5 Observations: Sabres knock off Senators 3-2

5 Observations: Sabres knock off Senators 3-2
Posted at 10:33 PM, Feb 14, 2017

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner loves playing against his former team. On Tuesday the Ottawa Senators outshot the Sabres 40-25, but two third period goals lifted the blue and gold to a 3-2 win.

Five observations from Tuesday's win:

Talkin' Proud!

Justin Bailey played arguably the best game of his career on Tuesday night. The Western New York native just seemed like he was going to get on the score sheet and wouldn't you know it, he did.

It took Bailey two periods, but in the third, he deflected a Jake McCabe shot to give the Sabres a 3-2 lead. Bailey's most noticeable attribute is his speed -- and that was certainly on display against the Senators.

It didn't hurt that he was lined up with the Sabres top line, but the 21-year-old was creating chances all night. Just minutes before his goal Bailey led the Sabres down the ice on a two-on-one.

They didn't capitalize on the chance, but instead of forcing a bad pass Bailey threw the puck at the net and generated a juicy rebound. It looked like that was exactly what he wanted to do, which is refreshing to see from a young player.

Bailey still needs plenty of maturing and sometimes tries to do too much, but he's improving every game. I can't imagine the Sabres send Bailey to Rochester any time soon.

Reunited and it feels so good

Robin Lehner is now 4-0-1 against the Ottawa Senators in his two seasons with the Sabres. On Tuesday he turned away 39 of the 41 shots he faced, and really looked locked in during the third period.

Ottawa's first goal came on a perfect deflection -- Lehner had no chance. Their second goal was one Lehner would certainly like to have back, but that kind of stuff happens. It's not an excuse, but he was so good the rest of the game that he gets a pass from me. If the Sabres lost that may be a different story. 

Lately, Lehner has been out of this world. Aside from a so-so performance against the Canucks on Sunday, Lehner has won the Sabres several games.

'Power' play

On Tuesday there wasn't anything powerful about the Sabres league-best man advantage. In Buffalo's two attempts they only registered two shots, both coming on their first attempt.

Their power play has clearly been solid for most of the season, but against the Senators, the Sabres were trying to be cute. Sometimes the best play is just throwing a puck to the net. I don't want to come across like the 'SHOOT' guy that sits in the 300s, but c'mon man.

To be fair, it's hard to criticize a team with only two attempts. At the end of the day, I'm a glass-half-full kind of guy, so we'll see if they can improve on Thursday against Colorado. 

Second periods are the worst periods

The Buffalo Sabres played a solid 15 minutes of hockey to start the second period but then things went south.....and fast.

This stat is startling -- In the first 14:33 of the second period the Sabres controlled play and outshot the Senators 7-2. In the last 5:27 seconds the Senators outshot the Sabres 14-0.

Let that sink in, 14 shots in five and a half minutes.

It's amazing how one bad shift (courtesy of Tyler Ennis, Derek Grant, and Nicholas Deslauriers) can swing the momentum of a game. Robin Lehner deserves some of the blame on Dion Phaneuf's goal, but the Sabres were lucky to escape the period with just a one-goal deficit. On the season the Sabres now have a -23 goal differential in the second period. Brutal.

We're going streaking!

Kyle Okposo has at least one point in each of the Sabres last seven games. During that span, Okposo has three goals and four assists.

This season the first year Sabre leads the team with 38 points in 56 games. Okposo, along with linemates Ryan O'Reilly and Justin Bailey put on a clinic all game, generating constant pressure. They were the Sabres best line and it wasn't even close. 

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