Buffalo N.Y. (WGR 550) - After a career night for Tage Thompson in a blowout win over the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, the Buffalo Sabres closed out the month of October with a 6-3-0 record in nine games.
The Sabres will open their November portion of the 2022-23 schedule on Wednesday night when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at KeyBank Center to wrap up a four-game homestand.
Buffalo got off to a good start this season, but it has taken time for the team's top line to start producing like it did towards the end of last season. Over the last few games, the Sabres have been getting some great production from the No. 1 trio.
This includes Thompson, who scored two goals and registered three points on Saturday night in an overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks, and followed that with a six-point night on Monday, including his second-career hat-trick.
"He has a wealth of talent and skill, and the NHL is still new to him, or this position in the NHL being among the upper-echelon is new. I think as he gains more familiarity and comfort with it, we're gonna see more-and-more moments like that," said Sabres head coach Don Granato on Tuesday during his weekly appearance on the "Howard and Jeremy Show" on WGR.
After 44:19 of play on Monday, the Sabres only held a one-goal advantage over the Red Wings, despite dominating play for most of the contest. It was at that point when the Sabres put the finishing touches on their 8-3 win, as Thompson capped off his night with another two points in the final frame.
This was also the first full game we saw Kyle Okposo on the No. 1 line with Thompson and Jeff Skinner. Granato put him there, because he sees how good his game has been in the past week.
“It was an easy move to put Kyle there. I think Tage and Skinner both followed suit, and that helped their production,” Granato said with Jeremy White and Joe DiBiase.
The Sabres defensive group has been depleted due to injury over the past couple weeks with Mattias Samuelsson, Henri Jokiharju and Ilya Lyubushkin all missing time. Granato has been impressed with the players who have stepped up in their place, including the likes of Lawrence Pilut, Casey Fitzgerald and Kale Clague.
“The guys have been really good back there," Granato said. "The demand is heavy, because there’s a lot of experience that needs to be gained. So we’re going to be challenged."
Hear more of Granato’s appearance during the “Howard and Jeremy Show” in the player below: