Tag: Buffalo Sabres win

Take note NHL! Buffalo and Colorado climb to the top from the bottom in 19 month

The Buffalo Sabres are at the top of the league. And it is not a joke. Colorado Avalanche went from the worst team in hockey to one of the best in just few months. We take a look at the standings and looking back just to the April of 2017… It is quite unbelievable.

When the regular season 2016/17 ended in the April of 2017, the Avalanche were dead-last in the standings, posting only 48 points, being -112 in the process. The Sabres were not much better, they finished fifth from the bottom with 78 points. In just 19 months circumstances have changed drastically. Buffalo is leading NHL and Colorado has 30 points to sit sixth overall in the standings.

Buffalo has missed every play-off opportunity since 2010, the Avs had miserable year in 2016/17 being 21 points short of 29th place overall. Now Colorado is a play-off team from last season and it seems like they are not stopping anytime soon. The Sabres have won 9 straight games in attempt to battle their franchise records. A team not being a play-off team for eight years is leading the league and it is beyond Thanksgiving.

From bottom-pit to the very top in a flash

It is always so nice to see new teams with fresh young players dominating the game. But these stories are nearly jaw-dropping. You may be very honest with yourself and admit, that whenever your team plays the Sabres or the Avs, you say ´Oh, come on! We have to win, it´s just Buffalo!´.

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But it has been quite opposite so far this season. Sabres are firing on all cylinders, leading the standings, winning NINE games in a row, scoring ton of goals… They are used to play exciting style of games, they scored 76 goals and gave up 66, it is not like Buffalo dominates hockey, but they never give up and always seem to find a way. Like yesterday in Detroit, Sabres won that one in 7th round in the shootout.

Colorado is being led by its´ terrific top line. Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen have combined for 99 points during current campaign. Rantanen is leading the league race in points with 38 points, just three points ahead of… Nathan MacKinnon. Gabriel Landeskog leads the league field in plus-minus with +16, his linemate Rantanen is +14.

mikko-rantanen-nathan-mackinnon-gabriel-landeskog

Everything has been like in one sweet dream for Colorado and Buffalo so far this season. Will it continue? Will they always find a way? How will they respond to tough challenges like injuries or bad luck? One thing is for sure – they are young and here to be self-confident and courageous enough to overcome any kind of trouble.

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Sabres win six straight, two points behind Toronto for the Atlantic lead

The story of the NHL this season, the Buffalo Sabres and their 28 points in 21 games. They have won six straight and head back home for two games vs the Flyers and Canadiens. The Sabres sixth straight win and 13th on the year came off the stick of captain Jack Eichel in overtime. The Sabres fell into a three goal hole early in the second period. They trailed the Penguins 4-1 with nine minutes remaining in the second.

Note: Three goals this game came off the fault of rookie Rasmus Dahlin (1) Derek Brassard beat him to the inside cause he was caught cheating. (3) Bad front net positioning and kicked the puck the Jake Guentzel. (4) Shot from the point from Penguins Jack Johnson again Dahlin could not get good front net positioning, didn’t tie up the forward and Tanner Pearson scored. 

The Sabres quickly answered back with a goal from defenseman Zach Bogosian. Off a Jack Eichel forecheck and Jeff Skinner puck protection/foot work, Bogosian stepped in and let one loose to make it 4-2. 

The Sabres struck late in the second period off a broken play, Sabres defenseman took a shot form the point and what looked like Conor Sheary tipped it, it seemed it hit off the skate of defenseman Jack Johnson infront to make it 4-3. 

Mid way through the third the Sabres tied it off a terrible break out attempt by the Penguins that led to open ice for Casey Mittelstadt and sure goal with the amount of room he had. Mittelstadt tied the game at four. Note: that was the Penguins second break out blunder that lead to a Sabres goal. (1) Penguins forward tried to chip the puck out was kept in to Sam Reinhart to Tage Thompson. (4) Again a bad break out attempt on the wall that lead to a keep in by Dahlin to Kyle Okposo and Mittelstadt goal. 

Eventually the game would go to overtime which only needed about 40 seconds as Evgeni Malkin was entering the zone and tried to delay for time in the neutral zone, coughed the puck up Ristolainen passed to Jack Eichel for the game winner and the Sabres sixth win. 

