Nashville Predators 7, Buffalo Sabres 3: Preds Bounce Back
Both the Nashville Predators and the Buffalo Sabres were coming off painful 7-0 losses and hoping to bounce back, but the Preds proved the more resilient team in this case.
Ryan McDonagh returned to the lineup after 4 games, but Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, and a bevy of others were still out of commission.
Luke Evangelista started the offense with a great defensive steal, some speed and a shot with Tommy Novak trying quickly on the rebound.
Tyson Barrie had some great break-ups, proving his mettle in Josi’s absence.
A deflection off McDonagh went out of play, resulting in a delay of game penalty for the Sabres’ first power play at 4:54 in. The Preds killed the penalty, but Buffalo continued to camp out in the Preds’ defensive zone for several minutes. Still, the Sabres only tallied 1 shot on goal in the first 10 minutes.
Matt Duchene chased a puck up ice, stopped quickly to make a lane, and passed to Phil Tomasino who shot and scored the first goal of the game at 11:45. That assist gave Duchene his first point in 9 games.
With 5:18 left in the period, Tomasino drew a penalty, which sent Tage Thompson to the box for holding, but the Preds’ power play yielded nothing.
Cody Glass took a big (though clean) hit from Tage Thompson against the boards behind the Sabres’ net, and was still down on the ice while Tomasino sent a pass to Duchene to score at 18:43. The cellies were tempered while Glass slowly made his way up and off the ice. I guess that’s why you play to the whistle.
The period ended with 13 shots on goal for the Preds to Buffalo’s 5.
Cody Glass was not back on the bench to start this very eventful second period (though he did return partway through).
34 seconds in, Mark Jankowski was called for hooking and went to the box for Buffalo’s second power play.
The Preds killed the power play, but immediately after they returned to full strength, Buffalo’s Dylan Cozens poked a bouncing puck into the net at 3:36.
Nashville answered right away with a Tommy Novak breakaway goal 24 seconds later to bring the score to 3-1.
As the puck was dropped for the face off, so were the gloves of Kiefer Sherwood and Tage Thompson, Sherwood taking Thompson to task for the first period hit against Glass. Both got 5 in the box for fighting.
Tomasino and Duchene sped up the ice, allowing Duchene to score his second of the game, but Cody Glass was offside so the goal was taken back.
Sabres goaltender Craig Anderson tripped Jordan Gross, putting the Preds on the power play with Buffalo’s Kale Clague serving the penalty.
Buffalo’s Alex Tuch picked off a pass and took a scary shorthanded shot, but Juuse Saros handily made the save and the clear.
After the Sabres won a faceoff, Saros flung the puck down the ice, where Novak picked it up and passed it on to Evangelista, who scored. That’s an assist point for Saros.
Evangelista lifted up a rolling puck, shot and scored again at 10:01. That’s two goals in 40 seconds.
Evangelista tried a pass to Novak in front of the net, but Novak couldn’t quite get there. McDonagh, however, scooped it up and buried it in the back of the net to bring the score to 6-1 at 15:52.
At this point, the veteran Buffalo goaltender Craig Anderson made his way off the ice for the night.
Dante Fabbro committed a hooking penalty, putting the Sabres back on the power play. After a Buffalo shot on goal, Saros lost his stick and Colton Sissons took another penalty trying to get the stick back to him. You can pick a stick up and hand it to a teammate, but you can’t poke it back to them with your stick.
With the Preds two men down, Tage Thompson was able to score at 17:17.
Nashville finished out their penalty and the period up 6-2.
After five minutes of quick skating and grinding on defense, Nashville went on the power play with Duchene drawing a penalty. The special teams couldn’t quite get organized, however, and the Sabres killed the penalty.
A pass by Novak in the Predators’ zone went awry, and Buffalo’s Jeff Skinner took advantage to get the puck to the net, where it bounced such that neither the defenders nor Saros could get a handle on it before it went in the net.
The Preds continued to have trouble getting the puck out of their zone and keeping fresh skaters on the ice. Nevertheless, the kids stuck to it and kept the Sabres from scoring.
Buffalo pulled their goalie with 3:08 left, and Duchene scored in the empty net at 17:37 to seal the deal at 7-3.