5 Observations: Sabres rally/knock off Jets 4-3

5 Observations: Sabres rally/knock off Jets 4-3
Posted at 5:50 PM, Jan 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-07 17:50:26-05

In the words of Rob Burgundy “well that escalated quickly.”

On Saturday afternoon the Buffalo Sabres looked flat until head coach Dan Bylsma threw a mimi tantrum on the bench in the second period.

Apparently It worked — from that moment on the Sabres were the better team, knocking off the Winnipeg Jets 4-3.

Five observations from Saturday’s win:

Make hockey fun again

In less than five minutes the Sabres turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead. I can assure you that everything is fine.

“Obviously you get a huge hit from Caber (McCabe), we score a couple goals, the crowd gets into it, after they boo’d us off the ice in the second,” Sabres forward Jack Eichel said after the game. 'It was a great team win. That’s how we’ve got to play in this building and that’s probably the loudest I’ve heard it.”

He’s not wrong — KeyBank Center basically burst after Zemgus Girgensons tied the game. It was without question one of the Sabres best periods at home this season. After the game players said they need to build off this win, and use this as a model for the type of game they need to play moving forward.

A tale of two halves

Usually we break hockey games down into three separate periods, (for obvious reasons), but Saturday’s game was a little different. Almost exactly halfway through the second the Jets were outshooting the Sabres 26-10 (11-0 in the second period) — but then everything changed.

Fans sarcastically cheered as the Sabres registered their first shot of the second period — but then they piled it on. During the second 30 minutes of the game the Sabres outshot the Jets 26-9. Buffalo finished the game with 36 shots, one more than Winnipeg’s 35, but what did the Sabres do differently?

The hit

Jake McCabe’s hit on Patrick Laine in the third period was maybe  the biggest hit I’ve seen from a Sabre since Brian Campbell destroyed RJ Umberger back in 2006.

McCabe has been doing this a lot lately, so this should come as no surprise. The key here is making the hit and staying in position. It was a clean, textbook hit and without question gave the Sabres a spark.

Secondary scoring

Do me a favor — Think about the Sabres last few games. Now think about who has scored for the Sabres in those games.

This will all be on a quiz later.

Lately, it has been the guys from their top two lines finding the back of the net, but on Saturday it was the opposite.

Marcus Foligno, Girgensons and Brian Gionta all scored in the third period to help the Sabres secure the win. If the Sabres are going to make a playoff push they’ll need their bottom half of the lineup to start producing. They don’t need to score every game, but when the Sabres top two lines can’t get things going secondary scoring will be a huge help.

Cody Franson struggles early

It was a rough afternoon for Sabres defensemen Cody Franson. All game he looked a step behind a speedy Jets squad, taking two penalties because of it. This, on top of plenty of turnovers and head-scratching plays that had the ole’ Twitter machine blazing with Franson criticism.

Now despite that criticism and slow start, Franson made a gorgeous pass to Marcus Foligno to help spark the Sabres comeback. It was a nice play, but overall the 29-year-old defensemen had a tough outing. 

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