Recap: Nilsson Shines but Sabres Fall to Canes in Shootout

Tonight wasn’t one of the most entertaining games you’ll see. However, that can be expected with two teams playing on the second night of back-to-backs — the frequency of which the NHL should look long and hard at in their scheduling process. The Sabres have a league-high 19 sets of back to backs this season. We’ll save that topic for another night.

Anders Nilsson was the standout tonight for the Buffalo Sabres. The goaltending continues to be the strong point of the club as we near their 30th game of the season. Nilsson made numerous point-blank saves on the Carolina shooters to give his team the opportunity to remain in the game and have a shot to win. He looked calm again in the cage and continues to be one of the biggest surprises of the season for Buffalo

Evander Kane also stood out tonight. Not only did he contribute on the scoreboard, but he was all over the ice offensively. Outside of Nilsson, Kane was probably the Sabres best player on the night. He was physical and used his speed throughout the night to create chances. The Sabres just need to get that type of play consistently from their 25-year old forward.

First Period

The first period was more of a feel out period by both clubs. The tone was set pretty early in the game. With both teams playing the night before the game set up to be a defensive battle. The majority of the game was played in the neutral zone with very few scoring chances.

The Hurricanes would get on the board first on a good bounce. Joakim Nordstrom would score his third of the season by firing a loose puck by Anders Nilsson.

Second Period

The second period was played at a very slow pace. Both clubs seemed to just be going through the motions and not creating very many scoring chances. Carolina did a good job clogging up the neutral zone and making the Sabres work very hard in the offensive zone. Nilsson made a few good saves to keep the Sabres within one. Beyond that, not much of anything really occurred in the period.

Third Period

The third period was easily the most entertaining period of the game. The energy in the building and on the ice picked up during the final session. Carolina seemed happy to sit back and protect their one goal lead. The Sabres finally started to get their feet going after 40 minutes. They kept putting the pressure on the Hurricanes and it seemed like only a matter of time until they found the equalizer.

With 2:37 remaining, Evander Kane tipped his fifth of the season past Cam Ward to tie the game up late to the delight of a Sabres heavy crowd in Raleigh. Kane spent most of the night on the Sabres fourth line but played well offensively throughout the night. Buffalo had a few opportunities to get the go-ahead goal late as the home team looked to be on the ropes.


Nilsson was the star of the extra session. He made a few point-blank saves to give his team the chance to earn the bonus point. Jack Eichel also had a few dangerous rushes but was unable to capitalize on the opportunities.


Sabres fell short in the shootout again but were able to walk away with a point and three of four points in the weekend back-to-back. This is a game that Buffalo will feel like they let a point get away. Buffalo misses another chance to jump a team ahead of them in the standings.


Scoring Summary


CAR-Joakim Nordstrom (3) assisted by Jay McClement and Brett Pesce




BUF-Evander Kane (5) assisted by Jake McCabe and Marcus Foligno




Lee Stempniak – Score

Sam Reinhart – Stopped

Sebastian Aho – Score

Jack Eichel – Stopped

Carolina wins shootout 2-0

THW Three Stars

First: Cam Ward (23 saves on 24 shots)

Second: Anders Nilsson (21 saves on 22 shots)

Third: Joakim Nordstrom (1 goal)

Next Game

Buffalo Sabres at Florida Panthers

BB&T Center – 7 p.m. EST (Tuesday 12/20)

Broadcast channels – MSG-B

2016-17 Season Series: October 29th- Sabres 3 Panthers 0