The past is in the past. Just one season ago, these two teams were fighting for last place. Now they are playing very well due to their young guns. Well, Buffalo has just shown that they are multiple steps ahead of Arizona in building a team.
The Sabres offense is starting to find their groove after last nights dominating 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Evander Kane led the charge with two goals and a +3 rating. One goal was also scored shorthanded.
Kane was easily the best player tonight. The shorthanded goal he scored just shows why he was traded here last Feburary, using his speed and excellent shot to beat the Coyotes defense and goaltender Mike Smith to give Buffalo a 3-1 lead at that point in the game.
Chad Johnson got the start tonight and played very well, making 18 saves on 20 shots. Both Arizona goals were scored by young superstar Max Domi. Not Johnson’s fault as Domi beat the Sabres D after taking a Martin Hanzal pass and going off to the races to beat Johnson glove side back hand, putting Arizona on top 1-0.
The second goal was because Buffalo failed to maintain control of the puck after a defensive zone facelift. Domi was able to do a spin around shot to beat Johnson. That made the score 3-2 Sabres.
Besides that, the defense was very solid. Twenty shots allowed for a game is very good for this defense. And I’ve mentioned before about the potential of this team. Isn’t it showing? They just have to get healthy.
Obviously the offense must’ve been good last night seeing that they scored five goals. Sam Reinahrt scored his 7th goal of the season after a scramble in front of the Coyotes net. He jammed the puck in to tie the game for Buffalo. Ristolainen and Gorges got the assists. Ristolainen continues to put up points and play excellent.
Buffalo’s second goal was scored by Jamie McGinn with the assists by Jack Eichel and Carlo Colaiacovo. This was mainly due to the amount of offensive pressure the Sabres put on Arizona. Carlos pass went off McGinn’s skate, Eichel took the puck and gave McGinn a sweet saucer pass for him to one time and beat Smith on the five hole to make it 2-1.
Oh, and it was those two against three Coyote players. The fourth goal Buffalo scored was by Marcus Foligno. Nic Deslauriers and David Legwand got the assists. Look at that, the fourth line contributed too. Deslauriers gave Foligno a pass behind the Coyotes net and Marcus took a shot while on the goal line which beat Smith as he failed to get to his left side in time. After the empty netter by Kane, Buffalo sealed their win.
Another worthy note is that Buffalo won a coaches challenge tonight too. After the refs failed to see Brian Gionta get high sticked in the face, Arizona defenseman Nicklas Grossman backhanded the puck by Johnson and into the net.
This would’ve made the score 4-3 Sabres, but it was ruled that Martin Hanzals stick hit Johnsons glove as the shot came. So the call was overturned. I originally thought this was the wrong call but after looking at the replay more, I take that back.
Overall Buffalo just dominated the game after what had looked like an even first period. The second and third period was all Sabres. This was a great win against a weaker team. Yes the Coyotes are a weaker team, don’t let their record and place in the standings tell you otherwise.
The Coyotes are going to fall to the basement soon. While they are falling Buffalo will be rising. Maybe not to the top of the standing, but they are heading up and not looking down.