KeyBank Center Hosts The Rematch Sabres vs Canucks
Two teams both coming off of blow out losses will meet Saturday in Buffalo. The Sabres vs Canucks will be a rematch of the December 7th game that finished 6-5 in overtime for Vancouver. After thinking, he scored to end the game Jake Eichel's goal was called back. Henri Jokiharju was sent off for Interference on Jake Virtanen. J.T. Miller scored on the ensuing powerplay to seal it for Vancouver.
Buffalo is coming into today's game after a 5-1 loss to the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues. Eichel scored the lone goal while Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Dahlin had the assists. They were no match for the Blues line of Tyler Bozak, Robert Thomas and Alex Steen who combined for 9 points. They will need to muster more than 19 shots if they want to have a better game Sabres vs Canucks.
Linus Ullmark took the loss-making 26 saves on 30 shots. He will get a break for the Sabres vs Canucks as Carter Hutton will look for his 1st win since October 22nd. He took the loss in Vancouver with a .800 save percentage on the 30 shots. Reinhart always has good games against the Canucks and expect more of the same today. We won't get to see a marquee rookie matchup as Victor Olofsson is out with a lower-body injury. He currently leads the rookie scoring race with 35 points.
Vancouver was very happy to get out of Florida after the two games against the Lightning and Panthers. Sabres vs Canucks will try and add on the 14 goals against in the last 2 games. The Panthers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period. After a goal by Brock Boeser made it 2-1 Florida went on to score 3 unanswered goals. Thatcher Demko made 44 saves on 49 shots and didn't get very much help from the rest of his team in the 5-2 loss to the Panthers.
Vancouver's 7 game win streak seems almost a decade away after the two tough losses. Sabres vs Canucks will give them a chance to get things back on track. Jacob Markstrom will get the start back in the net today. The Pacific Division is too tight to get into big losing streaks. Coming into today's Vancouver was 4 points back of Arizona and Vegas for the top of the Division and 3 points back of Both Calgary and Edmonton. Check out how tight the Western Conference is in the NHL.
A Good Road Period For The Canucks
The game started off with Vancouver looking like the more aggressive team in Sabres vs Canucks. To open the game they dictated most of the play and outshot Buffalo 8-0 to start the period. They had a chance on the man advantage when Rasmus Ristolainen took a holding penalty on Tyler Myers. The first unit got a bit of a tweak to it as Pettersson and Boeser switched sides. They looked sharp and got 4 of the 8 shots to start the game but couldn't beat Carter Hutton.
The Sabres vs Canucks were able to get their legs going when Jay Beagle took a silly holding penalty on Dahlin in the offensive zone. Buffalo controlled the face-off and worked it around the zone for the whole powerplay. They didn't score with the man advantage but Beagle came back on the ice to join a very tired 4 for Vancouver. Changing with possession the Sabres vs Canucks worked it around and Brandon Montour was able to deflect it off Chris Tanevs leg and into the back of the net. Buffalo was rewarded with their pressure and had the 1-0 lead 8:44 into the first period.
Vancouver kept trying to dump the puck in on Buffalo and Carter Hutton was happy to play it and clear it out himself. When they decided to rush it in with possession they had more success. The Lotto line rushed in and after a Pettersson back pass that ended up going through Hutton and out the other side the Sabres vs Canucks were able to clear it from danger. Only as far as Quinn Hughes at the point who slid it across to J.T. Miller. He found Troy Stecher streaking down the half wall and his shot was tipped perfectly by Boeser for his 15th of the year and a 1-1 tie.
The play was scrambly for the rest of the first period as both teams Sabres vs Canucks were hesitant to make the next mistake. Vancouver's fourth line looked terrible getting hemmed in their own end a couple of times and taking a penalty. The Canucks finished the period up 13-9 in shots and up 3-0 in high danger chances. Jack Eichel had a solid period for the home team. We would head to the second period tied up at 1.
Sabres and Canucks Trade Goals And Chances In The Second
The home team opened the period with two early shots but Vancouver was quick to counter. Some control in the opposing goal and when Buffalo tried to leave the zone Virtanen was able to steal the puck and get it in front of Adam Gaudette who tested Hutton who was able to squeeze it. Virtanen crashed the net and caused a kerfuffle but no penalties came out of it. The Sabres vs Canucks would work back in along the outside but a good breakout by the road team lead to another chance.
Quinn Hughes picked the puck up in front of his net and as he does so well skated it into the neutral zone. His initial pass bounced right back to him and he found Tanner Pearson entering Buffalos zone. A nice cross-ice pass to find captain Bo Horvat who was looking for Hughes but the puck was deflected right back to him and he was able to slide it into the open net. Horvat picked up his 13th goal and Hughes got his 31st assist on the year. Kinda looks like All-Star numbers for the rookie but we will get to that later.
Gaudette had a chance right after to make it a two-goal lead. He was sent in on the breakaway but Jake McCabe came back to make a nice defensive play and force a weak shot. The Sabres vs Canucks moved back in and again Beagle took a holding penalty against Dahlin. It only took 18 seconds off the face-off for the home team to tie it up. Reinhart, Dahlin and Eichel worked it at the top of the zone with Sam Reinhart being the one-timer target. The puck bounced awkwardly off of Jacob Markstrom in into the net. 6:25 into the 2nd period and we were all square again.
