This has been the best season for the Sabres since 2011 and we made it to April 8th without an elimination scenario, coming off an electric 7-6 shootout win in Detroit on Thursday night (I watched the whole game but was busy and couldn’t blog it), but we avoided elimination with a huge 4-3 win at home against the Hurricanes.
Four minutes into the game, the Sabres got on the board first with a beautiful goal by Casey Mittelstadt on an absolutely incredible kicked pass from Jeff Skinner after Buffalo jumped on a turnover by the Canes. Carolina answered back with 5:26 left in the first, with the puck going off Riley Stillman’s skate to prevent a two-on-one, but the puck bounced back to Seth Jarvis from his original pass attempt and he put the puck past Devon Levi to tie the game back at 1-1. Just 22 seconds later, Jesper Fast tipped in the puck to put the Canes up 2-1. Pretty good start to the game for the Sabres, so it sucks to go down 2-1 after 20 minutes. The Hurricanes were definitely the better team in the second half of that first period and outshot us 12-6 in the period.
Rasmus Dahlin tied the game up at 2-2, 4:04 into the second period on the power play on a great wrist shot from right in the slot after some solid puck movement by the Sabres. The Canes got the lead back with Sebastian Aho making it 3-2 with 8:54 left in the second period with really good puck movement by Carolina down low. The Sabres tied it up again though with just 1:42. Rasmus Dahlin weaved through the entire Carolina defense, and passed it over to Casey Mittelstadt at the perfect time, who put it in the open net for his second of the game. Such a fun period to watch with both teams having a bunch of scoring chances and both generating eleven shots on goal.
After a beautiful stick save by Rasmus Dahlin to prevent a goal on one end of the ice, Dylan Cozens found Tage Thompson at the top of the circle on the other end of the ice, who gunned in the one-timer to take the 4-3 lead with 13:45 left in regulation. That turned out to be a game winner as they played great defensively to shut down the Canes offense to close out the game.
Final: Sabres 4, Hurricanes 3
Huge win. Love that we stay alive to live another game in this Wild Card race, even if the Panthers and Islanders both win later today. Every goal for the Sabres today was a beauty. We were outshot 35-30 and outplayed by an expected goal rate of 3.57-2.44 but stayed in the game with resilience winning all the little battles that added up to the win. The Sabres penalty kill was very good today and Levi was pretty good in goal today with a .912 and some very timely saves.
Four games in five days starting on Monday to finish off the season.
Let’s Go Buffalo!
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