Postgame Report | Shorthanded Sabres top Avalanche in 4-2 road win

Postgame Report | Shorthanded Sabres top Avalanche in 4-2 road win

DENVER – Matthew Samuelsson was still breathing in the Ball Arena locker room after the Buffalo Sabers clinched a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

Samuelsson ran 31:31, a new career high, bolstered by the Colorado height and best among the five defensemen who ran for the Sabers in absentia Owen power. Power suffered a lower body injury during his off-ice warm-up, leaving the Sabers to play with 17 skaters.

The Sabers knew of Power’s absence as they took to the ice for a warm-up, which they used to prepare for a shorthanded game against the reigning Stanley Cup champion.

“I mean, five D’s isn’t easy anywhere, especially at altitude,” Samuelsson said. “I thought all five guys got up and played well.

The Sabers assembled all the ingredients necessary for victory.

They took the lead early on and built up a 2-0 lead Days ThompsonGoal in the first minute and Alexander cloth‘s power play goal later in the first period.

They received timely saves from the goalkeeper Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who blocked 39 shots. Before Luukkonen, the defenders weathered the Avalanche attack, taking second chances and creating sight lines for their keeper.

And if necessary, they reacted to ward off a comeback. Rasmus DahlinLate in the second period, ‘s goal stopped what had been a long Avalanche push. Dylan Cozens buried an empty goal after the Avalanche pulled inside a goal late in the third.

“It sure is a confidence boost,” Dahlin said. “We’ve held the lead for the last two thirds and played solidly. Now we know we can finish games.”

Video: AFTERPLAY: Dahlin

Dahlin finished second in the Ice Age at 28:37 behind Samuelsson, in which he scored one goal, provided one assist and had four shots blocked. The other three defenders who dressed for the sabers were Kale Clague (23:56), Laurent Pilut (18:34) and Casey Fitzgerald (14:24).

The Sabers have eight defenders on their road trip, but two of them – Ilya Lyubuskin and Jacob Bryson – are seen daily with injuries. They had to settle for a five-man unit and toyed with the idea of ​​keeping shifts short and conserving energy where possible.

“Keep it short, keep it hard,” Dahlin said. “I think I had fifteen icings and two completed passes today, but we won. It wasn’t pretty, but we worked together and it was a great team win.”

How it happened


Thompson intercepted a pass Casey Mittelstadtslammed the stick through the slot and knocked Alexandar Georgiev off the top of the crease to put the Sabers on the board at 54 seconds.

Video: [email protected]: Thompson first to score 24th goal of the season

Each of the Sabers’ special forces units played a role in doubling the lead. Luukkonen anchored a successful penalty early in the third, then Tuch fought for a rebound on the power play and scored his 15th goal of the season to make it 2-0.

Video: [email protected]: Tuch scores the 15th goal of the season as 1st

“I think with five D, if you go up to two, you can play even easier,” said Samuelsson. “You don’t have to risk anything on offense like when you’re behind a couple of times. It was huge for us to settle in and play our game.”


The Sabers weathered an Avalanche charge with brave defense and the help of their goaltender. Luukkonen’s 12-saving period included a series of put-back saves after a first try by Valeri Nichushkin, an undisputed shot by Erik Johnson down the right and a one-timer by Nichushkin.

Luukkonen’s strong period gave the Sabers enough time to extend their lead. Jost and Victor Olofsson combined to force a turnover on the forecheck and find Dahlin in the slot. Dahlin sent a shot off the post with 2:49 left.

Video: [email protected]: Dahlin scores his 10th goal of the season in 2nd place


Nichushkin fed Rantanen in a 2v1 onslaught to put the Avalanche on the board with 11:40 minutes remaining. With 1:22 remaining and Colorado’s empty net, Rodrigues tapped in a loose puck to put the Avalanche in one.

Cozens then buried an empty goal to make it 4-2 with 57.1 seconds remaining.

Video: [email protected]: Cozens scores in the 3rd period

The Sabers were overshot 15-0 early in the period, according to the official stat sheet, and didn’t record their first shot at the net until Cozens was counted out.

What we learned

1. Granato said the team will learn more about Power’s injury on Friday. He is looked at from day to day.

2. Dahlin on Samuelsson’s performance: “Big Boy Game.”

3. Granato had more to say about Samuelsson.

“Like I said, he’s pretty much the antidote,” Granato said. “He kills a lot of games, switches a lot of games against top, top players. So he was very, very impactful as you get and I thought Dahls was right there with him and the rest of the crew was very good too.”

Video: AFTERPLAY: Granato

4. Jost played his first regular season game as a guest in Colorado, where he spent more than five seasons to start his career. He received a loud ovation after Avalanche aired a tribute video during the first period showing highlights on the ice and his commitment to the community.

5. Thompson’s 24th goal of the season earned him the sole second place finish in the NHL. His total goals tally ties Thomas Vanek for third most in the first 30 games of a season in Sabers history, behind only Alexander Mogilny and Pat LaFontaine in 1992-93.


The road trip continues in Arizona on Saturday. Coverage on MSG begins at 8:30 p.m. with puck drop-off scheduled for 9 a.m. Radio coverage is at 3:20 p.m.

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