BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Buffalo Sabres are off to their best start since the 2008-2009 season. With a 4-0 win over the Dallas Stars on Monday, the Sabres are now 5-0-1 on the season and have earned 11 out of a possible 12 points.
Four different players all scored in the win while Carter Hutton grabbed his 12th career shutout with 25 saves. The Sabres next head to the West Coast for a three-game road trip with stops in Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.
Just call him "Powerplay Goalofsson"
History was made on Monday afternoon when Victor Olofsson scored the team's first goal of the game in the 2nd period, grabbing his 5th goal of the season and 7th of his career. With that seventh goal Olofsson broke an NHL record, becoming the first player in league history to score his first seven career goals on the extra-man advantage.
You almost had an inkling it was coming given the way Olofsson has played on that top power play line. His shot is a cannon and he can take advantage of opportunities. I'd like to eventually see him score an even strength goal, but for now, I think Sabres fans are fine with him taking advantage when the opporunity arises.
There's something about the pairing
This observation comes with help from WKBW Sports Director Matt Bove. Defenseman Marco Scandella didn't have a great season last year but in recent games, he's played with a purpose and is beginning to look like the guy everyone hoped he would be. Scandella came into Buffalo surrounded by high hopes but his performance on the ice had been less than ideal. Last season was a down year where his shots on goal (83) were nearly half of what they were the year prior (138) and questions arose as to where he would fit in with new additions to the defense and a new head coach. Scandella's been getting time with Henri Jokiharju and the two seem to have a good connection so far, not making it easy for the lines they're going up against.
As a pair, Jokiharju & Scandella are legit. Scandella looks like a completely different player.— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) October 14, 2019
Skinner doesn't need Eichel to score
Remember that Jeff Skinner - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart line that was so solid last season? Remember when fans were questioning why Skinner was placed on the "second line"? Turns out, Skinner doesn't need Eichel or Reinhart to score a goal. In the third period, the Sabres added onto their lead when Vladimir Sobotka made a REALLY pretty pass to Skinner who finished it off with the team's third goal of the game. Would Skinner possibly be even higher on the goal chart if he was on the "top line"? Possibly. But for now, his play alongside Sobotka and Johansson isn't too shabby and it's nice to see the scoring even out a little more with that line capitalizing again later in the period.
Familiar territory, different result
They always say a two goal lead is one of the most dangerous leads in hockey. In the Sabres' last two games, they've led by two goals in the third period and have blown said lead both times. Against Montreal, it was a blown 4-2 lead that led to an overtime win. Against Florida, it was a blown 2-0 lead that led to a shootout win. On Monday, it was familiar territory with the Sabres leading the Stars 2-0 heading into the third period. This time around though, they didn't blow that lead and instead extended it. With a slow start to the night, it was good to see the Sabres be more aggressive as the game went on and use that third period as momentum rather than give it up.
Can the hot start continue out West?
The Sabres are now 5-0-1 and have taken 11 out of 12 possible points. That's an extremely hot start and you really couldn't ask for anything better. A big test is on the horizon though as the team now travels West for three road games in four days. Not only are they playing on three different ices, they're playing in a different time zone and adjusting to a different schedule. The road trip's going to test them in a lot of different ways but if they can grab at least four out of six points, they can remain in a pretty good spot.