5 Observations: Sabres shutout Avalanche 2-0

5 Observations: Sabres shutout Avalanche 2-0
Posted at 10:33 PM, Feb 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-16 22:33:02-05

So you're saying there's a chance? On Thursday the Buffalo Sabres knocked off the Colorado Avalanche 2-0, pulling within just three points of a playoff spot.

Five observations from Thursday's win:

Even strength Kane

Since the start of December, no player in the NHL has more even strength goals than Evander Kane (18). In his last 12 games, Kane has seven goals and five assists for 12 points.

With the trade deadline less than two weeks away speculation about moving Kane will run rampant -- but I don't think the Sabres should send him anywhere. Kane is doing exactly what he was brought here to do -- score goals.

He leads the team in that category even after missing the first month of the season. Kane has his flaws, but he finds the back of the net and the Sabres don't have many players that do that on a regular basis. 

Opposite day

The Sabres won a second period and a game on Thursday. What is life?

All year the Sabres have struggled in the middle frame and on fake Friday. Against the Avalanche they figured things out. I guess It doesn't hurt that they were playing a very bad hockey team. Regardless, the Sabres earned their first Thursday win since December 1 against the New York Rangers.

For what it's worth, the Sabres only have two more Thursday games on the schedule. Don't call it a comeback!

Laid back Lehner gets the shutout 

Robin Lehner played well on Thursday, what else is new? Lately, Lehner has been very steady in net and has been one of the Sabres most valuable players.

"He has probably been our best player all year," teammate Ryan O'Reilly said at Thursday's morning skate. "We obviously need him to keep playing well like he is, but we have to step up and help him out."

On Thursday that's exactly what they did, allowing only 23 shots. In Buffalo's last five games they had allowed an average of 40 shots a game. 

Lehner's busiest period was the third when the Sabres needed him the most and once again he stepped up to the task. After the experiment with Lehner going back-to-back against the Maple Leafs and Ducks, I'd imagine Lehner and Nilsson split the Sabres weekend outings. 

Keep Justin Bailey in Buffalo

Speed kills and on Thursday Justin Bailey was a 2017 Lamborghini and the Avalanche were a 1997 Saturn.

It started in the first period when Bailey fed Marcus Foligno with a gorgeous pass after blowing by a Colorado defender. Seconds later Bailey picked the puck up in the neutral zone, drawing a penalty after he got around Gabriel Landeskog, who is no defensive slouch.

He didn’t find the back of the net, but he once again made his presence felt.

And speaking of the kids

Evan Rodrigues, like Bailey, has impressed me since getting called up before the Maple Leafs game last week. He’s not flashy, but he gets the job done and does a nice job creating space for himself.

That being said, he did make a few head-scratching passes in the defensive zone, but he's only played in eight career games.

Follow Matt Bove on Twitter!