Sabres rally, but drop game in OT


It was an ugly affair in Las Vegas, where the bookends were only pretty enough for the Buffalo Sabres to earn a point in a 5-4 overtime loss.

If the Buffalo Sabres gained any momentum from their first win on the season just two nights ago, it wouldn’t hold up for the entirety of the game. After a strong start in their inaugural meeting with the Vegas Golden Knights, the Sabres’ energy visibly waned down the stretch, before inexplicably coming back to life in the dying minutes of regulation.

What appeared to be a rout in the making miraculously threatened to be a thrilling comeback by the Sabres, who scored goals in under two minutes to close out the third period to tie the contest at four apiece. Sam Reinhart earned Buffalo’s third power play goal on the night, while Evander Kane slapped home the equalizer for his 10th point in seven games played this season.


Buffalo’s comeback stalled out in the overtime period, however, as David Perron’s second on the night managed to beat Chad Johnson to give Las Vegas their fifth victory in their inaugural NHL campaign.

“The process was a little broken today. We fought to the end, which is good, but I didn’t feel we deserved to win the game.” – Phil Housley

Johnson played a stronger game than his numbers would suggest, particularly when he stood tall for so much of the time that the Sabres played a man down. Buffalo’s special teams, as a whole, were the reason behind their gaining a point; their penalty kill went four for five on the night, and their power play gave them three of their four goals.

“It was a tough game,” said netminder Chad Johnson. “They came hard at us they put a lot of pressure on us. It was a difficult game.”

A cornerstone of the lineup which had struggled thus far on the season was up to the task to finally spur Buffalo’s offense. While on the power play early in the opening period, Ryan O’Reilly notched his first goal on the year, and the Sabres’ first power play tally since 5:02 of the opening period against the New Jersey Devils – all the way back on October 9th. He added his second on the night at the midway point of the third period with another goal on the power play.

Where Buffalo’s effort began to fade toward the end of the first period, it outright collapsed in the second period. The Sabres spent nearly half the middle frame on the penalty kill, as they marched to the penalty box on four different occasions. Vegas was happy to capitalize, outshooting the Sabres 12-7 in the period and putting up a pair of goals from Alex Tuch and Reilly Smith.

The Golden Knights continued to build their lead early in the third period with David Perron’s first on the year. An earlier Las Vegas goal came in the opening period, where the Buffalo Sabres once again fell victim to a two-on-one rush that netminder Chad Johnson was given little support from his defense for.

A different kind of loss with farther-reaching effects came in the first period when Zemgus Girgensons went down while blocking a shot on the penalty kill. He didn’t return after heading to the locker room, and Housley described his injury as “day to day” in the aftermath.

Buffalo will now have a few days off before they return home for a busy weekend. They’ll welcome the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night inside KeyBank Center before heading off on the road again to visit the Boston Bruins Saturday night.



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