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Arizona @ Buffalo 2021/10/16


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Another fun one to be at.  A few more fans at this one, but doubt they broke 3,500.  (Officially 7,800 or so, but it wasn't close to that.)  String together a few more wins & the crowds will come back at least a bit.  The crowd was, again for only 3,000 or so in the large building, very loud.  They definitely were supportive.

 

The final score SOOOOOOOOO did not reflect how the game went.  The ice was tilted in the Sabres direction all 3 periods & in the OT too.  Except for the few minutes following the imaginary penalty on Olofsson that included the goal saving penalty by Miller in the 2nd the Yotes couldn't mount any consistent pressure.  Don't know what the stat sheet showed, but IMHO Arizona had 3 real scoring chances and scored on their 1st one.

 

Cody friggin' Eakin saved the day following up on the rush at the end of a PP at the beginning of the 2nd to knot it up.  The Sabres should've had at least 6 today.  Hinostroza on a breakaway & Girgensons trying to finish a SH 2-on-1 both decided it was better to deke until they were below the goal line than to take a shot above it.  Those were both in the 2nd & Thompson missed a wide open net after setting up in the slot in the middle of that period.

 

Cozens continues his gripping the stick too tight early in the 3rd whiffing on another open net & then getting dumped on his butt trying to find the puck for another chance at it.  R2 Rou2 put the puck over the net on a breakaway after getting the goalie down on his stomach.

 

They outshot AZ badly in the 1st, 14-5.  The game flow was NOT as close as the score nor shots indicated.   The Yotes want 32nd place & honestly can't se anyone taking that from them, especially if they keep Hutton in the rotation,  70 (along w/ help from Sabres shooters) singlehandedly kept this a game.

 

Eakin played the best game he's had as a Sabre.  Dahlin had 1 of his best as a Sabre.  Whether that was him getting his confidence back, Granato's influence, getting away from Jokiharju, or playing the worst team in the league don't know.  But he is looking like the kid that showed up at the WJC's a few years back.  Which is awesome.

 

Hinostroza continues to find himself around the puck, which is great, but he also continues to display the hands of your typical beer leaguer, which is not so great. 

 

All 3 D pairings worked today, but Vancouver will be a tougher challenge & Friday's game against the B's is downright scary.  

 

Tokarski continues to show sometimes it takes a long time to figure it out as he maintained his Tim Thomas impression.  Would love to see that continue.  The 1 goal he gave up was a bad breakdown in in-zone coverage and was not on him.

 

Okposo & Z continue to take wearing a letter seriously.

 

Have never seen a ref get in the way of more pucks &/or players than L'Ecuyer managed to get in the way of.  He was as bad at positioning as he was in calling penalties.  (Or not calling them.)

 

The last few minutes of regulation were rather nerve wracking as it seemed they'd find a way to blow it, but didn't.  OT was the dullest in a long time.  Great job at both ends in the shootout as both Thompson & Ruotsalainen redeemed themselves.  Tokarski was nearly perfect as he got a big chunk of Schmaltz' shot but just couldn't control it.

 

Great start to the year.  Next week's games will be much more challenging.  

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Oct 16, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Arttu Ruotsalainen (25) celebrates his shootout goal with teammates against the Arizona Coyotes at KeyBank Center. Image Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

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