Buffalo Sabres end losing streak against Avalanche

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 17: (L-R) Ryan O'Reilly
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 17: (L-R) Ryan O'Reilly /

After a demoralizing run of form, the Buffalo Sabres finally ended their losing streak with an impressive 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

It seemed as if the Buffalo Sabres would never come out with a win recently. Players didn’t fulfill their potential each time they hit the ice. As a result, the team dropped four games in a row heading into Tuesday night.

However, all the bad play from the Sabres ended against the Colorado Avalanche. Strong performances from Robin Lehner, Jake McCabe and Benoit Pouliot propelled Buffalo to a 4-2 victory over Colorado.

The Avs’ started off the game with some high-quality chances in the first five minutes. Buffalo’s defense did a nice job keeping all of the chances out of the back of the net.

The Sabres built some momentum off of their early physical play. Pouliot accepted the puck when entering the Avalanche zone and took a shot that dinged off the post.

Both teams got some power play opportunities in the first period, but neither team could take advantage. The Swords looked a lot better on the man advantage in the game, with their crisp puck movement.

The Avalanche earned another power play opportunity in the second period, but it was the Buffalo Sabres who took the advantage. Ryan O’Reilly intercepted the puck and put a move on the Avs’ defense. The 26-year-old sent it to Pouliot, who smacked it home for the early lead.

The lead didn’t last long however. Erik Johnson worked his way down the wing and took a shot off Lehner that eventually got poked wide by Mikko Rantanen. Moments later, Nathan MacKinnon possessed the puck on the left wing and fired a beautiful wrist shot past Lehner, to tie the game.

The Colorado goal didn’t stop the Sabres from coming back. Pouliot worked his way into the zone, but lost control of the puck. Johan Larsson tipped the puck back in and passed it to McCabe, who  sent it home from the point.

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The only problem with the goal is it looked offside from the fans point-of-view. The puck clearly went past the blue line, but the fact Larsson tipped it into the air led to the referees deciding to award the Swords’ second goal.

Buffalo were not disciplined in this contest, and it ultimately caught up with them in the third period. Rasmus Ristolainen gave too much room to MacKinnon, who blew right past the defender and squeezed the puck in between Lehner to tie the game back up.

Again, the Sabres fought back with a monumental amount of shots. Jack Eichel sent a dangerous pass that went in the goal crease, but couldn’t be tapped in by Evander Kane.

Moments later Eichel fed Kane again, who was able to score a wrap-around goal for the 3-2 lead.

Buffalo kept burying the Avalanche in their zone even after Kane’s goal. Colorado had a few chances of their own, but Eichel would put the dagger into the contest after sending in the empty-net goal.

Key Stats

Colorado Avalanche

  • 37 shots
  • 2/6 on the power play
  • 20 hits
  • Key Player: MacKinnon with 2 goals

Buffalo Sabres

  • 35 shots
  • 0/3 on the power play
  • 14 PIM
  • Key Player: McCabe with the first goal from a Sabres’ defenseman this season

For the first time in a while, the Buffalo Sabres played a full 60 minute game. The blue and gold never looked lost after Colorado scored a goal. Instead, they came right back with chances of their own.

There seems to be a common trend when the Sabres win a contest. They establish their hitting game early and take as many shots as possible, all while protecting Lehner in net. Kudos to the Swede for his .946 save percentage in this one.

Next: Evander Kane’s potential trade destinations

Impressed with Buffalo’s win against Colorado? Does Phil Housley finally have a game plan to work with? Let us know in the comments below.