The Sabres vs Canucks traded penalties later in the period. Buffalo got the first one when Pettersson took down Rasmus Asplund. The best chance was for tyler Motte who stole it and wired a slap shot off the post. Kyle Okposo took them off the powerplay with a sloppy change and a too many men penalty. Vancouver once again looked sharp on the powerplay but couldn't generate the go-ahead goal. A T.V. timeout with 6:46 to go and things got really really weird for Canucks fans. We had ourselves the Blue/Gold dress controversy of 2020.
It was the right call after all but people were very confused until a second angle from the Buffalo feed helped clear things up. Turns out it was a good foot over the net...I am still scratching my head on the one camera angle of the play. Back to the game! The second didn't give much more for chances as both teams were dumping and clogging up the neutral zone. Pettersson had a good chance to end the period but whiffed on it and the puck slide to Hutton. Vancouver had the edge in shots 22-18 after two periods.
Canucks Took Over In The 3rd Period
Both teams exchanged goals early in the period. Pettersson forced an early turnover at the Buffalo blue line by McCabe and the puck tipped right to Miller. He carried it back in was stopped on the first shot by Hutton but was able to chip his rebound up past him. The Sabres vs Canucks got the equalizer just 2:11 later after some strong work in the Vancouver zone. Kyle Okposo turned at his blue line and wristed the shot on net. Zemgus Girgensons tipped it past Markstrom and Ristolainen had the second assist and it was 2-2 Sabres vs Canucks.
That was about all that the Sabres vs Canucks could muster for offence. Vancouver was able to keep them away from the front of the net and turned things on 6 minutes into the final frame. The lotto line was back out with the puck deep in Buffalo's zone. Some nice work along the boards by Miller and Pettersson and Boeser skated out with the puck. He and Tanev had a nice give and go and Boeser's quick release was too much for Carter Hutton. The Canucks had the 4-3 lead and didn't look back.
On a delayed penalty shortly after the Sabres vs Canucks were forced to try and defend the 6-5 advantage. Already with the lead the Canucks were happy to circle back in their own end and get fresh skaters out. Adam Gaudette found tyler Motte on the rush and he laid it on a plater for ShotGun Jake Virtanen. He made no mistake and Canucks fans were drinking early today. With just over 12 minutes to go in the game, Vancouver had the 5-3 lead.
You could see Vancouver was a team that didn't want to lose the game. Coach Travis Green shortened his bench and kept the 4th line off the ice for the later part of the 3rd period. The Sabres vs Canucks were held to just 5 shots through the final 10 minutes of the game. Vancouver was happy to dump it out whenever Buffalo was able to dump it in and the clock wound down to 4 minutes left in the game.
The Sabres vs Canucks would try and pull out all the stops to get two more goals and tie the game. Ralph Krueger pulled Hutton for the extra attacker with just over 3 minutes to go. Buffalo was able to control and test Markstrom a couple of times before Vancouver was able to seal it. Bo Horvat made sure he got past center ice and shot at the empty net. He hit the post but followed up on the rebound and centred to Loui Eriksson who made no mistake for his 4th of the year.
He has been playing well in the last 9 games on this line and was rewarded again tonight. The line of Horvat, Eriksson and Tanner Pearson out-chanced Buffalo when they were on the ice 8-3 with High danger chances being 2-0. As you can see below on the heat map The Sabres vs Canucks were not able to get many quality chances in front of Markstrom. It was also nice he only had to face 28 shots this game.
No Rest For Either Team After Sabres vs Canucks
Both teams don't get any time to dwell on Saturday's game. The Sabres will head to Detriot to take on the Red Wings, Linus Ullmark should get the start. Vancouver heads to Brock Boeser's home state of Minnesota to take on the Wild. You know he will be up for this game after scoring 2 against Buffalo. His family will be in attendance and more importantly his dad Duke Boeser.
After such an impressive start to the year, the Sabres have again fallen back down to earth. They are quickly falling out of playoff contention in a very tough division. Jack Eichel kept up his MVP calibre season with 2 more assists. He now sits with 27 goals and 58 points in 44 games for Buffalo. Hutton still can't catch a break and his losing streak continues after making 29 saves on 34 shots. It could be a while before we see him again as the Sabres don't have back to backs again till February 6th and 7th.
Vancouver will look to start another win streak after Sabres vs Canucks. They end the 5 game road trip with stops in Minnesota on Sunday and then Winnipeg on Tuesday. It could do a lot in the standings as all 3 teams are very close. The lotto line looked great tonight and will not need any extra motivation against the Wild. Green could go either way in net with Markstrom only facing 28 shots tonight. Expect a decision close to game time or in the morning if they skate.
Let's talk about Quinn Hughes for a little bit! The Canucks defenceman was named Saturday afternoon to his first All-Star selection. The fans stepped up and voted him in to join Pettersson and Markstrom in St. Loius. This was exciting news as many thought he was deserving of an original spot. Hughes sit's 3rd in rookie scoring with 4 goals and 27 assists for 31 points in 44 games. He is also first in ice time by a rookie averaging 21:24 a game.
One of the more impressive things to Hughes game this year as how he as adapted so seamlessly to his role in the NHL. Not to mention the above 21 minutes of ice time Hughes has also been the quarterback on a deadly powerplay. Green doesn't shy away from playing him in big moments either which says a lot of the 20-year-old.
Sabres vs Canucks Highlights
It was a great game if you were an away fan today. Check out the highlights for Sabres vs Canucks Jan 11th.