Islanders’ frustration shows as Sabres never trail in home matinee
Score: Sabres 5 | 3 Islanders
Shots: BUF 35 | NYI 22
Buffalo Sabres Goals: Casey Mittelstadt (5), Rasmus Dahlin (13-PP), Tage Thompson (37), Vinnie Hinostroza (13), Jeff Skinner (33)
New York Islanders Goals: Mathew Barzal (15), Noah Dobson (12), Ryan Pulock (4)
Plus 1: On the Board First
Casey Mittelstadt, following the expiration of a Sabres penalty kill, found the puck at center ice during a quick transition to a two-on-one just over halfway through the first period to put Buffalo on the scoreboard first. The forward had to think fast before his nice wrister to bury the puck on the far side and it was a beauty. Buffalo has had some huge struggles this season – not only getting the lead first but maintaining it – so it is always a plus to see the effort early on.
Plus 2: Tage > Jack
Well, it was bound to happen and it is probably safe to say that fans are elated about this one. Tage Thompson, who is having a superb year, has not only far surpassed his own personal best, but he now has more goals in a season than Jack Eichel ever did with Buffalo. Today’s goal was brought to you by a nice play set up near the blue line by Victor Olofsson who passed it over to Jacob Bryson before Thompson “destroyed that one” (as RJ said) with a one-timer on the short side. Tommer is now on a six-game point streak with five goals and four assists (one of these assists was on the Skinner goal today). He also sits with Alex Ovechkin in a tie for sixth-most goals at home this season. Will he make it to 40 total this year? One can hope!
Minus 1: Second Last RJ Game…Ever
Now that today’s game is over, we now have to face the very sad realization that the Sabres have one lone game left to be called by Rick Jeanneret ever. It was a day we all knew had to come but no one wants to face. Perhaps tonight’s best call was right after Skinner’s goal: “Like a dog after a bone, Jeff Skinner stayed right with it until he jammed it home. Buffalo is up by two again!”
If you had the tissues out for his ceremony on April 1, you may need to grab them again for his actual last call on Friday, April 29, which will also be fan appreciation night.
From Twitter, it is summed up best here: “RJ, you are my childhood. ‘We are not worthy’ having you as our announcer for 51 seasons. Thank you for everything you did! Have a great retirement!” – @Staledorito35
While it is disappointing to miss yet another playoff season, fans should be excited for the future. This team is the first group of guys that has genuinely become fun to watch in over a decade. An honorable mention also needs to go to Jeff Skinner, who had a goal and an assist today and annoyed a majority of the Islanders players in the process (one of his best qualities, no doubt). At one point he agitated Matt Martin so much, they caused a bit of a scrum at center ice during the third period.
With today’s game, Buffalo has now scored five or more goals in three consecutive games for the first time since 2008. This is also the Sabres’ first four-game winning streak of the entire 2021-2022 season.
1. Tage Thompson
2. Rasmus Dahlin
3. Vinnie Hinostroza
With two more games remaining – Thursday, April 28 and Friday, April 29, respectively – let us all just bask in the fun for both and enjoy RJ during the latter. Let’s go, Buffalo!