OPINION: Thompson continues to do things we haven't seen for many years in Buffalo

Tage Thompson scored five goals in Columbus, becoming just the second Sabres player to ever do it
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Columbus, Ohio (WGR 550) – Tage Thompson just continues to do special things, but Wednesday in Columbus was very special. By the time the first period was over, Thompson had become the first player in Buffalo Sabres history to have five points in a period, and the seventh player in NHL history to have five points in the first period.

Thompson is now the only player in Sabres history to score four goals in a period. Plus, he is only the second Sabres player to ever score five goals in a game, joining Dave Andreychuk.

Thompson had three goals and three assists for a six-point night on Halloween against the Detroit Red Wings. He is now the second player in team history to have two six-point games in a season, joining Pat LaFontaine, who had two six-point games in 1992.

I have to admit, I was expecting to hear that Gil Perreault had done it with the "French Connection" line, but he hadn’t.

Thompson had seven shots in the first period alone, tying the record set by both Max Afinogenov and Jason Pominville.

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With 40 points in 26 games, Thompson is now fourth in NHL scoring. At this pace, he’d end up with 66 goals and 60 assists for 126 points.

Thompson’s 21 goals is third in the league behind Jason Robertson of the Dallas Stars (23) and Connor McDavid (24). Thompson is also third in the NHL with 121 shots on goal.

Believe it or not, Timo Meier of the San Jose Sharks leads with 136 shots.

The win makes the Sabres 5-2-1 in the eight games since their eight-game losing streak.

Buffalo is winning lately, because the team is scoring. The Sabres lead the NHL, averaging four goals per-game, yet they’re 24th in the NHL with a points percentage of .481.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made some great saves in the first 30 minutes of the game, including a penalty shot by Gustav Nyquist. The 23-year-old looked confident, he was tracking the puck well and made some key saves.

At 10:49 of the second period, Patrik Laine, who has one of the heaviest shots in the NHL, led a 3-on-2 rush and put it through Luukkonen between his arm and his body. Nyquist then scored a goal from the right wing at the top of the circle. His shot from distance caught the far side of the net, as Luukkonen was way off his angle.

When it was over, Luukkonen had given up four goals again.

Casey Mittelstadt and Victor Olofsson were, again, on the ice for two Columbus goals, making them minus-2 in a game, where the Sabres scored nine goals.

Peyton Krebs had another good, hardworking game playing center for Zemgus Girgensons and Kyle Okposo. The kid was rewarded for his effort by scoring his first goal of the season. Krebs came into the offensive zone chasing the defense. He easily won the battle with a very casual Laine, made a good move to the net and scored.

The two Columbus goalies were hung out to dry in this game.

Joonas Korpisalo gave up three goals on five shots before being pulled at 7:28 of the first period. Elvis Merzlikins then played 32:32, giving up six goals on 21 shots before Korpisalo went back in for the third period, stopping the four shots he faced. His night was three goals on nine shots in 27:28 of work.

Alex Tuch has been quietly on a scoring binge for the Sabres. He had a goal and three assists on Wednesday, giving him six goals and 11 assists for 17 points in his last 11 games.

Jeff Skinner had four assists, giving him seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points in his last eight games. That tied Skinner for second in scoring in the NHL with Connor McDavid since Nov. 22.

Thompson leads the NHL in scoring in that timeframe with nine goals and nine assists for 18 points.

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Dylan Cozens had a three-point night, making him the league’s fourth-leading scorer since Nov. 22 with six goals and nine assists for 15 points.

Thompson was, of course, thrilled with his night, but said during his postgame comments how this team isn’t even close to where they want to be, and there’s still a lot of work ahead starting Friday at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Photo credit Losi and Gangi
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