BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — On Thursday the Buffalo Sabres gave fans a team they could appreciate, knocking off the Ottawa Senators 5-2 in the final home game of the 2018-2019 season. The win snaps an eight-game losing streak for the Sabres and is their first regulation victory since Feb. 23 against the Washington Capitals.
5 Observations from Thursday's win:
Thanks for the memories
There is a very real chance that Thursday was Jason Pominville's final game at KeyBank Center. At the morning skate, Pominville was visibly emotional when discussing the possibility of his career soon coming to an end.
In a classy move by the Sabres, Pominville was placed in the starting lineup and received a big cheer from fans, thanking him for his 10 years with the blue and gold.
In the third period, fans were as loud as they've been in months, as Pominville scored his 16th goal of the season, a fitting cherry on top for his potential last game as a Sabre. I'm not going to lie, it was a pretty cool moment for a pretty cool dude.
"Thank you for everything," Pominville said after the game. "I left probably tears and came back with a smile. Who knows what's going to happen now but I enjoyed every moment of it for sure."
"Thanks for the great years and thanks for the memorable goals in the thing we used to call the playoffs," Sabres fan Jacob Strozyk said about Pominville before the game.
"Thanks for all the memories," longtime fan Janice Anzalone added. "We'll always love you and you'll always be a Sabre to us."
If this is the end, congrats to Pominville on an outstanding career. He is without question one of the most beloved Sabres since the turn of the century both on and off the ice.
Good but not great
"We need to be better on home ice"
That sentence was uttered countless times before the season as the players made it clear they needed to be better inside KeyBank Center.
So how did they do?
In 41 games at KeyBank Center this season, the Sabres secured 47 of a possible 82 points available [21-15-5].
It was certainly better than it has been in the past but good teams dominate at home ice.
Extra Special Teams
To say the Sabres power play has been an issue this year would be putting it lightly. They've had games where the unit has looked dominant but more often than not the man advantage has tread water. On Thursday they were great, capitalizing on two of their three attempts thanks to goals from Victor Olofsson and Kyle Okposo. A good power play can be the ultimate equalizer and next season they'll need more out of their power play night in and night out.
End of the Year Award
Unsung Hero - Carter Hutton
Rookie of the Year - Rasmus Dahlin
Man of the Year - Zach Bogosian
MVP - Jack Eichel
*Voted on by the players*
None of the decisions surprise me but I do want to single out one of the aforementioned players and it has nothing to do with hockey. Zach Bogosian and his wife Bianca helped raise $75,000 for Roswell Park with their Casino for a Cause fundraiser. Say what you want about Bogosian the player but as a member of the community, there are fewer better than the Sabres alternate captain.
It has become the most overused stat from the 2018-2019 season but it's going to get used one last time. On Saturday the Buffalo Sabres have one last chance to win back-to-back games, something they haven't done since Dec. 11 and Dec. 13. How fitting would it be if they ended the season with two wins after failing to do so for nearly four months?