BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Four unanswered goals in the second period was enough for the Buffalo Sabres as they outlasted the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-4 Friday afternoon. Four different players scored in the win while Linus Ullmark made 25 saves as the team improved to 12-10-4. They will travel to Toronto on Saturday for another meeting with the Maple Leafs.
5 Observations from tonight's game
Responding and finishing
How many times have we said a two-goal lead is dangerous? The Sabres found themselves down by two in the 2nd period but found a way to respond. Jeff Skinner got the scoring going, grabbing his 10th of the season, after he took a feed from Johan Larsson. Minutes later, Jack Eichel came out of the penalty box and wasted no time tying things up. It didn't stop there though as Casey Mittelstadt and Victor Olofsson added two more for a 4-2 lead after two.
In the third, it looked like the Sabres could give up a two-goal lead of their own on two different occasions but found a way to hang on. Following the team's loss Wednesday night, players in the locker room talked about responding and finishing games. They did both and it was good to see them get results after not capitalizing many other times.
Jack Eichel is having himself a season and there's still more games to be played. Following his goal in the second period (see above), Eichel was a big reason for the team's fourth goal. He puck handled both Jason Spezza and Jake Muzzin alongside of and behind the net and was then able to find Olofsson parked in the circle, who later connected on the team's fourth goal. With his two goals (including an empty-netter) and an assist in tonight's game, Eichel now has 16 goals and 34 points in 26 games played this season. Last year, he finished with 28 goals and 82 points so he's well on pace for surpassing those numbers.
Nylander vs. Ullmark's glove
This is a tale of a Toronto winger and his biggest enemy tonight, Linus Ullmark's glove. Nylander had two REALLY good chances in the first period alone but it was Ullmark's glove who denied him both times. With 6:26 left in the first period, Nylander grabbed a loose puck for a breakaway chance but Ullmark completely robbed him. Not much later, Ullmark robbed Nylander again, this time on a 2-on-1. Nylander finished with four shots on goal while Ullmark finished the night with 25 saves on 29 shots.
Tavares vs. the Sabres
John Tavares has had his fair share of great moments when playing the Sabres and that solid play continued Friday evening. Tavares got the Maple Leafs on the board in the first period after he took advantage of a wide open net following a pass from Ilya Mikheyev. Just minutes into the second period, he added his second of the night, taking the initial shot and then following it up by tapping it in for a 2-0 Toronto lead. In his 31 games against the Sabres, Tavares has 20 goals among 38 points.
Trying to salvage what's left of November
The Sabres have one more game this month, Saturday night in Toronto, before their December schedule begins. November has seen the Sabres go 3-8-2, a disappointing performance after going 9-2-2 in October. A new month may be just what the Sabres need when it comes to "starting with a clean slate" but it would be much easier coming off a win with a little momentum.