Buffalo hosts San Jose for Native American Heritage Night
Score: Sabres 6 | Sharks 3
Shots: BUF 38 | SJ 29
Buffalo Sabres Goals: Tage Thompson (16-PP), JJ Peterka (6), Jeff Skinner (12), Jack Quinn (5-PP, 6), Alex Tuch (12-EN)
San Jose Sharks Goals: Nick Bonino (1), Kevin Labanc (5-PP), Oskar Lindblom (1)
Plus-1: Tommer Strikes First
During their second powerplay and within minutes of their first, the Sabres found themselves on the scoreboard first thanks to reliable star forward Tage Thompson. The play began with a beautiful backhanded pass from Dylan Cozens to Ramus Dahlin at the point. Dahlin then connected with Thompson who ripped his shot at 98.4 miles per hour to find the back of the net halfway through the first period. The one-timer secured his 16th goal of the year, seven of which have been on the powerplay. Number 72 now has 72 career goals and he sure has been fun to watch so far this season.
Minus-1: Sabres Give Up First Lead a Little Too Quickly
Four minutes after Thompson’s goal, the Sharks answered with Nick Bonino’s snap shot – his first goal of the year to tie it up temporarily. It would then be Kevin Labanc on the powerplay who would steal the lead for the visiting team (luckily, their only one of the game). Labanc’s shot hit the post and bounced into the net – “top shelf where mama hides the cookies” as Rick Jeanneret would say. It was a good goal, it just happened to be for the team with the shark on their jerseys.
Plus-2: Bouncing Back is Fun
Fans have seen Buffalo blow their fair share of leads this season, so it is difficult to be optimistic about the Sabres coming back from a deficit. However, that is just what those goatheads did…twice.
Almost immediately off the opening faceoff of the second period, JJ Peterka found himself on a bit of a breakaway after a long pass from Cozens from the Sabres’ zone as he evened the score at two. Just seconds later, Thompson drew a tripping penalty and the home team found themselves back on the powerplay. It mattered not, though, as San Jose killed the penalty somewhat easily, showing why they are first in the NHL on the penalty kill.
Plus-3: Skinner and Quinn Shine
Throughout the first period, it was visibly evident that Jeff Skinner was really itching to score. He had a few solid chances, but could not connect with the back of the net. Fast forward to the second period: the winger dipsy-doodled his way around former Sabres/Amerks goaltender Aaron Dell to help the home team take back the lead, 3-2. Including tonight’s goal, Skinner now has 15 points in the last 12 games and finds himself on a bit of a tear against San Jose with a seven-game point streak.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) December 5, 2022
Let’s not forget about Jack Quinn. What can be said about the Jack that actually wants to be here? Oh so much. He had a great game tonight with both of his goals as he now has nine goals in the last eight games. Tonight marked his first powerplay goal in the NHL as well as his first multi-goal game of the season.
Tonight was the offensive game fans always hope for without the high goals against that the team has had lately. Aside from Thompson, Skinner, and Quinn, Cozens had a standout game with his three assists. To be honest, the whole Cozens/Peterka/Quinn line really stood out in the best possible way as the Sabres are now 2-0 in the goathead throwback uniform.
Another honorable mention tonight is Rasmus Dahlin, who is having just a killer year. He completely leveled Matt Nieto in the middle of the second period, executing easily the best hit of the year of anyone on the Sabres. It was so chef’s kiss, in fact, that the crew had to come out to fix the ice where the hit took place.
In additional news, Native American Heritage Night was celebrated tonight. The arena’s halls were filled with indigenous spirit dancers as the Sabres donned special jerseys – designed by local artist Carson Waterman – during warmup that will be part of an NHL auction until December 11. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Faith Keepers Montessori School and bidding can be done here: NHL Auctions.
Next up: the Sabres travel to Ohio to face the Blue Jackets on Wednesday. Puck drop is at 7:30 PM.
Tonight’s Three Stars:
1. Dylan Cozens (3A, +2)
2. Jack Quinn (2G, +2)
3. Rasmus Dahlin (2A, +1)