Skinner and Peterka Lift the Sabres to Victory at Home

It was Hockey Fights Cancer Night inside KeyBank Center tonight, and everyone showed their love for those fighting cancer with a will and strength most others can’t imagine. As many of you do, I look forward to this night every year.

After 18 minutes into the opening period, Sabres defenseman Henri Jokiharju broke the ice with his second goal. This shot rocketed past several players, including Wild netminder Filip GustavssonOwen Power received the lone assist. Then, with only 0:30 seconds left in the period, Wild star forward Kirill Kaprizov tied the game. 

Buffalo took a 2-1 lead with less than a minute left in the second period. Jeff Skinner scored his seventh goal when he made a fantastic deke on the Minnesota goalie. JJ Peterka received the lone assist.

Peterka scored his sixth goal of the season at 03:33 of the third period, increasing the Sabres’ lead to 3-1. Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner assisted.

Minnesota cut into the Sabres’ lead with less than eight minutes left to play in the final frame, with Joel Eriksson Ek scoring his 8th, but that’s as close as the Wild would get on this night.

The Sabres sent the near-capacity crowd home happy with a 3-2 win, their fourth in the last six games. With a record of 7-6-1, the Sabres are in sixth place in the Atlantic Division. Believe it or not, they are only one point behind three teams tied for third place. 

The final shots on goal favored Minnesota 35-25. Devon Levi collected his 3rd win of the season, making 33 saves. 

Buffalo will travel to Pittsburgh, Pa., on Saturday at 7:30 pm to meet the Penguins and look to continue its recent success.

Sabres Lose Overtime Heartbreaker to Carolina

Despite playing well against a formidable opponent like the Hurricanes, the Sabres could only muster a single point as they ran out of gas in overtime, losing 3-2.

The game was close throughout, with the Sabres’ Rasmus Dahlin scoring a Dahlin-type goal to tie the game. He passed the puck to himself as he entered the Hurricanes’ zone, went in, and fired the puck past goalie Antti Raanta, tying the game at two goals apiece.

Tony DeAngelo scored the lone goal of the opening period while the Hurricanes were on the power play. Alex Tuch tied it up unassisted at 03:51 of the second period. 

The Canes took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Brady Skjei at 07:54 of the third; however, Sabres star defenseman Rasmus Dahlin tied the game just over two minutes later, assisted by Tage Thompson and Casey Mittelstadt

Regulation time ended at 2-2, and off to overtime, they went. Unfortunately, the Sabres got caught with exhausted defenders, and Carolina took full advantage 01:30 into the extra session when Martin Necas scored his 5th of the season.

The Carolina Hurricanes won with the final shots tonight, 27-21. The Sabres’ next game will be on Friday at 7 p.m. at KeyBank Center versus the Minnesota Wild.

Matthews Hat Trick Not Enough as Sabres Outlast Toronto 6-4

On most nights in the National Hockey League, a Hatty by any player, let alone one of the league’s top players, meant a considerable chance of victory. Superstar Auston Matthews scored his third hat trick tonight. Giving him 11 on the season after 13 games wasn’t enough tonight.

The Maple Leafs opened the scoring when Mitchell Marner scored his 4th of the season just past 12 minutes in the first period. The Sabres would tie the game more than four minutes later off the stick of JJ Peterka on the powerplay. Owen Power and Victor Olofsson assisted him.

Tage Thompson gave Buffalo their first lead early in the second frame. The goal came unassisted while the Sabres were on the penalty kill. 

Matthews would tie the score with his 9th of the season while on the powerplay. Not just 0:34 seconds later, Sabres forward Jeff Skinner notched his 6th of the season, helping his team claim the lead for a second time at 3-2. The lone assist went to the rookie blueliner Ryan Johnson. It was the first point of his career.

Toronto’s Auston Matthews scored his second and 10th of the season just 0:17 seconds into the third to tie the game at three apiece. 

The revolving door didn’t stop there as Jordan Greenway fired home his second of the season, thus giving his team their third lead. The helpers went to Casey Mittelstadt and JJ Peterka. The goal gave the Sabres a 4-3 lead.

Matthews would score his 11th of the season and 3rd goal of the game to earn the hat trick. With the game tied at 4-4, Alex Tuch put away the go-ahead goal and empty netter to win 6-4.

Final shots on goal favored the Sabres 41-28. it was rookie netminder Devon Levi with 37 saves, earning his second win of the season.

Sabres and Flyers Split Series

The Buffalo Sabres had been waiting several seasons for any goalie in their organization to take that next step. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stole the show in this one, stopping 38 of 40 shots in the first of a home-and-home series that began Philadephia. 

 The game also featured rookie Brandon Biro scoring the first and second of his NHL career. The latter was an empty netter that sealed the win. 

Tage Thompson earned 1 goal and two assists, while Alex Tuch added two assists. Owen Power, the Sabres’ second-year blueliner, broke the tie in the third for his first of the season. Thompson and Biro nailed the coffin shut, giving the Buffalo Sabres the 5-2 victory in a game the Sabres had been outplayed, including being outshot 20-15 over the final period.

Adding insult to injury, the Flyers also lost starting netminder Carter Hart to injury.

In the back half of the series, it was Philadelphia’s night to shine. They quickly skated past the Sabres, netting three unanswered in the third frame on their way to a 5-1 win, ending their three-game losing streak.

Buffalo got on the scoreboard at 02:24 of the third off the stick of defenseman Henri JokiharjuCasey Mittelstadt and JJ Peterka earned the helpers. 

The two teams will decide on the rubber match on April 5.

Buffalo’s next outing will get underway on Saturday at 7 p.m. against the Toronto Maple Leafs.


Sabres Blank Colorado 4-0

This Buffalo Sabres team knew the Colorado Avalanche would be a massive test before them. They stood up to it and came out the other end smelling like a rose. They earned themselves a 4-0 win in arguably the best outing this team has put forth thus far after nine games in.

Sabres starting goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen earned his first shutout in the National Hockey League, stopping all 23 shots the Av’s sent. 

JJ Peterka smashed the bagel for the second time in as many games with his fourth of the campaign. Jeff Skinner picked up the lone assist to move him into a tie-in point with defenseman Rasmus Dahlin. The Sabres took the 1-0 lead into the locker room. Shots on goal favored Buffalo 11-6.

The Sabres added to their lead when, at 01:39 into the second frame, Casey Mittelstadt roofed his second of the season, with Jeff Skinner with his second point of the game and Henri Jokiharju added the helpers.

Tyson Jost scored his first at 08:18 of the period while on the powerplay from Alex Tuch and Owen Power, giving Buffalo a 3-0 lead heading into the break. Buffalo held the advantage in shots after the first two periods, 20-17.