The Sabres have been looking for a 60 minute effort and got one on Thursday

December 13, 2018 - 10:22 pm

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - All the Coyotes do is play close games so it comes as no surprise that it was a 2-1 game after 40 minutes. Arizona comes in with three straight losses, but the scores were 4-3 in Boston, 5-3 at home to San Jose and 4-2 on home ice against Washington.

Buffalo got off to a fast start as they have done a lot lately scoring two goals in the first 6:54 of the game. Both goals were caused because of speed and transition.

Conor Sheary got back and caused a turnover in the neutral zone and quickly turned it into a 3-on-2 the other way. He fell as he got to the left circle but still found Casey Mittelstadt coming down the middle. The rookie got a bullet off quickly to net his first goal in nine games.

Sam Reinhart made a great saucer pass in his own zone to a breaking Jack Eichel. Both the captain and Jeff Skinner turned the afterburners on and Eichel found his winger for a breakaway and his 22nd goal of the season.

I thought the Sabres were using their speed and getting up ice well which was limiting the zone time of the Coyotes.

Hutton is one of the best goalies in the NHL at handling the puck, but he had problems with one behind the net leading to Christian Fischer’s wraparound goal. He said after the game that he didn't like the play he made. Hutton did almost score a goal as he went for it with the goaltender out, but Oliver Ekman-Larsson got his stick on it to knock it down.

The Sabres couldn’t get that third goal in the first period as Skinner walked in and hit the post.

The shots in the first were 7-7, but I thought Buffalo had the better of the play.

In the intermission, Brian Koziol and I were wondering how the Sabres would handle the second, because it’s been bad many times this season. I actually thought it wasn’t too bad. There were a few stretches where Buffalo got into trouble in their own zone and Hutton had to make some big saves. He made two great ones from in front when the team got especially sloppy.

Once they got through that, Tage Thompson did a nice spin-o-rama move only to be stopped by Kuemper. Kyle Okposo also had a nice chance, but he hit the post.

Buffalo got 15 shots on Kuemper in the second period while Hutton made 13 saves.

The Sabres were keeping it pretty tight in the third period and killed off the first penalty of the game in great fashion. The Sabres lofted a puck out of the zone that Niklas Hjalmarsson couldn’t handle. As he fumbled with it, Evan Rodrigues swooped in and took off. By the time he was done he had his 2nd goal of the season and first in 10 games.

I thought the Sabres did a great job of locking it down in the third period. They outshot the Coyotes 11-6 with the final two shots coming with the goaltender pulled.

Hutton had to make a great save in the third when Matt Tennyson coughed the puck up to Conor Garland.

The Sabres only had 11 wins at home all of last year and now they have 11 on Dec. 13. The homestand didn't go well at first, but in the end Buffalo wound up 2-1-1 with games coming in Washington and Boston this weekend.

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