Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – The Buffalo Sabres closed out their four-game homestand on Wednesday with another exciting come-from-behind victory for their fans, as well as the players' moms who are here for the mother’s trip.
The Pittsburgh Penguins scored a power play goal just eight seconds into the third period to grab a 3-1 lead. For the second time in their three-game winning streak, Buffalo has overcome a 3-1 third period deficit.
This time, the Sabres scored five unanswered goals to hand the Penguins their sixth-straight loss.
It all started with the Sabres' two No. 1 overall picks.
Rasmus Dahlin was quarterbacking a power play and found Tage Thompson in the left circle for a one-timer, giving the Sabres a power play goal in seven of their last eight games. It was also Thompson’s sixth goal in three games.
Just 3:08 later, it was Owen Power’s turn, who was enjoying his best game of the season. Victor Olofsson got the puck back to Power at the left point. He started his journey down the slot and totally fooled Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith into thinking he was shooting. Power sent a perfect pass back to Olofsson, who was locked and loaded in the right circle. DeSmith wasn’t anywhere near Olofsson’s one-timer, which tied the game at 3-3.
Thompson showed up again midway through the third period to lead a 2-on-1 rush that was such a good pass to Alex Tuch. All the winger had to do was steer the puck past DeSmith for his seventh goal of the season and the game-winner.
It was another two-point night for Thompson, who now has 11 points in his last three games. Overall, Thomson has seven goals and seven assists for 14 points in 10 games, making him the league’s eighth-leading scorer.
Buffalo is second in the NHL, scoring 4.30 goals per-game. In 10 games, Olofsson has eight goals, while Thompson and Tuch have seven, and Dahlin has six. Olofsson is third in the NHL in goal scoring.
Early in the game, the Sabres were giving up multiple 2-on-1 rushes. At the other end, they fanned on quite a few shots of their own. For 40 minutes, they just seemed out of sync.
In the past, they just would’ve gone away quietly and lost to the Penguins. But in this game, they held Sidney Crosby off the score sheet and are now 7-3-0. That puts Buffalo fourth in the NHL, but the team is still second in the Atlantic Division, because the Boston Bruins are on a six-game winning streak.
Sabres head coach Don Granato has done such a great job in making these young players believe in themselves. They can play poorly for 40 minutes and still get to their game in the third period and win.
Evidence of that is in the third period of games this season, Buffalo has outscored their opponents, 20-7. In the first period, it’s 10-10, and it's 12-11, Buffalo in the second frame.
Now we do have to be honest, it was obvious Pittsburgh got worn down, because they had played an overtime game on Tuesday before flying to Buffalo.
The Sabres have gotten off to a great start, but Granato loves to play good teams, because he thinks it makes his team better. He will get his wish this weekend, as the players and their moms head to Carolina and Tampa Bay for games on Friday and Saturday.
Next week, the Vegas Golden Knights and Bruins come to town. Boston, Vegas and Carolina are the top-three teams in the NHL. The Lightning are 11th.
The Sabres are not going to be sneaking up on teams anymore. I think after their final 28 games of last season and their first 10 of this season, teams around the league know this is a young and improved team.