At least one Buffalo pro sports team picked up a road victory Thursday night. The Buffalo Sabres, fresh off five days of rest put a beating on Arizona over 52 minutes before holding on for dear life over the last eight to defeat the Coyotes, 5-4.
Both teams stunk in the first period before Oliver Ekmann-Larsson scored for Arizona as the Yotes came within a second, literally of skating off the ice after one with a lead. Kyle Okposo netted his first of the season on a pass from Benoit Pouliot with 0.9 seconds left before the horn went off.
Buffalo carried the momentum in the second and first half of the third periods, with Seth Griffith and Evander Kane goals sandwiched between a pair of Pouliot tallies as Buffalo built a 5-1 lead before staving off a furious Arizona rally.
Robin Lehner allowed four goals and only made 25 saves but don’t be fooled—many of them were difficult.
MVP: I thought it was time for Pouliot to find himself on the waiver wire after doing nothing over the first six games, but fortunately Jason Botterill didn’t feel the same. He looks comfortable playing with Okposo and Ryan O’Reilly and is playing well, scoring all four of his goals over the past five games. It’s critical to get a second line going after the Jack Eichel combo and Pouliot is now pulling his weight.
LVP: Jason Pominville was a minus-two and registered just one shot on net in 13:44 of ice time. It’s unreasonable to expect Pommers to keep his excellent early pace but we should see more of him than we did last night.
UP NEXT: Buffalo broke a two-game losing streak and improved to 4-7-2 on the season. They stay on the road to face the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.