Quick Hits: Sabres @ Predators

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The Buffalo Sabres finished the month of November with a win in Nashville over the Predators, improving their record to 6-5-1 on the month. They finally got a win against the Central Division, who has been the reason for the recent losing streak.

Buffalo started off slow, as they took a penalty just four seconds into the game, and again 10-minutes into the game on a trip by Sam Reinhart. The Predators converted on the second penalty against Buffalo with a goal by Mike Fisher.

The game was on Nashville’s side for the rest of period. Nashville outshot Buffalo by a margin of 13 to 9 in the first.

The Sabres played much better in the second period. They doubled the Predators possession in the offensive zone, but Nashville almost doubled their lead. Cody Hodgson interfered with Chad Johnson causing the referees to call no goal on the play below. It looked like Colaiacovo pushed Hodgson into Johnson which caused Peter Laviolette to challenge. The refs stuck with their original call on the ice; no goal.

Then the Sabres got another break, as Carlo Colaiacovo took a vicious cross check from Predators forward, Viktor Arvidsson. The Sabres were given a five minute powerplay and Arvidsson was given a game misconduct.  Dan Bylsma said, following the game, that Colaiacovo is in the hospital with a “dented trachea”.

With the full five minutes of the powerplay, Buffalo converted twice. First, Ryan O’Reilly made a tremendous play all around, put the puck towards the net, and Jamie McGinn batted it in for good measure.

Soon after, Sam Reinhart took an opening and ripped a wrist shot into the back of the net. Reinhart has been very good on the powerplay this season. He has found success in front of the net, on the wing as the set up guy, and now as the guy taking the shot. Reinhart has also proven that he can play any role on the powerplay.

The Sabres kept going from there. They outshot Nashville 10-7 in the second period. The line of Reinhart, Kane, and O’Reilly was phenomenal creating chances. Jack Eichel also played great, creating something out of nothing. Eichel’s best chance was eluding two Predator defenders, and got a chance with a wrap around on his backhand.

In the third period the Sabres jumped out quick to extend their lead. Sam Reinhart made a great play to control the puck in front and was persistent enough with it to squeak it by Saros.

The Sabres reeled it in afterwards to play defense. They got only four shots the rest of the period, but kept the Predators to just nine. Chad Johnson made multiple great saves down the stretch to secure the victory.

Now, some quick hits:

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      • What is going on here?

Jamie McGinn seems to be embracing the role of team jokester.

      • Rookie-rama

Jack Eichel is tied for the team lead in goals with Ryan O’Reilly, and Sam Reinhart is now third with six.

Eichel and Reinhart have combined for 14 goals through 24 games.

Any fan would have taken that to start the season. What’s interesting is that neither have a whole lot of assist. The two have combined for just seven assists on the year.

      • Extend McGinn?

Jamie McGinn has played very well this season for the Sabres.

He scored against Nashville and picked up two assists against Carolina in under 10-minutes. He’s producing despite not being on a top line.

With just this year left on his contract the Sabres will have to decide whether or not to resign McGinn. His cap hit this season is $3 million.

If he wants any more than that I’d let him go, but he’s a good player to have at that cap hit. If the Sabres are out of the playoff race by the deadline he could even be a trade piece to sell.

      • Roll with the hot goalie

Ullmark was hot before, now Chad Johnson is. Johnson has allowed just two goals on 57 shots over the past two games.

Byslma should keep rolling with him until his play changes. That should be the mentality all year, and ideally all the time.

      • Will Reinhart stay on the wing?

Yes. Right now he’s not physical enough, or fast enough to play center. He doesn’t need that responsibility at the beginning of his career.

However, it will be opportunity that prevents him from changing to center in the future. As long as Ryan O’Reilly and Jack Eichel are in Buffalo, which should be for a very long time, Reinhart will need to play wing.

Even as a rookie he’s already too good to take out of the top-six, so keeping him on the wing allows him to play with the teams best offensive talent. 

Written by Joe DiBiase

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