Hutton, Sabres hang on for MSG win


A five-game homestand came to an end on Thursday night with a shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings, giving the Sabres just three points out of a possible 10. That shut down pretty much any chance of competing for a playoff spot.

But then, on Friday night, the Sabres went into Madison Square Garden and nearly shutout the New York Rangers by a 3-2 score. Well, they shut them out for 56 minutes and then almost watched their 3-goal lead evaporate.

It wasn’t until just under three minutes to play when Mika Zibanejad got the Rangers on the board. Then, things got a little interesting when Rasmus Ristolainen took a hooking penalty with two minutes to go.

New York pulled Alexandar Georgiev and made it a 6-on-4, and Chris Kreider brought his team within one goal with just over a minute and a half remaining.

It’s 2 points and there are some positive things to take away, but allowing the Rangers to get back in the game like that shouldn’t happen.

15:43Nicklas Backstrom (1)Alex Ovechkin (1)T.J. Oshie (1)
18:48PPGTaylor Hall (1)Victor Olofsson (1)Jack Eichel (1)
110:33PPGT.J. Oshie (1)Alex Ovechkin (2)John Carlson (1)
27:05John Carlson (1)T.J. Oshie (2)Nicklas Backstrom (1)
213:23Brenden Dillon (1)Conor Sheary (1)Lars Eller (1)
218:46Tobias Rieder (1)Dylan Cozens (1)Jake McCabe (1)
30:20Jake McCabe (1)Jack Eichel (2)Tage Thompson (1)
30:46Jakub Vrana (1)------
318:06Victor Olofsson (1)Taylor Hall (1)Sam Reinhart (1)
318:57ENGarnet Hathaway (1)Nick Jensen (1)---

Jack Eichel continued his strong play with a pair of assists in this one, and Jimmy Vesey also had two points, including the game-winning goal.

“We’ve had a tough couple games, we wanted to get back to it…it’s a big win for us. I thought everyone battled hard, we moved our feet…I think overall I liked the compete tonight.” – Vesey

Eichel made a beautiful pass to set up Vesey for a breakaway goal:

This was a great bounce-back win after a brutal loss to Detroit. Despite where they are in the standings, it shows that Ralph Krueger is continuously trying to motivate his players and it’s a good sign.

Going out there and competing when you’ve had such a disappointing season isn’t easy, but this is their job so it was nice to see them put together a solid effort.

Based on some advanced analytics, a few players did not have great nights in Buffalo’s win:

Michael Frolik hasn’t done much since being acquired for Marco Scandella. I thought they would get a little more out of him, but maybe he picks it up.

The Sabres are headed back to KeyBank Center for a four-game homestand. They’ll take on the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday afternoon. They’ll follow that up with games against the Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Toronto Maple Leafs for the rest of the week.

Go Sabres!

Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.
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