Score: Sabres 5 | Devils 4
Shots: BUF 26 (12-5-9) | NJD 31 (13-5-13)
Buffalo Sabres Goals: Dylan Cozens (28), Tage Thompson (44), Jack Quinn (14), Alex Tuch (31, 32)
New Jersey Devils Goals: Yegor Sharangovich (13), Kevin Bahl (2), Jack Quinn (38, 39)
The Buffalo Sabres ended a four-game losing streak with a nailbiting 5-4 win over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night. Lindy Ruff’s side came to town looking to clinch playoff qualification with a win, but will have to wait a bit longer as the Sabres had other ideas.
Unfortunately, with the Sabres winning they are stuck in a bit of a limbo, where they are not going to make the playoffs but neither are they falling far enough to buy a lottery ticket to the Connor Bedard grand prize.
After conceding seven goals in two straight games, the Sabres started this one with their pants on fire, but it was their top line that found themselves back in the scoring again as Alex Tuch nabbed a pair while Tage Thompson scored his 100th NHL goal, 44 of which have come this season.
Tuch looking stronger and faster after coming back from his injury was a big factor in sealing today’s win. As coach Don Granato said after the game -
“I knew things were good going in when Tuch walked in the building and told me to smile. That, to me, behind that, told me right away he’s finally feeling good about his game.”
The Sabres nearly blew another lead. After going in at the second intermission with a three-goal lead, it was pretty clear that the Metropolitan Division chasing Devils would mount a comeback, but it was Buffalo playing nervously that did more to let them back into this game.
Buffalo ended up a goal shy of the magical six they have been banging in whenever they wear the black goatheads. When they jumped to three goals just ten minutes into the game, it was looking like the half dozen was on, but Ruff’s side stymied them in the third.
Good to see the Sabres reverting to type after a couple of seven-goal blowouts, in that they can still score in bunches but also give them up in clumps as well. Was surprised that they held their nerve in the end, especially against a Ruff squad that certainly looks like it can make some noise in the postseason, but hey, this might mean the players are learning a little bit about handling the pressure that comes with playing meaningful hockey in early spring.
Buffalo are right back in action today, with a 5pm puck drop against the New York Islanders. It wasn’t that long ago that the Sabres came to Long Island with an opportunity to beat the hosts and vault into a wildcard spot, but the paths of the two teams have diverged since then as the Isles are now nine points ahead having played two more games.
The Sabres chances of making it are slim to none right now, but if they can continue to play composed, confident hockey you just never know where we’ll be come April 14th.
We’re going to pretend this game was only two periods long, and Sabresfan70 has my comment of the game with this one.