NHL News: Is it to early to jump the gun on the Buffalo Sabres?

I am ready to throw off a knee-jerk reaction, the Sabres are legit. They are making the playoffs, the wild card or three seed in the Atlantic. Going to lose in the first round, get back to the drawing board. Cup Champions in 2020. Well, that escalated quickly.

Buffalo Sabres team stats

In all reality though the Sabres have looked exceptional this season. They rank FIFTH in the NHL in points right now with 24 points. They sit 18th in the NHL in goals for(55), 18th in goals against(54). Only average 2.89 goals for per game(21st), allow just 2.84 goals against per game. Have the 20th ranked power play(18.5), 9th ranked penalty kill(82.1). As you can tell by the numbers they are a middle of the pack team performing at a crazy rate. In my eyes this is a HUGE step forward for the Sabres. They allow just 2.84 goals against, they used to be one of the worst ranked teams in the league. Last year they allowed 3.39 goals per game and only scored 2.41 goals for.

It is still early in the year but the Sabres newly formed blue line of Rasmus Ristolainen and Jake McCabe, a healthy Zach Bogosian, Marco Scandella and a third line of Rasmus Dahlin and Nathan Beaulieu this blue line is deep and it is because of two reasons. The addition of Dahlin and emergence of McCabe. Not to mention , Carter Huttons 2.48 goals against and the Sabres forward line one of Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner and Sam Reinhart can have some credit to. The Sabres have not seen this much production from a line since maybe coach Phil Housley was on the team. 

Sabres second/third line depth

We can also mention that the Sabres have three forward lines that can score and no line is ever a liability out there. With Casey Mittelstadt, Conor Sheary, James Pominville, Kyle Okposo, Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka. The Sabres do not need to worry about line one doing all the work anymore. When you have 10 players with 6+ points and Jack Eichel is not your only guy with 20+ points on the year it makes it a lot easier to win games. 

The Sabres took two games from the best teams in the league, the Lightning Tuesday night and Winnipeg Friday night. They have Minnesota Friday night and the remaining of their November schedule looks like the Penguins, Red Wings, Flyers, Canadiens, Sharks, Lightning and Panthers. They play four road games in the remainder of November but the Sabres can very well come out of November into December with some confidence and a serious shot at the wildcard/postseason play.

NHL Headlines 10/16

Vegas’ Golden Chips: The Golden Knights were in shambles last night having to put Marc-Andre Fleury and Jonathan Marchessault on the IR, they could call-up Vadim Shipachyov and Alex Tuch from their AHL team. These players, originally supposed to be top 6 forwards to start the season, made an immediate impact. At 14:38 of the 2nd period Tuch potted his first NHL goal, then late in the 2nd Shipachyov scores his first NHL goal. Malcolm Subban, who Vegas was not sure if he was NHL ready, but still claimed him off of waivers anyway made a great impact stopping 21-22 against his former team. These Blue-Chip guys for Vegas are looking solid in their first game.

Buffalo Won one! The Buffalo Sabres finally won their first game of the 2017-18 campaign. A 3-1 victory over the ducks with prime goal scorers Justin Bailey, Johan Larsson, and Benoit Pouliot being the difference makers. The Sabres have not looked awful this season as the record may suggest. Eichel and Kane are off to very strong starts and both goaltenders have look competent, yet Buffalo still had not won until last night. As a team with a bright future and strong core, lookout for Buffalo getting hot soon and go on a little streak. With a strong-minded team, it would not be surprising if they are the streakiest team in the NHL this year.

LA Remains Undefeated (In regulation): Who would have thought the two teams without a regulation loss to begin the year would be Erik Karlsson-less Ottawa Senators and the Los Angeles Kings. With a win on Sunday night against the Islanders, the Kings’ record moves to 4-0-1. Anze Kopitar looking for a bounce-back year already has 4 goals and 8 points in just 5 games. He had another 2+ point game last night with a goal and assist. My hopes are not too high on this team, but they are clicking right now looking to right their ship with new management. Not a bad way to start the new regime.