Recap: Sabres Scoring Comes Alive in Win over Kings

The Buffalo Sabres need to get on a good run here to get themselves back into the playoff race. Their schedule to end the month is better soft and gives them the opportunity to climb the standings heading into 2017.

Things looked bleak to start the game as the Kings jumped out to an early two-goal lead. Buffalo showed something we haven’t seen much from them this season — push back. We’ve seen them go away after getting down two goals or falling short by a goal or two in a comeback effort. This night was a different story. A game like this goes a long way in establishing confidence throughout the team.

First Period

Both teams had their opportunities in the first period, as they put a combined total of 23 shots on goal. The Kings got on the board early as Anze Kopitar skated around Ryan O’Reilly with ease to score his third of the season. O’Reilly has to be better defensively for the Sabres. His failure to tie up Jakub Vrana in front resulted in the Capitals second goal in their last game.

Buffalo got into a habit of letting the Kings control the play for pockets of the first. The Kings are a very good possession team and the Sabres seemed happy to just chip the puck back to them. One of my keys entering the game was to not allow the Kings to get ahead early.

Second Period

The second period was setting up to signal another long night for the Sabres. Jeff Carter walked in alone on Lehner and beat him highglove to put the Kings up 2-0. It looked like a game we’ve seen so many times this season.

However, that wouldn’t be the case on this night.

O’Reilly got the Sabres on the board with a nice backhand shot under the bar. A few minutes later, Eichel would throw a puck to the net from the blue line that got by Budaj; an awful goal by the Kings goaltender. Only 12 seconds later Brian Gionta would tip one past Budaj that would get him the hook.

Jeff Zatkoff didn’t fair much better as the Kings defense continued to implode as they allowed Eichel to come down the slot and rifle his second of the game by Zatkoff to make it 4-2. In just over six minutes they turned a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 lead.

Third Period

The Sabres didn’t sit back and wait for the Kings to come to them in the third period holding a two-goal lead. Jeff Carter did get the Kings within one early in the period scoring his 14th of the season and second of the game. It was a nice shot high-glove off of the faceoff, but certainly, a goal that Lehner would have liked to have back.

Instead of panicking after the Kings goal the Sabres maintained their composure, another trait we haven’t seen very much this season. Buffalo continued to pressure the Kings offensively and just missed on a few chances to increase their lead to two goals again.

Late in the period, after getting a few shifts on the fourth line, Evander Kane gets back with Eichel and puts the game away for the Sabres. Eichel finds Kane in front and he makes no mistake putting it by Budaj, who returned to the net for the third period. Sam Reinhart would add an empty netter in the final minutes for a little icing on the cake.

The Sabres get a much-needed two points as they look to put together wins to end the month of December. The 15th place New York Islanders visit Buffalo on Friday night as they look to continue their efforts to climb up the standings and back into the playoff race.


Scoring Summary


LAK-Anze Kopitar (3) assisted by Trevor Lewis and Jake Muzzin


LAK-Jeff Carter (13) assisted by Tyler Toffoli and Derek Forbort

BUF-Ryan O’Reilly (7) assisted by Rasmus Ristolainen

BUF-Jack Eichel (4) assisted by Kyle Okposo and Matt Moulson

BUF-Brian Gionta (7) assisted by Justin Falk and Johan Larsson

BUF-Jack Eichel (5) assisted by Kyle Okposo and Matt Moulson


LAK-Jeff Carter (14) unassisted

BUF-Evander Kane (4) assisted by Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo

BUF-Sam Reinhart (6) assisted by Rasmus Ristolainen

THW Three Stars

First: Jack Eichel (2 goals, GWG, and 1 assist)

Second: Kyle Okposo (3 assists)

Third: Jeff Carter (2 goals)

Next Game

 New York Islanders at Buffalo Sabres

KeyBank Center – 7 p.m. EST (Friday 12/16)

Broadcast channels – MSG-B

2016-17 Season Series: First matchup