Three unanswered goals in the second period were enough to spark the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night, knocking off the division rival Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2.
Five observations from Saturday's win:
Despite only having a one-goal lead, you would have to imagine the Sabres were happy with how they came out of the gate.
In the first 20 minutes, the Sabres had 16 shots, their most since they peppered the Penguins on March 5 with 21 in the opening period. Lately, the Sabres have had a hard time capitalizing on their chances, so two goals was a great way to start. Remember, this team had only six (!) in their previous five games.
Leafs tie game at 1 -- Sabres regain lead 15 seconds later with Evander Kane goal
Leafs tie game at 2 -- Sabres regain lead with Jack Eichel goal 25 seconds later
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) March 26, 2017
*Insert motivational quote about getting back up after being knocked down here*
When the Maple Leafs looked like they were ready to regain momentum the Sabres stopped them right in their tracks. It was exactly what the home team needed to do, especially with a ton of Maple Leafs fans in the building.
Fair or not, Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel will always be compared. I'm not sure which player is better and who will have the better career, I don't know if anyone knows that, but I do know the league is in good hands with superstars like Matthews and Eichel.
Matthews started the party with his 34th goal of the campaign, tying a Maple Leafs record for most goals scored in a season by a rookie. The goal gives Matthews 61 points [34G, 27A] in 74 games this year. Not a bad way to start a career, eh?
Eichel scores right after Matthews with a cannon, does his celly pic.twitter.com/epo5Y4tilf
— SabresFanatics (@SabresFanatics) March 26, 2017
Not to be outdone, Eichel blasted home a one-timer on the power play seconds later to give the Sabres a 3-2 lead. Poor Curtis McElhinney, he never stood a chance.
A few minutes later the blue and gold were once again on the power play and once again found the back of the net on a one-timer from Dmitry Kulikov. It looked like the Maple Leafs were going to clear the zone, but Eichel outmuscled a defender to steal the puck and set up the goal.
But wait, there's more! Lightning struck twice for Eichel who netted his 23rd of the season later in the second period. The celebration says it all -- Eichel is sick of being compared to Matthews and the Maple Leafs.
Jack is all of us. pic.twitter.com/6jdMplLe7S
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) March 26, 2017
LMFAO would be proud
"Shots shots shots shots shots shots
Shots shots shots shots shots
Shots shots shots shots shots
The guy that yells "SHOOT" in the 300 level would've loved this game. On Saturday the Sabres finished with 38 shots, including 32 after the first 40 minutes.
Shoot to score.
We had ourselves a donnybrook
Saturday's game had everything you'd like: Goals, big saves, huge hits and of course two teams that don't like each other. The only thing that was missing was defense from the Maple Leafs, but who needs that, right?
This isn't so much an observation, but how fun would a playoff series between these two teams be? Toronto may be closer to the playoffs this season but in the new few years, I don't think many around the league would be surprised if these two teams clashed in a playoff series.