BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — After dropping two straight games, the Buffalo Sabres have their first win of the season, topping the Philadelphia Flyers 6-1 Tuesday night to improve to 1-2-0.
Sam Reinhart and Curtis Lazar each had two goals in the win while Carter Hutton got the win in net. The Sabres will be back on the ice Tuesday night for another meeting with the Flyers.
5 Observations from Monday's game:
Right on their tails
The Sabres turned on the pressure right off the bat and it continually paid off. With minutes to go in the 1st period, Jeff Skinner forced the Flyers D to back up a little bit and, in the process, forced a turnover. Curtis Lazar grabbed hold of the puck, took his time, and gave the Sabres their first lead all season with a nice backhand shot.
Later in the 2nd period, Taylor Hall took control along the boards, got it to Jack Eichel, who in turn got it to a wide-open Sam Reinhart who netted the team's 3rd goal of the game. The Sabres played aggressive in this one from start to finish and it showed. They out-shot the Flyers 11-4 after the first 20 minutes, 26-15 after 40 minutes and 36-21 by the end of the game.
Sometimes change is good
The Sabres kicked off their first series with a top line of Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, and Tage Thompson. Fans were a little uncertain about the pairing, wondering why Jeff Skinner or Sam Reinhart weren't plugged in there. Following their first series, coach Ralph Krueger said he was going to change things up and on Monday, we saw Reinhart finally join that top line.
Reinhart had a lot of success with Eichel last season and he got right to work, scoring two goals in the first two periods - both with assists from Eichel and Hall. Sometimes change can be good, and I think it's safe to say we can now let things be.
Next man up
The Sabres had every intention to start Linus Ullmark in net after a pretty good performance in the team's 2-1 loss to Washington last Friday. Instead, just a few hours before the game, the team announced Ullmark would not play due to "personal reasons". It was next man up as Carter Hutton got the call, trying to salvage his performance in the team's season opener in which he allowed five goals.
I'm sure fans were moaning and groaning before puck drop but by the end, they had to be pleased. The defense played a huge part but also give Hutton credit for not only stopping 21 shots but allowing just one [late] goal from a team that scored a combined 11 in their first two games.
Don't be so nice
Fans went crazy on social media when the Sabres had their best first chance of the game and blew it. Midway through the 1st period, Eichel had a clear shot on net during a 2-on-0 but instead of taking the shot, he sent the puck to Skinner who couldn't handle the pass. What should've been an easy goal for the Captain turned into nothing. I know Eichel likes to spread the love, I know he prides himself on assists just as much as he likes to score, but he should've handled that one on his own. Sometimes it's okay to not be so nice, and just shoot.
Finding their mojo
How many people asked, "Who is this team and where did the Buffalo Sabres go"? You weren't alone. In the team's first game of the season, we saw a sluggish-looking squad who couldn't really do much. The second game showed signs of what "could be". This third game is what Sabres fans have been hoping for and fans should be excited about what's to come, based on their progress from that first game a few days ago.
They're playing with fire, they're starting to gel, they're capitalizing, and they look like a team. I say this with caution since we've seen sparks like this in the past, but for now, I'm going to be optimistic and say, "keep it coming".