Tonight for the last game of a long road trip through the Central Division in Minnesota, the Sabres in another really entertaining game against the Wild, had our five game win streak come to an end with a 3-2 shootout loss.
Jack Quinn opened the scoring just 2:22 into the game with an incredible individual effort to dance through the Wild’s defense to get right in the slot and put it past Fleury, putting the Sabres up 1-0 early. It didn’t take long for the Wild to tie it up though at just the 3:35 mark of the period with UPL not able to slide over the crease after making the initial save to make the save on the rebound, with Joel Eriksson Ek scoring only five seconds into their power play. Entirely all on Luukkonen on that goal. Good job by the Sabres to kill off two of their three penalties (but not great to give the Wild three power plays in a period). We were outshot 13-9 and outplayed by an expected goal rate of 1.68-0.49 in the first period but gave up eight of those shots on the power plays and we looked like the better team at five-on-five play.
With 10:10 left in the second period, Peyton Krebs was fantastic with the puck down low with tons of pressure on him, dished the puck to Okposo who sent it over to a wide open Zemgus Girgensons, who put it in the open net to put the Sabres up 2-1. Krebs has impressed me so much recently and is starting to look like the player that was the top prospect in the Golden Knights organization when he got included in the Eichel trade. Mineesota tied the game again with Jared Spurgeon scoring with 7:21 left in the second with the defense leaving him open and UPL expecting the shot rather that the past and not being able to slide over fast enough to make the save. Just as time expired on the second period, Rasmus Dahlin scored just fractions of a second too late right in front of the net that would have put the Sabres up 3-2 but it was determined to be after the clock hit triple 0’s on the clock to not count after video review.
After a scoreless third period that saw plenty of good scoring chances for both teams, we went into overtime once again for the second OT game against the Wild. Lot of chances for both teams to win with a fun overtime period of three on three and we went onto a shootout.
Mats Zuccarello went first for the Wild and beat UPL but Tage Thompson answered right back with a beauty goal on the Sabres first attempt. Karill the thrill shot his attempt off the cross crossbar, it went off the back of the pad of UPL and into the net to make the shootout 2-1 on what would become the game winner. Flower made the glove save on Jack Quinn and then Freddy Gaudreau capped the game off with a fantastic backhanded goal to win it.
Final: Sabres 2, Wild 3 (SO)
Another really entertaining game against Minnesota. Disappointing that the win streak ends in a shootout. Its still so fucking stupid that games get decided by an essentially dumb luck practice drill. Really good game tonight though. We got outshot 35-31 and were outplayed by an expected goal rate of 3.45-1.83 but it felt like a much closer game than that and I thought we played well tonight. Great road trip, picking up seven out of eight points on this road trip. We’ve gone 5-0-2 in our last seven games to move one point behind Pittsburgh for a Wild Card spot in the East, the best we’ve been in the last decade at this point in the season.
The Carolina Hurricanes come to town on Wednesday for a very tough game to go into the All Star break before we get ten days off.
Let’s Go Sabres!
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