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5 Observations: Golden Knights top Sabres 2-1 in SO

Posted: 4:09 PM, Mar 10, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-10 21:18:27Z

The Buffalo Sabres have never beaten the Vegas Golden Knights. Despite a lead late in the third period, the Sabres crumbled, squandering their 1-0 lead and falling 2-1 in a shootout.

Five observations from Saturday's loss: 

From Rochester with love 

In his first game with the Sabres since October, Justin Bailey made his presence felt, scoring the first goal of the game. Bailey converted on a great pass from Benoit Pouliot, beating Marc-Andre Fleury with a forehand-backhand move. 

With his goal on Saturday, Bailey now has three goals in only eight games played this season. While Saturday was certainly a nice effort, Bailey's issue has been consistency. It seems like after a few games he starts to blend in, which can't happen if he wants to stay in the NHL. Goal aside, if he played every game like he did on Saturday afternoon he wouldn't be heading back to Rochester anytime soon. 

Blue paint battle 

Turns out the two busiest players were also the two best players in Saturday's matinee. Both Robin Lehner and Fleury were solid at their respective ends of the ice and kept this a close game until the very end. 

Lehner's biggest save of the afternoon came in the third period, turning away Pierre-Edouard Bellemare from point blank. Bellemare thought he had scored, but Lehner was somehow able to keep the puck out of the net. The same couldn't be said later in the period, as Deryk Engelland banked a shot off Marco Scandella and into the net. 

Despite the loss, Lehner finished with 33 saves on 34 shots. Fleury was equally as impressive, stopping 31 of the 32 shots he faced. 
 

Golden Guhle 

It didn't take long for Brendan Guhle to make Sabres fans excited about his future. On Saturday he once again shined, making smart plays in the defensive zone while still finding opportunities to join the rush. 

Since he was recalled earlier in the week, Guhle has had his share of ups and downs. The good has absolutely outweighed the bad but in only his sixth game this season, there wasn't much to criticize. 

Snoozefest (until the end)

Not much of anything happened in the first 40 minutes of Saturday's matinee. Sure, there were some nice saves by each goaltender but nothing that brought fans to their feet. Vegas was the better team in the first period but the Sabres responded with a strong second period. Unless you're a fan of low-scoring hockey, Saturday probably wasn't the most enjoyable game.

Until overtime, then this was a great game. Quality, not quantity, I guess. 

VGK fever 

I'm not exaggerating when I say there were hundreds of fans wearing Golden Knights' gear at KeyBank Center on Saturday. Not bad for a team that didn't exist before this season. It certainly doesn't hurt that Syracuse native Alex Tuch had nearly 500 friends and family in town for the game. For an expansion team to have this much support is pretty awesome. Las Vegas' success has only made their story that much more incredible. With the Sabres season coming to an end soon I think it would be safe to say that plenty of casual fans are rooting for the Golden Knights in the playoffs. 

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