BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Linus Ullmark turned away 24 of the 25 shots he faced, lifting the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders. Jeff Skinner, Jason Pominville, and Johan Larsson scored for the Sabres, who improve to 28-21-7 on the season.
Five observations from Tuesday’s win:
63 > 62
With 26 games left to play the 2018-2019 Sabres have already surpassed their point total from last season. Whether that says more about this years team or last years team remains to be seen. However, it's clear the Sabres have taken major steps in the right direction. If nothing else, at least they're playing important games in February and if everything goes according to plan, maybe even March and April.
Lights Out Linus
Linus Ullmark was awesome against the Islanders, earning first star honors thanks to his 24 save performance. His biggest save came in the third period, as he turned away Cal Clutterbuck on a breakaway, keeping the Sabres ahead 2-1.
With the win, Ullmark improves to an impressive 13-5-4 on the season and is appearing to start to run away with the starting job. Housley certainly hasn't declared Ullmark the starter but it's obvious he's getting more starts and a bigger chunk of the workload, especially over the last few weeks. There are areas where Ullmark needs to improve but as the season continues he's certainly showing fans and his teammates that he has the potential to be a very good starting goaltender in the NHL.
Dishing 'Em Out
Jack Eichel tallied two helpers on Tuesday, raising his season total to a whopping 43 assists in 53 games played. Despite only registering one-shot on former teammate Robin Lehner, Eichel was one of the Sabres most impactful players against the Islanders.
Hooray for Hunwick
In only his fifth game of the season, I thought Matt Hunwick was solid at both ends of the ice. When it was appropriate, the veteran defender was jumping into the rush and pinching to keep pucks in the offensive zone.
At the other end of the rink, Hunwick looked very composed, tying up defenders in front of the net and forcing the Islanders to the outside. With Zach Bogosian day-to-day and constant shuffling on the blue line, I think Hunwick is earning either more playing time or at the very least a roster spot. With Nathan Beaulieu potentially on the trading block and Casey Nelson nearing a return, Hunwick has proven to be a reliable veteran, albeit in a very small sample size.
More than hockey
Before the start of the game between the Sabres and Islanders, there was a moment of silence at 7:04 p.m. to honor and remember the 50 people who died in the tragic crash of Continental Flight 3407 10-years-ago Tuesday.
If you're a #Sabres fan, this will give you goosebumps.— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) February 12, 2019
With one shot from @craigrivet52 & a deflection from Jason Pominville, the once silent HSBC Arena erupted, as the Sabres sent their game on 02/13/2009 to overtime with 3.9 seconds to play. Full story at 6 p.m. on @WKBW pic.twitter.com/n8xziMDwVb
Just hours after the tragedy the Sabres hosted the San Jose Sharks. What followed was a game that helped the healing process in Western New York and gave light to a city on one of its darkest days.