Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – There were parts of Friday night's game with the Washington Capitals where the Buffalo Sabres had their game, and there were other parts where they didn’t.
Washington dominated early in this game and took a 1-0 lead. Midway through the first period, Jeff Skinner put a backhand shot towards Ilya Samsonov, and sure enough, it got by him to tie the game at 1-1.
For the rest of the first period, the Sabres woke up and played much better.
It was that topsy-turvy game all night for the Sabres, but they still got the game to a shootout before losing, 4-3. That gives the Sabres seven out of eight points and 15 out of 22 points.
Buffalo also took three out of four points from the top-two road teams in the NHL in Washington and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Sabres hadn’t trailed in three complete games, but Anthony Mantha changed that just 9:15 in.
In the second period, Buffalo trailed 2-1 when Skinner put one through Samsonov, and Victor Olofsson and Casey Mittelstadt executed a slick give-and-go play that resulted in Olofsson putting away a layup. Those two goals came in a span of 2:32.
Later in the period, Evgeny Kuznetsov won a faceoff to Alex Ovechkin, and he ripped a screened laser past Dustin Tokarski, which eventually sent the game to overtime.
This game was another example of the Sabres not having their A-game, but figuring out a way to be in it right to the end and to get a point out of it.
Buffalo only had 23 shots in 65 minutes of play, but they put numerous shots wide and missed by, my count, three open nets with Samsonov down and out.
Olofsson couldn’t believe he put the puck over the top of the net with Samsonov laying on the ice halfway to the corner and Ovechkin sliding across the ice, trying to get a piece of the shot. It was obvious Olofsson got distracted by Ovechkin.
In the overtime period, I found it interesting that head coach Don Granato only used Rasmus Dahlin and Henri Jokiharju on defense with two forwards. Both played over 26 minutes for the game.
With the team getting better, attendance is getting slightly better.
There were 9,740 at the game Friday and 9,399 there Wednesday against the Penguins. Before that, 12,437 showed up for Jack Eichel’s return, and two games before that, 10,775 were there for "Kids Day".
In the beginning of the season, between 7,000 and 8,500 showed up.
Now the Sabres take to the road for a game on Sunday against the New York Rangers, followed by Monday against the Chicago Blackhawks.