It finally happened. The Buffalo Sabres have won their first game since February 23rd, scoring six goals in a 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Sabres poured on the offence Wednesday night at KeyBank Arena, with goals coming from Brandon Montour, Casey Mittlestadt, Steven Fogarty and Curtis Lazar. Backstop Linus Ullmark stopped 31 shots of the 32 he faced to take the win on home ice. It was Ullmark’s first win since making his return from a lower-body injury. Even as period two saw the Flyers putting pressure on the Sabres, Buffalo remained calm and collected and made some great plays, whether that be breakouts, forechecks, back checks, or neutral zone play.
The Sabres, on March 29th, surrendered a three-goal lead entering the final period and then fell in overtime. Entering the third frame on Wednesday, Buffalo held another three-goal lead, but managed to shut down the opposing Flyers. The Sabres did so, as Ullmark shut the door and watched as his team played tight defence while scoring some insurance goals to take their first in 19 games.
“It was a good 60 minutes”, Sam Reinhart said in his post game interview. “I like the style, skate more, faster, it’s exciting.” That was Reinhart’s response when asked about the systems put in place by Don Granato. Reinhart moved back to centre, his natural position since the Sabres drafted him, and seemed to have control with the ice time he saw.
It’s worth noting that Curtis Lazar exited the game in the second period and did not return for the rest of the game. As per John Vogl of The Athletic Buffalo, Lazar is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Rasmus Asplund will take his place in the lineup.
Buffalo has played much better the last six games, even through they have struggled to get in the win column. The mental hurdle of not having a win through 19 games consecutively was enormous with the players and it is nice to see players smiling again instead of the straight face reactions we’ve seen throughout the losing skid.
The Sabres will go right back at it on Thursday night when they welcome the New York Rangers to KeyBank Arena at 7:00pmET. It’s finally over, now Buffalo can look to build on this effort and go for two in a row.