5 Observations: Sabres take down Blues 3-2

5 Observations: Sabres take down Blues 3-2
Posted at 4:27 PM, Feb 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-18 16:33:59-05

The Buffalo Sabres haven't had three more wins than regulation losses since 2012. That all changed on Saturday afternoon, with a 3-2 in over the St. Louis Blues.

Five observations from Saturday's win:

Salubrious Second

Are the Buffalo Sabres all of a sudden a solid second-period team? That may be a stretch, but on Saturday the Sabres outscored a high-powered Blues team 2-0 in the middle frame.

It by no means was a perfect period, but it's the second game in three days where the Sabres have looked like the better team in the second.

Less than a week ago players were talking about how bad they've been in the second period and how it was something that needed to be fixed. Since the Sabres are 3-0 and have scored two more goals than their opponents in the second.

Killer penalty kill

The Sabres penalty kill hasn't been very good this season, and that's putting it lightly, but on Saturday they were great.

In the final minutes, the Blues went to the man-advantage after a questionable tripping call on Robin Lehner. It was a perfect opportunity for the Blues to tie the game and send things into overtime, but the penalty kill stepped up when the Sabres needed it the most.

Jack Attack

In the first period, Jack Eichel took over.

It started when he flew into the offensive zone on a Sabres power play, pulling off a ridiculous move to juke around Blues defender Joel Edmundson. Eichel then slid a perfect pass across the ice to teammate Ryan O'Reilly, who wasn't able to put it home.

While the aforementioned play was the prettier, a few minutes later Eichel created another scoring chance when he flew by two Blues defenders at the far blue line. As he entered the zone Eichel hit Nicholas Baptiste with a perfect backhand saucer pass, tying the game at one.

Eichel didn't find the back of the net, but he reminded us how talented he is when he has the puck. For what it's worth, Eichel was on the ice for all three Sabres goals.

I'll be missing you

Baptiste scored a goal and had an assist, but the Sabres still could've used Sam Reinhart, the man Baptiste was replacing in the lineup.

His absence was most noticeable on the power play, where he was replaced by Matt Moulson. Not surprisingly, the Sabres league-best power play was only okay and finished the night 1-for-6, scoring their only goal with a two-man advantage. I'm not suggesting that Reinhart would've single-handedly fixed Saturday's man-advantage woes, but he could've helped.

Luckily for the Sabres, Reinhart missed the game because of an illness and isn't expected to miss much time.

*Side note* Baptiste was pretty fun to watch on Saturday afternoon. I'm not exactly sure what the Sabres can do, but it would be nice to see him get some more playing time. It doesn't hurt that he played with Jack Eichel and Evander Kane, but credit where credit is due.

Oh hey, Evander Kane

In the second period, a sold out KeyBank Center erupted when Evander Kane 'scored' on a two-on-one, or so they thought.  The puck didn't go in -- it clanked off the post and fell to the ice without crossing the goal line. No goal.

Have no fear, Kane scored for real a few minutes later to give the Sabres a 2-1 lead on a deflection in front of the net. The goal is Kane's 20th of the season, the first member of the Sabres to reach the 20-goal mark.

Lately, Kane has been on fire and has 14 points (8G, 6A) in 13 games. Once again Kane scored while at even-strength and is now tied for sixth in the NHL with 19 even strength goals. 

As the trade deadline rapidly approaches talk of trading Kane will run rampant. If the Sabres can get a bonafide top-tier defender then I understand the logic, but for any less I think the Sabres need to keep Kane. He's scoring at an incredible rate and looks like the player General Manager Tim Murray traded for two years ago. There's off the ice issues to keep in mind, but on the ice, Kane has been fantastic. 

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