The Golden Knights entered Friday night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres as big favorites in the sportsbooks. The Sabres took advantage of a sloppy third period by the Golden Knights to win the game 5-2.
The Golden Knights’ loss ended their four-game winning streak and nine-game points streak.
The first period did not feature any goals but the Golden Knights were the better of the two teams. The Golden Knights outshot the Sabres 8-2 through the game’s first twelve minutes. All four Golden Knights’ forward lines had stretches of pressure.
The Golden Knights faced minimal pressure from the Sabres on breakouts and have been allowed to gain momentum through the neutral zone.
The Sabres had pockets of high-danger chances, but the Golden Knights were able to gain quick rushes up the ice after most of the Sabres scoring chances.
Dylan Cozens got the game’s first goal for the Buffalo Sabres at 7:42 of the second period. Cozens used Brayden McNabb as a screen and the screen cut Logan Thompson’s reaction time just enough to score the goal. Ivan Barbashev tied the game up at 13:44 on the power play. Brabashev drove hard to the net and cleaned up a loose puck while getting crushed by Owen Power.
Jack Eichel had a heavy hit on Power in the corner with under two minutes remaining in the second period. Peyton Krebs took exception and went after Eichel. Krebs seems to like having altercations with elite talent. Sidney Crosby and Krebs had a preseason fight and Krebs tried to pick a fight with Eichel tonight.
Things got started quickly in the third period. Paul Cotter did his standard toe-drag between the legs move that led to a rebound. Jack Eichel was in the position to bury it. The Golden Knights’ lead would not last long, however, Casey Mittelstadt scored a nice one-timer goal from the left circle from Cozens.
Things went from bad to worse for the Golden Knights. Zach Benson and Alex Tuch scored less than two minutes apart and the Golden Knights trailed by two goals with just over eight minutes remaining in the third period. Ivan Barbashev had a rough turnover that led to the Tuch goal.
“You can call them breakdowns.” Zach Whitecloud on what went wrong in the third period. “As a five-man unit, we got to make sure we are working together to limit that (Sabres rush opportunities).
“We feel like we are the better team and didn’t stick to our system.” Mark Stone on the loss.
“We’ve given up 12 goals at home over the last three games.” Coach Bruce Cassidy on the defense and goaltending. “That is a team thing, goaltenders are part of the team. That needs to improve no matter who is in the net.”
Gawlik’s three stars
Mittelstadt, two goals and an assist
Levi, 32 saves
Cozens, goal and two assists
Cozens from Mittelstadt 7:42
Barbashev (PPG) from Roy 13:44
Eichel from Cotter 3:22
Mittelstadt from Cozens and Clifton 5:01
Benson from Tuch and Samuelsson 9:29
Tuch from Benson 11:12
Mittelstadt (ENG) from Cozens and Dahlin