Sabres double up Golden Knights, 4-2

January 14, 2020 - 7:03 pm
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The Buffalo Sabres took care of a tough Western Conference opponent on Tuesday night, as they defended home ice against the Vegas Golden Knights and emerged victorious by a final score of 4-2.

Neither team was unable to find the back of the net in the first period of play, though the Sabres dominated the majority of the frame as was evident by their 13-4 shot advantage.

Rasmus Dahlin created a couple of good scoring chances for himself and his teammates; so too did Michael Frolik and Colin Miller.

The duo skated down on a developing 2-on-1 while the teams skated 4-on-4. Frolik fed Miller across the crease in front of Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, but Miller tapped the puck wide of the veteran netminder.

The Golden Knights opened the scoring with 1:55 gone in the middle stanza, as a puck ever-so softly slid over goal line past Linus Ullmark.

Vegas forward Chandler Stephenson attempted to feed a cross-crease pass to forward Tomas Nosek, but the pass attempt was broken up. Despite the play being snuffed, the puck still found a way to hit Nosek's skate and deflected into the net to give the visitors the 1-0 advantage.

The Sabres would find the equalizer just minutes later. With 6:32 gone in the period and Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty in the penalty box for interference, Buffalo's second powerplay unit went to work.

Vegas attempted to clear their zone, but Conor Sheary dialed up the forecheck and applied pressure to his defender. The puck was kept in the offensive end long enough for Kyle Okposo to accept a pass from Sam Reinhart soon after, and Okposo scored his first powerplay goal of the season with a dart high past Fleury's glove.

It looked like the 1-1 tie would hold through 40 minutes of play, but the Golden Knights took what turned out to be a costly too many men on the ice bench minor within the final minute of the second period. The Sabres were given about 45-seconds of powerplay time before the rest would roll over into the third, but the team struck before the buzzer thanks to Sam Reinhart.

With just about 19-seconds left on the docket, Reinhart ripped a wrist shot past Fleury to help give Buffalo their first lead of the night. On the play, Jack Eichel registered a secondary assist, meaning his current point streak extended to an eighth game in the process.

Vegas had a quick response to Buffalo's go-ahead goal, as for the second straight period the visitors scored a goal within the first two minutes of action.

Sabres defenseman Colin Miller took a double-minor for tripping and unsportsmanlike conduct against his former team at just the 1:36 mark of the frame, and the Golden Knights made Miller and the Sabres pay. Just seven-seconds into the man advantage, forward Reilly Smith potted his 19th goal of the season to even the game at two goals apiece.

Buffalo would hunker down, though, and kill off the rest of Miller's second penalty to keep the game tied.

The back and forth affair continued when Eichel gave the Sabres the lead once again, thanks to a dazzling move on defenseman Shea Theodore.

With 7:57 gone in the third period, the Sabres intercepted an errant pass from Vegas in the Buffalo end. The puck made it way to Eichel, who turned on the burners as a two-on-one developed with Zemgus Girgensons against Theodore. As Eichel closed in on the net, he slipped the puck under Theodore's stick and back to himself on the back; turning the blue-liner inside-out in the process. Eichel then cut in towards Fleury, and beat the veteran clean for his 28th goal of the campaign.

That 28-goal marker is a milestone, as it tied his career-high set last season. Eichel still has 35 games ahead of him this year to improve upon that total in a major way.

Curtis Lazar put the icing on the victory with an empty-net goal in the final minute of play. The Sabres had to weather a difficult late-game storm from the Golden Knights, as with 2:03 to play Vegas pulled Fleury from their net in an effort to find the game-tying tally.

It was for naught, as Buffalo battled hard all night and grabbed their 21st win of the season.

GAME SUMMARY


Goal Summary:

First Period:

BUF: NONE
VGK: NONE

Second Period:

BUF: 6:32 - Kyle Okposo (5) PPG (Sam Reinhart, Conor Sheary); 19:41 - Sam Reinhart (16) PPG (Rasmus Ristolainen, Jack Eichel)
VGK: 1:55 - Tomas Nosek (6) (Chandler Stephenson, Shea Theodore)

Third Period:

BUF: 7:57 - Jack Eichel (28) (Sam Reinhart, Colin Miller); 19:35 - Curtis Lazar (4) (Unassisted)
VGK: 1:43 - Reilly Smith (19) PPG (Shea Theodore, William Karlsson)

Penalty Summary:

First Period:

BUF: 14:29 - Evan Rodrigues (Holding - 2 min.)
VGK: 14:29 - Alex Tuch (Roughing - 2 min.)

Second Period:

BUF: 3:04 - Colin Miller (Tripping - 2 min.)
VGK: 5:16 - Max Pacioretty (Interference - 2 min.); 19: 14 - TEAM (Too many men on the ice - 2 min.)

Third Period:

BUF: 1:36 - Colin Miller (Tripping - 2 min.); 1:36 - Colin Miller (Unsportsmanlike Conduct - 2 min.)
VGK: 12:53 - Nicolas Hague (Holding the stick - 2 min.)


Shots on Goal:

BUF: 26 (13, 5, 8)
VGK: 26 (4, 12, 10)


Goalies:

BUF: Linus Ullmark - 24 saves
VGK: Marc-Andre Fleury - 22 saves


Power Plays:

BUF: 2 for 3 (66.7%)
VGK: 1 for 3 (33.3%)


Three Stars:

1. Sam Reinhart - BUF

2. Jack Eichel - BUF

3. Kyle Okposo - BUF


What's Next:

The Sabres head back on the road to take on the Dallas Stars on Thursday night. Puck drop inside American Airlines Center is set for just after 8:30 p.m., and the Paul William Beltz Pre-Game Show starts at 7:30 with Brian Koziol on WGR.

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