shootout, it was a disappointment.
The Sabres dug themselves a deep hole early on, but managed to steadily climb out of it. That was large in part of the play by Evander Kane and Rasmus Ristolainen, the stars of the night for the Sabres.
This game could be considered Kane’s coming out party. With the Sabres down 2-0 heading into the 1st intermission, he cut the lead in half with a wrist rocket on Petr Mrazek. The score gave the Sabres a tiny boost of confidence going into the break.
Kane’s second of the night tied the game at three apiece, but really showed the effort he’s been putting in. On the power play, Brian Gionta and Jamie McGinn were hacking at the puck in front of the net. Kane ended up with the puck, put it on goal, took the rebound from Mrazek and put it on again to find the back of the net. It was great effort from the whole line to put that one in up a man, but Kane’s aggressiveness could really be seen.
Evander got to show off his speed and skating ability in the overtime period as he flew down the left wing and drew a tripping call for the coveted 4-on-3 overtime power play. He went looking for the hat trick as the biggest opportunity for the Sabres to win it rang off the post behind Mrazek. Buffalo couldn’t capitalize on the man advantage.
Ristolainen played as good a game as we’ve seen from him, and I feel like that can be said a lot lately. He is truly developing into one of the best young blueliners in the game. Linemate Josh Gorges was impressed as well.
“He was outstanding. He continues to grow and continues to get better,” Gorges said. “And he’s not doing anything miraculous, he’s finding the open guy, he’s winning his battles, he’s composed when he has the puck.”
I don’t know if it could be put any better. Risto has been all over the ice, making quality decisions and really improving the play of this team. He finished the night with three assists after they took one away from him on Kane’s second tally. Good things happen when Rasmus has the puck.
Linus Ullmark was not on his A-game, but he was getting peppered all night long. Detroit ended the game with 46 shots, and Ullmark got a pad or blocker on some of the more impressive ones. It was the little chip shots that got by him.
Tomas Tatar’s early opening goal was a soft backhand that Linus couldn’t get across on. Justin Abdelkader’s first goal deflected and popped up high and over Ullmark. He didn’t even see the puck before it was in the back of the net. Drew Miller’s goal was off of a better opportunity but Abdelkader’s second of the night was another one that Ullmark wishes he could have back.
When asked what he thought of his night, Ullmark summed it up in one word: “Bad…If I would have been good tonight I would have taken the fourth shot and we would have a third straight win.”
The impressive stops weren’t enough to outmatch the gimmes on this night. Ullmark received no help in the shootout as Ryan O’Reilly, Matt Moulson and Jack Eichel put up an 0-for on Mrazek. With the talent this team sports, they need to get on the board in shootouts to pick up extra points.
Nevertheless, the Sabres got out of the Joe with a point, and look to continue the point streak Friday against the Arizona Coyotes in Buffalo.