Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - Special teams were, once again, the difference in the Buffalo Sabres' 6-4 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night at KeyBank Center. Colorado scored three power play goals to help the team to victory.
Colorado scored first thanks to a power play chance partway through the opening period. J.T. Compher scored his second goal of the season with a shot that was deflected at the side of the net to give the Avalanche a 1-0 lead, while Tage Thompson sat for hooking.
Less than two minutes, later a nice cross-ice pass by Jack Quinn found JJ Peterka is the slot, and the young forward was able to bury the chance. Peterka's fifth goal of the season tied the score at 1-1 halfway through the opening frame. Quinn and Dylan Cozens were credited with the assists.
A late power play chance thanks to a Logan O'Connor holding penalty led to the second Buffalo goal in the first period. Thompson used quick hands to deke Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev and give the Sabres a 2-1 lead with 10.7 seconds to go in the opening stanza.
The Avalanche converted on a pair of power plays in the second period to re-take the lead against Buffalo. Colorado took advantage of a pair of penalties called within seconds of each other.
Nathan MacKinnon scored his seventh goal of the season while the visitors enjoyed a 5-on-3 man advantage. Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen assisted on the goal that tied the score at 2-2.
Less than a minute later, Artturi Lehkonen added his seventh goal of the season to give Colorado a 3-2 lead.
Just over two minutes after that, MacKinnon scored at even strength to double the lead to 4-2.
Buffalo's second power play goal of the night brought the team back to within a goal, 4-3, late in the second period. Dylan Cozens converted on a 5-on-3 power play chance thanks to a pass by Thompson.
The lead was extended back to two, 5-3, for Colorado on Compher's second goal of the night. It came with less than three minutes to go in the middle stanza and was at even strength.
Alex Tuch brought Buffalo back to within a goal again, 5-4, just seven seconds into the third period. Thompson won the faceoff to start the period, winning possession for Buffalo. Dahlin made a smart play by banking a pass off the back boards, allowing the puck to bounce right to Tuch, who scored to register his 200th career NHL point.
The only other goal of the game came thanks to a Rantanen empty-net goal with less than a minute to go in the game, giving Colorado a two-goal victory.
BUF: 10:19 - JJ Peterka (5) (Jack Quinn, Dylan Cozens); 19:49 - Tage Thompson (15) PPG (Jeff Skinner, Dylan Cozens)
COL: 8:48 - J.T. Compher (2) PPG (Nathan MacKinnon, Devon Toews)
BUF: 14:05 - Dylan Cozens (9) PPG (Tage Thompson, Jeff Skinner)
COL: 9:00 - Nathan MacKinnon (7) PPG (Cale Makar, Mikko Rantanen); 9:49 - Artturi Lehnonen (7) PPG (Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen)11:53 - ; Nathan MacKinnon (8) (Cale Maker, Devon Toews); 17:16 - J.T. Compher (3) (Logan O'Connor, Andrew Cogliano)
BUF: 0:07 - Alex Tuch (9) (Rasmus Dahlin, Tage Thompson)
COL: 19:25 - Mikko Rantanen (14) ENG (J.T. Compher, Nathan MacKinnon)
BUF: 7:27 - Tage Thompson (Hooking - 2 min.)
COL: 0:54 - Josh Manson (Cross-checking - 2 min.); 11:10 - Nathan MacKinnon (Holding - 2 min.); 19:04 - Logan O'Connor (Holding - 2 min.)
BUF: 2:07 - JJ Peterka (Holding - 2 min.); 3:52 - Kyle Okposo (Roughing - 2 min.); 7:45 - Henri Jokiharju (Hooking - 2 min.); 7:50 - Owen Power (High sticking - 2 min.)
COL: 3:52 - Artturi Lehkonen (Roughing - 2 min.); 12:20 - Mikko Rantanen (Hooking - 2 min.); 12:20 - Devon Toews (Cross-checking - 2 min.)
BUF: 1:13 - Owen Power (Delay of Game - 2 min.); 16:56 - Peyton Krebs (Hooking - 2 min.)
COL: 6:02 - Jayson Megna (Holding - 2 min.); 13:30 - Anton Blidh (Tripping - 2 min.)
Losi and Gangi Three Stars of the Game:
1.) Nathan MacKinnon - COL
2.) J.T. Compher - COL
3.) Tage Thompson - BUF
The Sabres remain home on Sunday for an evening matchup with the San Jose Sharks. Faceoff at KeyBank Center is slated for 7 p.m. EST with pregame coverage on WGR starting at 6 p.m. EST with Brian Koziol.