The Sabres solve Ben Bishop and beat the Stars

October 14, 2019 - 6:12 pm

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - The Sabres decided to initiate contact and play it tight against the Stars. Last year in Dallas, the Stars had the Sabres running scared, but Buffalo would have none of it on Monday.

In the first period, it ended up scoreless, but the Sabres had a 12-2 hitting advantage. Each team had a power play, but both teams played it tight to the vest as neither goaltender was tested.

Carter Hutton was called on in the second period to make a big save early on a deflection by Justin Dowling.

The Sabres started getting more zone time after a very good shift by the Casey Mittelstadt line. Along with wingers Jimmy Vesey and Evan Rodrigues, they were all over the Stars, but Ben Bishop stood tall.

It wasn't until a power play that they finally solved Bishop. The Stars goalie came into the game 12-0-1 in his career against the Sabres with three shutouts, but it was Victor Olofsson, again, ripping a one-timer from the right wing circle to break a NHL record. Olofsson is the first player to have the first seven goals of his career be power play goals.

I haven't liked Olofsson's 5-on-5 game all season, until this one. He got deep on a forecheck and had a long battle with the Dallas defense. He won the battle, allowing Jack Eichel to get out of the corner with the puck.

Later in the period, Olofsson was along the wall and found Sam Reinhart in front and he put it right through the huge goalie. Ralph Krueger said Eichel's line out-chanced Dallas 5-1 in 5-on-5 play.

The Sabres were credited with 16 hits through 40 minutes, and the great thing about it is nobody had more than two. Plus, 11 of the 18 skaters had at least one hit.

The Sabres entered the third period knowing they had given up a two-goal lead in each of the last two games. Buffalo won both games.

As it turned out they had nothing to worry about. Henri Jokiharju started a quick rush out of his zone, springing Vladimir Sobotka on a 3-on-1. The much maligned winger sent in Jeff Skinner alone and the winger had his fourth goal in six games.

Just 1:42 later, Sobotka won a draw back to Rasmus Ristolainen. Marcus Johansson read the play perfectly and backed out to the high slot close to the blue line. His screen shot made it through and the Sabres had their first ever regulation win against Bishop.

Hutton picked up his 12th career shutout, making 25 saves, but the weird thing is his last one was in 2018 for St. Louis in this building against the Sabres.

I think this was a very solid game for the Sabres in all three zones. They never backed down from a bigger team and initiated the contact. I realize Dallas has had a poor start to the season, but, to me, that takes nothing away from the game the Sabres played.

In my mind, this was Buffalo's most complete game of the season in all three zones and from hitting. Marcus Johansson said, "We made it hard for them, it was 60 good minutes."

The Sabres lead Boston by one point for first place in the Atlantic Division. They now head west for games in Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.

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