Quick Hits: Predators vs. Sabres

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The Sabres started out hot in the first. They quickly established possession and put pressure on Nashville for the first 10 minutes of the period.

Mike Fisher broke the Predators scoring drought of 221 minutes with a rebound shot in front of Ullmark. Jake McCabe let Fisher get behind him and get a free shot at the puck. McCabe has to do a better job tying him up.

Right away in the second period the Predators got back on the board. Craig Smith raced in down the wing and sniped a wrist shot over Ullmark’s blocker.

The Sabres responded well. The next several shifts after the Smith goal, the Sabres got some decent chances and went back and forth with the Predators.

Following those few shifts the Predators went back to controlling the game, but didn’t get a whole lot of shots. Halfway through the game Nashville only had eight shots on goal.

Things went from bad to worse a few minutes later.

After a few minutes of sustained possession in the Buffalo end, Cody Hodgson went to the net and got the puck with a wide open net. He made no mistake. Once again Jake McCabe lost track of his man. He was watching the puck while Hodgson skated towards the net. Eichel also was watching the puck and could have went to Hodgson. It was Hodgson’s second goal of the season. Fans booed his goal announcement pretty loudly afterwards.

Ullmark was pulled at that point for Chad Johnson. Only one of the goals was really Ullmark’s fault, but the goalie change was to spark the team.

With about two minutes left in the period, Evander Kane skated into the zone, cut into the slot, and ripped a wrist shot of the post and in. It was his second goal of the year.

Right as the third period started, Barrett Jackman took a kneeing penalty, giving the Sabres a prime opportunity to get back into the game right away. The Sabres were not able to set up at all and Nashville easily killed the penalty.

Marcus Foligno than took two dumb penalties afterwards. The first one he lazily stopped skating, than as Colin Wilson blew by him, Foligno hooked Wilson into the net and took a penalty. A minute later Foligno went hard to the net and took a goaltender interference penalty.

The Sabres continued to kill themselves with penalties as Cody Franson took a tripping penalty while shorthanded. The Sabres killed off the 5-on-3….. and than this happened:

This woke up the crowd. Ryan O’Reilly set up Brian Gionta for a glorious scoring chance just moments later, but Carter Hutton made the save.

The Sabres failed to covert off the momentum and the Predators began to lock things down. Their defenders constantly were deflecting and blocking Sabre shots. The Sabres had 15 of their 52 shot attempts blocked, and 10 missed the net in the entire game.

With just over a minute left Ryan O’Reilly fed Jack Eichel on a beautiful saucer pass across ice. Eichel scored, but got lucky because he shot it right at the goalie in the top of the crease. Eichel had maybe his worst game as a Sabre.

Final shots in the game were in favor of Buffalo 27-18.

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    • Hodgson comes back to haunt us

The man who had just six goals last season, scored here. At the First Niagara Center.Against the Sabres.

While I personally think Hodgson is far better than what he did last season, it was still frustrating to watch him score in front of everyone. Especially when it turned out to be the game winning goal.

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    • Ullmark did not play bad

Linus Ullmark should probably make the save on the Craig Smith goal, but was given no chance on the other two.

Chad Johnson was brought in to spark the team and played very well. Johnson stopped all 10 of the shots he faced.

I would still put Ullmark above Johnson in the pecking order when Lehner comes back, but Johnson helped his case against the Predators.

    • Jack Eichel will have bad games

He’s human, and he’s a hockey player.

Jack Eichel will not be perfect every game, and will have a few dreadful ones like tonight. It won’t come too often, but especially as a rookie it will happen. Eichel was not completing passes, and losing the puck off his stick pretty easily. He also got very lucky on the goal that it deflected off Hutton and in.

    • The Sabres have just one game left against the Central for a while

The Sabres stretch of five out of six against the Central Division is almost over.

The Sabres will play in Nashville on Saturday after playing Carolina on Friday. After the weekend the Sabres will play Chicago on December 19th, and that’s it until 2016.

The Sabres got one of a possible eight points this past week against the Central.

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Written by Joe DiBiase

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