BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — That's a wrap on another season in Buffalo and the team ended things on a high note. With a 3-2 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks, the Sabres ended the 2021-22 season with a win, giving them a 32-39-11 overall record.
Quick game night and end of season observations:
All the rage for Tage
When the Sabres were down 1-0 in the 3rd period they needed a spark, and their leading goal scorer gave them that. Thompson scored no. 38 on the season off a pass from Jeff Skinner, bringing the crowd to their feet and tying the game 1-1.
With 68 points in 78 games, Tage Thompson had an incredible season. His 38 goals and 30 assists weren’t just the 1st and 2nd best on the roster respectively, they were well more than his previous season highs. In fact, in the years prior, Thompson had a combined 18 goals and 17 assists [he only played in one game during the 2019-20 season].
Thompson has continued to evolve since Training Camp under head coach Don Granato and has become an aggressive and reliable center this team needed. The future is bright for Thompson as he continues to develop, grow, and feed off of the energy surrounding him.
He's got the Power
Down 2-1 with around five minutes to go in the game, the newest member of the Sabres came up big. Owen Power, playing in his eighth career game, took his shot and scored his 2nd goal of the season and tied the game 2-2. It was Power's first goal on home ice and drew a roar from the crowd as they witnessed the first of many goals inside KeyBank Center.
Teammates have been impressed with Power and his play in such a short period of time and as one of the many young defensemen on the roster, there's a lot to look forward to.
Overtime win for RJ
Friday night not only marked the season finale for the Sabres, it marked RJ's last call. It only makes sense that the Sabres ended things with one final overtime goal for Rick Jeanneret's last ever broadcast. With time winding down in the extra period of play, Casey Mittelstadt found an opening and secured the team's final win of the season. RJ has called plenty of overtime wins in his career, but Friday night may have been the most special, because it was his last.
The team honored the longtime play-by-play announcer earlier this month with a special pregame ceremony, but Friday night, they honored him once again with a "final salute" following the game.
Teamwork and spreading the love
We’ve given you Thompson’s stats, but he’s not the only guy who’s capitalized several times this season. Playing for each other has been a huge topic of conversation and that camaraderie is paying off on the ice in more ways than one.
Nine players this season scored 10 or more goals, including four scoring 20 or more. The team hasn’t seen that many players capitalize in a single season since 2010-2011 when 11 players reached that mark. When you have multiple guys scoring and feeding on any given night, it leads to good things and in this case, it leftest to a team playing for each other and having fun doing it.
Belief in Buffalo
For the 11th straight year, the Sabres are not heading to the postseason. But this season finale felt different than years past because for the first time in a while, there’s a belief surrounding this team that things are really headed in the right direction. It could take another year or two for this team to get there, but the players, coaches, and fans can see something has shifted in a good way.