The Sabres took the Stanley Cup champions right to the end before losing in a shootout

December 15, 2018 - 10:24 pm

Washington, DC (WGR 550) - The Sabres got off to a good start, but it only lasted for 58 seconds. Just as a power play ended, Jack Eichel deposited the puck in a wide open net off a rebound to give the Sabres the lead. Eichel now has 22 points in his last 15 games.

Generally Carter Hutton is excellent behind the net handling the puck, but for the second game in a row, he mishandled the puck and Devonte Smith-Pelley grabbed it and immediately found an open Brett Connolly to tie it.

The Sabres had a sloppy period and another Matt Tennyson turnover wound up in the net faster than the turned over puck. Tennyson handed it to Evgeny Kuznetsov and he in one motion found Jakub Vrana in front and his quick release gave Washington its first lead.

Buffalo had a couple of late opportunities in the first period, but Conor Sheary missed the net one a 2-on-1 and Kyle Okposo was stopped from the slot by Pheonix Copley a few seconds later.

I liked the poke check Hutton made on Alex Ovechkin as he cruised in from the left point on the power play.

In the second period, Jack Eichel scored a goal that you will never forget. On the power play he flew up the right wing and left Dmitry Orlov’s jock on the ice. In one motion after he flew by, Eichel put it under the bar on Copley. It is absolutely the goal of the year.

Buffalo got another power play and this time it was Rasmus Dahlin closing in near the net to pick up his third point of the game.

Nate Beaulieu left early in the second period after getting crushed against the wall by Tom Wilson leaving the Sabres with five defensemen. Tennyson tried to force a pass to Vladimir Sobotka who had two Washington players on him and of course it was Ovechkin at the top of the circle and he had all night to rip home his 29th of the season. Dahlin got caught watching Ovechkin instead of closing on him.

In the third period Buffalo had two early chances when Sheary made a slick pass to Kyle Okposo off the post who couldn’t covert and then Eichel put the puck to the paint twice hitting legs and skates, but couldn’t get a bounce.

Hutton made a huge save on Ovechkin right after the as he found himself open down the slot.

In the end you could tell the Sabres were playing the defending Stanley Cup champions, but the good news is they were a Sam Reinhart post away in the last minute of the third period from winning the game. Eichel found Reinhart wide open and the winger just mishit the puck.

Buffalo controlled overtime, but still could get the game winning goal. Casey Mittelstadt scored the only shootout goal and Washington won, but I’ll tell you what, the champs knew they were in a game. Eichel led off the shootout hitting the post and had that gone in, once again Buffalo would’ve had its two points.

After the game Phil Housley announced that Lawrence Pilut has a lower body injury and is day-to-day. We’ll find more out on Beaulieu on Sunday.

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