Recap: Sabres and Lehner Blank Senators

Heading into tonight, this was a very important game for the Sabres. They’ve struggled against their own division and the Eastern Conference throughout the season. After losing three straight they needed to get back to the winning side of things as they were at risk of falling out of the race.

Big games like tonight were the types of games the Sabres have struggled to win throughout the season. From start to finish, they were in control tonight in all phases of the game. The scoring showed up and Robin Lehner had one of his best games of the year in shutting down the Senators’ offense.

First Period

The Sabres came out on fire to start the first period. They were all over the Senators throughout the first 20 minutes. Kyle Okposo got the Sabres on the board early in the game with his 16th of the season on a nice backhand goal.

Buffalo ended the period with a 10-8 advantage in shots on goal. The Sabres had no power play opportunities while the Senators didn’t convert on their one chance with the man-advantage. The most impressive play of the period, however, may have been Brian Gionta head-butting a puck into the offensive zone.

Second Period

The Senators controlled the play to begin the second period. They peppered shots at Robin Lehner in the first half of the second stanza, building a 10-1 lead in shots. The Buffalo defense and Lehner weathered the storm through the first 10 minutes. Then after a good scrap between Marcus Foligno and Mark Borowiecki, the Sabres started to take back control of the game.

Ryan O’Reilly increased the lead for the home team with a nice deflection over the shoulder of Mike Condon for his 10 of the season. After being outshot 10-1 to start the period, the Sabres outshot the Senators 6-3 in the second half of the period. The second ended on a nice sequence with Eichel almost scoring on a nice move at one end and then Lehner flashing the leather on Matt Hoffman, who was in alone on the Sabres’ goaltender.

Third Period

The Sabres finished off a solid game by adding two more goals in the final 20 minutes. Sam Reinhart increased the lead to 3-0 with a slick goal early in the period for his 11th of the season. Eichel made a nice setup play to find Reinhart, who put his own rebound past Condon.

Later in the period, Marcus Foligno scored his ninth of the season with another pass from Eichel for his second helper of the season. The Foligno goal would chase Condon from the net and Andrew Hammond would come in for the final nine minutes of the game. The Sabres would lock it down in the second half of the period to secure a 4-0 victory and Lehner’s first shutout of the season.

This win was a good start for the Sabres in making a final push towards the playoffs. They were in control for the majority of the game and played a full 60 minutes for one of the few times this season. Buffalo is right back at it Monday night when they visit the New Jersey Devils in another important Eastern Conference matchup.


Scoring Summary


BUF – Kyle Okposo (16) assisted by Justin Falk and Josh Gorges


BUF – Ryan O’Reilly (10) assisted by Rasmus Ristolainen and Tyler Ennis


BUF – Sam Reinhart (11) assisted by Jack Eichel

BUF – Marcus Foligno (9) assisted by Jack Eichel

 THW Three Stars

First: Robin Lehner (37 saves, shutout)

Second: Jack Eichel (2 assists)

Third: Sam Reinhart (1 goal)

Next Up

Buffalo Sabres at New Jersey Devils

Prudential Center – 7:00 p.m. EST (Monday, Feb. 6)

Broadcast channels: MSG-B

2016-17 Season Series: Nov. 11 – Devils 2, Sabres 1 (OT) | Nov. 12 – Devils 4, Sabres 2

Next Up

St. Louis Blues at Ottawa Senators

Canadian Tire Centre – 7:30 p.m. EST (Tuesday, Feb. 7)

Broadcast channel: FSMW, RDS2 and TSN5

2016-17 Season Series: Jan. 17 – Senators 6, Blues 4