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5 Observations: Sabres shutout Panthers 3-0

5 Observations: Sabres shutout Panthers 3-0
Posted at 4:55 PM, Oct 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-29 16:58:37-04

On Thursday the Buffalo Sabres were shutout on home ice by the Minnesota Wild. Just two days later they were able to do the shutting out, beating the Florida Panthers 3-0, earning their first victory at home. Five observations from Satuday's win:

Nilsson has huge game

Saturday Ander Nilsson had without question his best game of the season and the best game by any Buffalo goaltender in a while. Nilsson stopped every shot he faced (33) shutting out Florida and their high-powered offense. "In the first period he looked so solid & so confident in the net," Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said. "You thought it was going to be tough to get one by him."

Have you ever seen a Venus Fly Trap swallow up a fly? Well, on Saturday, Anders Nilsson was the fly trap and the puck was the fly. Nilsson swallowed up several different shots from the point, especially in the second period. So far this season Buffalo goaltenders have had a problem with rebound control, but Saturday that wasn’t the case. "The most important thing is the two points," Nilsson said after the game. "It means a lot for our confidence."

Ristolainen on a tear

Rasmus Ristolainen still hasn’t scored a goal, but with an impressive seven assists in seven games he is now the Sabres leading scorer. Ristolainen picked up his seventh assist in Saturday’s game against the Panthers after throwing a wrist shot from the point on net. The puck bounced off Roberto Luongo’s glove before hitting the cross bar and falling in front of the net to a wide open Kyle Okposo who finished it from there. Ristolainen also generated several scoring chances, including a play a few minutes later when he buzzed around the net finding Matt Moulson in front of the net for a great chance. With seven points Ristolainen is now tied for fifth in scoring among defensemen.

Kulikov vs. Pysyk Round One:

In the third period Sabres forward had the puck behind the net looking at his options. After a few seconds he decided to try and find Ryan O’Reilly in front of the net. Instead, his pass went right off former Sabres defenseman Mark Pysysk and into the net, for Reinhart’s first goal of the season. On the flip side, Dmitry Kulikov had arguably his best game as a member of Buffalo Sabres facing off against his former team. Kulikov’s most exciting play came in the second period when he dished out a perfect old school hip check in open ice.

The players that needed to score did

Going into Saturday’s game Johan Larsson and Sam Reinhart were still looking for their first goal of the season. Kyle Okposo, who signed a seven year, $42 million contract in the offseason, only had one goal. Against the Panthers all three were able to beat Roberto Luongo and help contribute after getting shut out on Thursday against the Wild. While the Sabres are without Jack Eichel and Evander Kane they are going to need all three of these players to step up and contribute. While this is only one game, Saturday’s 3-0 win was as a step in the right direction.

Buffalo jumps out the gate early

Saturday was Buffalo's best start of the year. But it wasn't just an impressive start -- they kept the momentum going throughout the entire game. Kyle Okposo said that Saturday was the Sabres "most complete game of the season." Buffalo will need to keep that momentum going as they head out to Winnipeg for an 3 p.m. matchup with the Jets and second overall Patrick Laine on Sunday.