The Sabres have gradually been improving, but there was no proof of it. Essentially all Buffalo had to show for its increased effort was a 2-8-2 slump filled with one-goal outings. The Sabres needed something tangible to show that they are indeed progressing. They have it now. Buffalo scored four straight goals, overcame adversity and did plenty right Tuesday night in earning a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. It was their highest goal total in more than a month and the first time they won while trailing after two periods. “The change is occurring,” captain Steve Ott said in First Niagara Center. “The character has changed immensely over the last month and a half or so. We knew it wasn’t an overnight process, but it’s the confidence continuing to grow with games and know that we could play with any team.” The Sabres took advantage of a tired team to get rid of a ghastly doughnut. They had been 0-20-0 when trailing after 40 minutes, but they found the net three times in the third period to drop the Jets. “That was obviously something we hadn’t seen this season, and it feels good,” defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said. It was a feel-good night for plenty of people, including those in the small crowd that didn’t come close to the announced 17,795. Ott and Marcus Foligno ended 12-game scoring droughts to key the comeback and give Buffalo its first four-goal outing since a 5-4 shootout victory in San Jose on Nov. 5. “We tried to get some net-front presence, and if you look at three of our four goals, they all came within the blue paint or pretty well close to it,” coach Ted Nolan said. “We just have to play an honest game from start to finish. If we do that, we’ll have a chance. This league is tough to win in if you don’t play an honest game.” Despite doing many things right, the Sabres briefly showed why they are 8-23-3 and have just three regulation victories. After an impressive (but scoreless) first period that featured a 19-7 shot edge, Buffalo slept through the opening minutes of the second to fall into a 2-0 hole. The Jets’ Mark Scheifele waltzed unobstructed to the net twice in the opening 1:38, giving a boost to a team finishing back-to-backs and its third game in four nights.
Goal floodgates open for Sabres versus Jets, 4-2
Buffalo News | Dec 18