The Winnipeg Jets once again failed to pick up their third straight win, as the Buffalo Sabres defeated them with a comeback victory. The loss could be even more painful for the Jets, as Patrik Laine was knocked out with a big hit. No update was available immediately after the game, but he was able to walk to the team bus under his own power.
The Jets controlled the first and the second period, firing 30 shots on net and controlling most of the play. But once again, they got into penalty trouble. While the Sabres never scored a power play goal, the momentum that they gained from them helped them recover from a two-goal deficit in the third period.
Ryan O’Reilly played an outstanding game, making a difference every time he touched the ice. He finished with a goal and an assist. Lehner also turned in a solid performance, stopping 32 of 35.
The Jets came out ready to play, dominating the first five minutes. Scheifele picked up the puck in his end and took a huge hit, but got it ahead to Laine. Laine came down the wing, went for the shot, and then fooled everyone by firing it across the ice to Ehlers to put it into the wide-open net.
— NHL (@NHL) January 7, 2017
The momentum continued for the Jets as the Sabres took the game’s first penalty. Scheifele took another huge hit, but this time wasn’t able to set up a goal. The Jets continued to keep the pressure on the Sabres as Little skated by Evander Kane and had a chance on the breakaway.
With just thirty seconds left in the period, the Sabres dumped it in. Trouba overskated it and gave the puck away to Reinhart, who threw it across to O’Reilly, who outwaited Hellebuyck and put it between his legs.
Just like the first period, the Jets came out firing in the second. On an early power play, Wheeler passed it down low to Stafford, who drove to the front of the net. After three attempts, he put the puck past Lehner and in for his third of the season against his old team.
All four lines for the Jets were clicking, as a Sabres turnover sent Armia in. His pass to Lowry missed, but Lowry gathered the puck off the boards and fired it towards the net. A rebound ended up on Armia’s stick, who scored against his old team. This might be a theme?
Shortly after the goal, Dan Bylsma let his team know that he was not impressed with their effort. They responded with a solid shift and were denied a goal by the sprawling effort of Hellebuyck. That resulted in a penalty against the Jets, and the Sabres went on the power play. Both teams traded chances on the Buffalo power play, but the Jets killed most of it off, before taking a second penalty with less than ten seconds left in the first one.
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) January 7, 2017
Just like the first power play, the teams traded chances while Winnipeg was down by a man. Buffalo continued to push once the power play ended, looking to get the game within one goal before they headed into intermission. The pressure made the Jets take a third straight penalty with under two minutes left in the second period. The period ended with the Jets up 3-1, just twenty minutes away from a chance to win their third in a row for the first time this season.
The Jets started the third period on the power play but they killed it off. The Sabres continued to push, then off a bad change by the Jets, Foligno burst on a breakaway, moved Hellebuyck just enough to sneak the puck past the line.
The next faceoff led to another really quick chance as the Sabres came straight back. A lot of pressure in the Jets zone led to another Sabres goal 23 seconds later.
As Laine took the puck in the neutral zone, he was leveled by McCabe, who was immediately attacked by Scheifele. Laine came off the ice on his own power, but it did not look good. Laine was able to walk to the bus after the game. No update from the team on his status for future games. Scheifele took the only penalty during the altercation and sent Buffalo to their fourth power play with all the momentum.
Patrik Laine just got destroyed by Jake McCabe pic.twitter.com/Lcy5ITO2Em
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) January 7, 2017
The game very quickly started to turn ugly, with Lowry taking a run at both Eichel and Reinhart on the same shift. Buffalo takes advantage and turns that anger into another goal, as Gionta out waits everyone in the building and puts it into the net.
The Jets finally started to turn the momentum back in their favor with a solid shift from the Lowry line. McCabe came back onto the ice with a couple of minutes left, with a very noticeable cut under his eye.
With one minute left, Hellebuyk left the net as a last ditch effort for the tying goal. The Jets can’t tie it up and the game ends with a massive line brawl which includes the Buffalo goalie. Sabres walk away with a win.
Crazy finish to Sabres/ Jets. Lehner shoves Little, Byfuglien throwing punches over the net pic.twitter.com/V38RsSTmew
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) January 7, 2017
WPG – Nikolaj Ehlers (14) assisted by Patrik Laine (16) and Mark Scheifele (20)
BUF – Ryan O’Reilly (8) assisted by Sam Reinhart (16)
WPG – Drew Stafford (3) (PPG) assisted by Blake Wheeler and Mathieu Perreault (7)
WPG – Joel Armia (2) assisted by Adam Lowry (6) and Josh Morrissey (6)
BUF – Marcus Foligno (7) assisted by Cody Franson (8)
BUF – Zemgus Girgenson (5) assisted by Matt Moulson (9)
BUF – Brian Gionta (8) assisted by Ryan O’Reilly (14)
THW Three Stars
First: Ryan O’Reilly (1 goal, 1 assist)
Second: Robin Lehner (32 saves)
Third: Drew Stafford (1 goal)
Calgary Flames vs Winnipeg Jets
MTS Centre – 7:00 p.m. CST on Monday, January 9
Broadcast Channels: TSN3
2016-17 Season Series: Dec 10 – Calgary (6) – Winnipeg (2)
Philadelphia Flyers vs Buffalo Sabres
KeyBank Center – 7:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 10
Broadcast Channels: MSG-G
2016-17 Season Series: Oct 25 – Philadelphia (4) – Sabres (3) (SO)