RECAP: Blackhawks Beat Sabres 7–3

  

The Chicago Blackhawks returned to the ice tonight in Buffalo for their first meeting of the season. Chicago has won 12 of the last 13 games against the Sabres, including five of the last six in Buffalo.

Coach Jeremy Colliton called upon Cam Ward to open the post-break three-game road trip. Sabres’ caoch Phil Housley started Carter Hutton in net.

Chicago Blackhawks’ Starting Lineup

Drake CaggiulaJonathan ToewsPatrick Kane
Alex DeBrincatDylan StromeDominik Kahun
Brandon SaadDavid KampfMarcus Kruger
Chris KunitzArtem AnisimovJohn Hayden
Duncan KeithBrent Seabrook
Carl DahlstromConnor Murphy
Slater KoekkoekErik Gustafsson

PERIOD ONE

The Buffalo Sabres controlled much of the first half of the period, outshooting the Blackhawks 14–7 in the frame. Cam Ward showed flashes of his former self with several excellent stops on grade A chances by the Sabres.

Even after being dominated for the period, Chicago would find the back of the net first when forward Drake Caggiula scored his first goal in a Blackhawks’ sweater. The goal, assisted by defenseman Gustav Forsling, put the visitors up 1–0 at the 18:38 mark of the period.

SECOND PERIOD

The Blackhawks extended their lead to 2–0 when forward Patrick Kane scored his 30th goal of the season, and his 900th career point, at the :50 mark of the period. Kane took a nice stretch pass from defenseman Erik Gustafsson and beat Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton blocker side.

Less than five minutes later, defenseman Duncan Keith fired a shot on goal from the left circle, stopped by Hutton, but found the puck laying on the doorstep and banged home the rebound to extend Chicago’s lead to 3–0. The goal gave the two-time Norris Trophy winner his second tally of the season.

Buffalo finally solved the brick wall that was Ward in net. Sabres’ center Jack Eichel tipped home a shot from defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, giving the 22-year old 17 goals on the season.

Less than a minute and a half later, forward Brandon Saad found the puck on his stick after a nice cross-ice pass from forward David Kampf. Saad, scoring his 16th goal of the season, beat Hutton to give the Blackhawks a 4–1 lead heading into the second intermission.

PERIOD THREE

The Sabres would waste no time getting themselves right back into the hockey game, scoring two goals in the first 7:16 in the period. Chicago played much of this time on their heels, struggling to clear their own end and force any pressure in the offensive zone.

Goals by forwards Jason Pominville and Kyle Okposo cut the Blackhawks’ lead to 4–3.

The good news for the Blackhawks, the rest of the period belonged to them. A team that has struggled to hold leads and play with confidence late in games, showed some great poise and character to bounce back after the two Sabres goals.

Defenseman Connor Murphy ripped a shot past the glove of Hutton, giving the 25-year old his second goal on the season. The goal, assisted by forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, was the goal the team needed.

Kane scored his second goal of the night, fourth point of the game, into an empty net at the 17:13 mark. Just over two minutes later, Saad scored his second goal of the game when he found the puck on his stick after a horrible Sabres turnover in their own end, resulting in Saad’s seventeenth goal on the season.

Although being outshot by the Sabres 43–30, Chicago came out on top 7–3.

THE GOOD 

  • Chicago showed something in the third period when the Sabres cut the lead to one goal. The team has struggled putting together a bounce back goal when things have gone wrong this season. It was a small glimpse of the Chicago team we grew accustomed to in their cup runs.
  • Cam Ward was solid tonight stopping 40 of the 43 shots he faced this evening. This game easily could have gone the Sabres way without some key stops early on.
  • Patrick Kane continued his scoring ways with two goals and two assists. Kane now has 75 points on the season, trailing only Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov by four points for the NHL lead.
  • Brandon Saad scored twice. Saad can still be a nice secondary scoring option for this team, even if his name gets thrown around in trade rumors.
  • Drake Caggiula registered three points tonight (1 goal, 2 assists).

THE BAD

  • The Sabres registered 43 shots on goal. This has been an issue the whole season. Not to sound like a broken record but Chicago must get better in their defensive end. This is the achilles’ heel of this team.
  • Buffalo won 55% of the draws tonight and controlled much of the action. The cameraman was not very busy trying to keep track of the puck tonight. If confused, chances were it was in Chicago’s end of the ice.

Center Ice Forums RECAP: Blackhawks Beat Sabres 7–3

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    Ray Napientek
    Keymaster

    The Chicago Blackhawks returned to the ice tonight in Buffalo for their first meeting of the season. Chicago has won 12 of the last 13 games against t
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