Reinhart comes up big for Buffalo

Strong special teams and the lone shootout goal by Sam Reinhart lifted the Buffalo Sabres over the Minnesota Wild, 5-4, to sweep the season series on Tuesday night at KeyBank Center.

Buffalo started hot with an early first-period goal and then battled Minnesota in a back-and-forth game, giving up their one-goal lead with less than two minutes left in the third period. 

Reinhart took a shot that trickled by Devan Dubnyk and rolled over the goal line.

Linus Ullmark made the final save on Zach Parise to seal the victory.

This win brings Buffalo to 1-1 in their seven-game homestand and was a great confidence booster, as Buffalo shuffled lines to shake things up and push hard for the playoffs.

The Wild dropped their third straight game and second in a row in overtime. 

“It’s a game we found a way to win. I really liked our first period and the way we came out. Our special teams were really solid.” – Phil Housley

The line shuffling paid off early with a power play goal by Evan Rodrigues. The power play has been poor lately, just 1-3 last game, and 1-19 in the last 20. This is the first time in over a month Buffalo has had a power play goal in back-to-back games. Buffalo was perfect on the power play and on the penalty kill with Rasmus Dahlin adding a second-period power play goal and killing all three penalties.

C.J. Smith is continuing to show he fits on this Sabres roster, finding his second goal in just as many games on a great feed from Reinhart. A chippy third period saw Reinhart find a goal of his own on a great cross-ice feed from Jake McCabe after he kept it in the zone at the blue line. 

Minnesota found success in tight with zone possession time and hard work around the crease. Jared Spurgeon netted his ninth and 10th goals of the season on tip-in and wraparound goals to keep things tight in the second period. Charlie Coyle buried a rebound late after a tipped shot from the point that made it through Ullmark. Parise then banked his off Ullmark’s foot while Minnesota had Dubnyk pulled to send the game to overtime.

Dubnyk stopped 35 of 39 shots, allowing the Wild to stay in the game and make it to a shootout. Ullmark stopped 41 of 45 shots for Buffalo, including multiple open shots from in tight and a breakaway in overtime to keep Buffalo going.

Ullmark improves to 3-0-0 in his career against Minnesota and secures his 11th win of the season.

Wild captain, Mikko Koivu, collided with Tage Thompson in the 1st period and did not return to the game. Linus Ullmark left the ice quickly at the end of the game after a collision with Zach Parise while stopping his shootout attempt, but said he felt great in the locker room following the game.

Buffalo will continue their homestand Thursday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, who are tied with Buffalo at 58 points in the Wild Card hunt. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY.

Cory Hubbard
Cory Hubbard
I am a lifelong Buffalo hockey fan living in Boston, MA, where I moved after graduation from the Rochester Institute of Technology. I have played hockey my whole life and love bringing my passion for Buffalo hockey together with my knowledge and love of the game.
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