The Sabres do what they have to to steal two points from Tampa Bay

November 13, 2018 - 11:03 pm
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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Tuesday was certainly a test to see how the Sabres could do against the Eastern Conference’s best team. Tampa Bay came in with the highest scoring offense in the NHL, but the Sabres did a really nice job of limiting the Lightning in the first 20 minutes.

Carter Hutton was tested on a one-timer from Steven Stamkos and Rasmus Dahlin helped him getting his stick on an open try from Ryan McDonagh.

Buffalo didn’t get much in the first half of the period, but turned it on against Louis Domingue in the last 10 minutes.

Marco Scandella sent Sam Reinhart away on a 2-on-1, but Domingue stopped him. Domingue got an arm on Jeff Skinner’s chance, but just a few minutes later, Skinner won the battle scoring his fourth goal in three games.

In the second period, Kyle Okposo put a great move on Victor Hedman and it was 2-0 Sabres. That lasted for just 15 seconds when Rasmus Dahlin and Nate Beaulieu just froze allowing Anthony Cirelli to get between them the break Hutton’s shutout.

That goal came at 5:58 and from that point on, The Lightning ran the Sabres over. The shots were 14-2 in the second and Hutton made huge saves on Braydon Coburn and again on Alex Killorn stopping a 2-on-1.

Stamkos steamrolled around Evan Rodrigues and Hutton again came up big.

It appeared the Sabres started respecting Tampa Bay too much and stopping moving their feet. Tampa Bay won every battle and the Sabres needed five or six attempts just to get the puck out.

The third period was closer when it came to shots, but it still seemed like Tampa Bay was carrying the play. The shots were 8-6 for the Lightning, but Hutton absolutely stood on his head. He made a huge save on Mathieu Joseph coming down the slot and in the final minutes, there were players all around him, but he fought through them to get into position.

It also helped that Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov hit the outside of the post as time expired. About a minute before that, a puck hits the crossbar too.

Okposo said there’s no question that Hutton stole them two points in the game. He said, "I think we were on our heels too much. We gave them too much room to operate, I think we need to clean up some stuff, good teams find a way to win so we can take some solace in that."

The team blocked 17 shots for Hutton while at the other end, they only had eight shots in the final two periods.

Things are so much different in Sabreland right now. Buffalo has won three straight games and didn’t play close to their best in any of the three. When was the last time a fan could say that?

Now, if we’re being honest, that can’t last forever and it will eventually catch up to them if it continues, but this team is together and it’s finding ways to win. This team has two three-game winning streaks and has taken four out of five games.

The one game they lost is they game they should’ve won when Henrik Lundqvist stole one for the Rangers in Madison Square Garden.

It won’t get any easier as Buffalo travels to Winnipeg on Friday.

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