For one minute and 20 seconds, the Sabres had a lead in this game. Thanks to Brian Gionta with a baseball swing that connected and knocked the puck in, Buffalo took a 1-0 lead.
Scoring the first goal on the road is often a key for many teams, but it didn’t matter on Monday night. The Canucks scored the next four goals to take control of the game. The shots were knotted at 21 apiece after 40 minutes of play, so it wasn’t that Vancouver were dominating the play. They were just capitalizing on their opportunities.
Radim Vrbata did the most damage, though, as he recorded a hat trick to lead the Canucks to victory. All three of Vrbata’s goals came at even strength.
Linus Ullmark received the start in goal and made some big saves, but there were a few he just had no chance on. Watching Vancouver work on the power play was scary. They can move the puck quickly and really create some solid scoring chances. With Henrik and Daniel Sedin out there, that’s a dangerous power play unit.
They trailed by three to start the third period, but Buffalo still came out hungry. They created chances instead of letting up and giving Vancouver an easy win. They were rewarded when Sam Reinhart blasted a shot past Ryan Miller early in the period.
The Sabres actually outshot Vancouver, 34-31, on the night.
It didn’t matter as it was too big of a deficit to overcome. Miller made a couple of nice stops, including one on a Matt Moulson breakaway.
This game was another reminder that it’s going to take some time before Buffalo can be considered a good team. They’ve shown flashes and definitely have the potential to be a playoff contender, but it’s going to take patience.
The Sabres are still without Tyler Ennis, who is considered week-to-week.
After scoring 17 goals in four games, the Sabres slowed down quickly as they headed west. It doesn’t matter who is in goal when the offense scores just three times against Edmonton and Vancouver. The Sabres are scheduled to take on Calgary on Thursday at 9 p.m.
With a few days off in between games, it’ll be an interesting call as to who gets the start in net on Thursday. Johnson may get the next start between the pipes.