Quick Hits: Sabres at Red Wings / vs. Bruins / at Bruins

Despite it being only December, playoff hopes are front-and-center in the mind’s of Buffalo Sabres fans. With a big victory of their division-rival Detroit Red Wings, the Sabres took another step forward toward one of the three playoff berths in the Atlantic Division.

Things started off perfectly for the Buffalo Sabres – with two goals in the first frame from Evander Kane and Sam Reinhart.

Kane showed off his good set of hands, with a goal in tight and at the goal mouth. A quick lift of the puck over a crouching Petr Mrazek gave Kane his 7th of the season and the Sabres an early 1-0 lead.

Minutes later, we got another glimpse of the player that Sam Reinhart has become. Parked in front of the net, Reinhart not only screened Petr Mrazek but he was cognizant enough to throw his stick on a shot incoming from Rasmus Ristolainen. The result? Reinhart’s 8th goal of the season, and a 2-0 lead for the Sabres.

Buffalo’s 2 goal lead would last for almost 20 minutes, when Detroit put home their first of the evening from the stick of Henrik Zetterberg.

Detroit’s comeback attempt would be snuffed out quick, thanks to another breath-taking goal from Jack Eichel, just 22 seconds later.

Eichel’s 6th of the season pushed Buffalo’s lead back to two goals and up to 3-1.

The goal frenzy would continue over a minute later, when Detroit’s Drew Miller netted his 4th of the season to bring Buffalo’s lead to 3-2.

Old friend Thomas Vanek would tie things up in the third period for Detroit but that tie score would not hold for long.

Evander Kane’s 2nd goal of the game, and 8th of the season, would stand as the game-winning goal less than two minutes after Vanek tied it for Detroit.

The win on Tuesday night against Detroit stands to be a large one, with the Sabres playing the Bruins in a home-and-home to end this week. Following the Detroit victory, Buffalo sat 6 points out of 3rd place in the Atlantic, with 3 games in hand.

We’re glad you waited though, because now we are onto the Bruins / Sabres recap.

Things started off hot and heavy for the Sabres, they had the Bruins EXACTLY where they wanted them.

2 very nice goals in the first from Marcus Foligno (thanks Jack Eichel) and Kyle Okposo – which originally was called no-goal but immediately overturned when a replay showed that the puck went around the world behind Tuukka Rask.

And then the Sabres stepped on their own dicks, which caused everything to fall apart.

Buffalo allowed 4 straight goals and lost, 4-2.

Did you miss the game? Well, you didn’t miss much.

Moving to Saturday – here’s your recap for the second game of the home-and-home:

This home-and-home marked the 160th time the Sabres had back-to-back games of the sort. For only the 23rd time in franchise history, the Sabres failed to gain a point in either game. Thanks, Sabres PR Department for that stat.

This team is circling the drain at this point and it isn’t even 2017. Yes, the Sabres still have 3 games in hand over Boston, but Buffalo now finds themselves 10 points out. Good luck making that deficit up, boys.

I give up.

I mean, you want the quick hits?

quick hits banner
    • O’Reilly so important, he gets his own tab.

When the morning skate rolled up on us all earlier this week, the lines looked strange – Ryan O’Reilly was notably missing from the skate.


For a team that is struggling offensively, the last thing they needed to see was their de-facto captain go down with another injury.

Not all is horrible though, at least according to Dan Bylsma. Following the morning skate, Bylsma told media that O’Reilly has been shut down for 10-14 days before determining a timetable. We’ve seen an appendectomy recently with Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, and he missed 3 weeks.

Either way, someone needs to step up quick or this season will be lost. Editor Note: The season is almost lost at this point. 

    • Injuries still the story – good or bad.

Dmitry Kulikov again is injured – we’re just going to chalk it up to terrible, terrible luck. Kulikov was originally injured in the preseason, when he fell back first into the bench wall. Since that injury, Kulikov has struggled to get 100% healthy. Kulikov is again out of the lineup with a lower-back issue, attributed to the injury in the preseason.

One has to wonder if it is a good time to shut Kulikov down and let him get as close to 100% as possible, if that itself even is possible. Editor Note: Kulikov’s timetable for a return remains undetermined.

On a good note, Tyler Ennis returned to practice on Thursday morning as part of the morning skate.  Ennis was seen in a red non-contact jersey, but this is the next big step in his recovery from sports hernia surgery. Editor note: We’re contractually obligated to tell you that there is no timetable for Ennis’ return but he is progressing.

Ennis was goalless before his injury, but it is hard to believe that someone of his potential could not positively affect this goal-hungry lineup.

In Thursday night’s game, William Carrier found himself scrapping with Adam McQuaid and reportedly injuring his hand in the process. The Sabres recalled Justin Bailey to replace William Carrier in the lineup, which created instant Twitter anger because there is no reason Justin Bailey should be on a line with Nicolas Deslauriers and Derek Grant. Editor Note: No broken hand for Carrier but he is out an undetermined amount of time.

OH BABY, SATURDAY BROUGHT US MORE WONDERFUL INJURY NEWS. Josh Gorges left with a hip pointer and also, Johan Larsson dislocated his wrist.

Pass the booze, I need more.

Injuries are the worst – are we sure the Key isn’t built on an ancient burial ground or something?

Speaking of Carrier, here’s the hit that led to the fight later in the game. Fair or foul – we’ll let you decide.

    • 300 Large

On Tuesday night, Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma became the 47th coach in NHL history to win 300 games. Bylsma also became the third-fastest coach in league history to reach his 300th win, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Here’s a neat table, provided by the Buffalo Sabres.

Coach Games 300th Win
Bruce Boudreau 496 Feb. 28, 2014 vs. St. Louis
Todd McLellan 515 Feb. 13, 2015 at Arizona
Dan Bylsma 517 Dec. 27, 2016 at Detroit
Toe Blake 525 Jan. 3, 1963 vs. Boston
Mike Babcock 526 Dec. 17, 2009 vs. Tampa Bay

With the way the Sabres have been playing, it might take Bylsma a few more games to get to #400 but he’s officially on the way.

    • I See A Trade Value Rising.

Within the past few months, we had been hearing strong rumors that Evander Kane was headed out. The team that had been linked with Kane was his hometown Vancouver Canucks. From the sounds of it, a deal was well on the way to being consummated but then there was a road block – apparently Buffalo was setting their asking price too high, and Vancouver reportedly walked away from the table.

How does Kane respond to the strong trade winds?

How about a stretch of 10 points in 12 games? That shakes out to 8 goals and 2 assists for Kane.

If Kane keeps it up, his name might be a hot commodity come February when the hot stove starts to simmer with trade rumors.

I mean, who would be upset if he got traded?

    • Tweet of Game

Relevant all over Buffalo sports, so we couldn’t help but share this.

Written by Ryan Wolfe

Ryan Wolfe is the founder and editor-in-chief of BLTD Sports. He can be heard on the BLTD Podcast. Ryan's writing is also featured over at TheHockeyWriters.com.

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