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5 Observations: Sabres take down Kings 5-1

5 Observations: Sabres take down Kings 5-1
Posted at 6:18 PM, Oct 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-20 18:18:10-04

For the first time in 15 years, the Buffalo Sabres are leaving Los Angeles victorious. On Saturday afternoon the Sabres knocked off the Kings 5-1, improving to 4-4 on the season and 2-2 on their current West coast road trip. Jeff Skinner scored his third goal of the evening [empty-net] with 25 seconds left while Jack Eichel and Jason Pominville each tallied three points. 

5 Observations from Saturday's win:

How Swede It Is 

Linus Ullamrk has stopped *almost* every shot he's faced this season. On Saturday against the Kings, he wasn't tested often but turned away 19 of the 20 shots he faced. 

What has been most impressive about Ullmark up to this point is how calm he has looked in net. Even when the play breaks down and chaos ensues in front of the net, Ullmark has looked composed and has been there to keep things under control.

Despite his second straight win, I'd imagine the Sabres go back to Hutton tomorrow with another game in less than 24 hours. That said, Ullmark has proven he deserves more playing time moving forward. 

It worked 

Like many of you, I was pretty skeptical about the most recent shuffling of the Sabres lines. Turns out, propelling Jason Pominville to the top line with Jack Eichel and Skinner worked extremely well. 

In the first period, Pominville was rewarded for getting to the net, and slammed home [sort of] a loose puck to give the Sabres a 1-0 lead. 20 minutes later the line capitalized again when Pominville found Eichel along the wall. The Sabres captain won a battle and the puck ended up on Skinner's stick, who wrapped it to the front of the net and fired home a quick shot doubling the lead. Moments later Skinner was there to strike again, tallying his second goal of the afternoon and the third for the newly formed line. 

At games end, Skinner finished with three goals, Pominville tallied a goal and two assists and Eichel had three helpers. You can bet this trio will be together again tomorrow to see if they can build off a great game in Los Angeles. 

Suberb second period 

In the middle frame, the Sabres outshot their opponent 13-3 turning a one-goal lead into a 4-0 advantage. Although it has been a very small sample size, the second period against the Kings was likely the Sabres most dominant period so far this season. 

*Oprah voice* -- You get a goal!

Remember last season when the Sabres couldn't buy a goal from one of their defenders? Things have changed.

After just eight games these five (!) defensemen have scored this season:

-Marco Scandella
-Nathan Beaulieu
-Rasmus Dahlin
-Jake McCabe
-Zach Bogosian 

Where you at, Ristolainen? 

While it's not fair to assume a Sabres defensemen will score every other game, this is certainly a big step in the right direction. 

Little things

In the last few games, I've been very impressed with the play of Evan Rodrigues. Despite getting kept off the score sheet, Rodrigues has made some very solid plays at both ends of the ice. Rodrigues won't wow you with his offensive ability but more often than not he makes the smart play. With lines continually getting shuffled and different players sitting every game, I'd imagine Rodrigues has earned a spot on the third or fourth line every single game.  

Follow Matt Bove on Twitter!

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