A come-from-behind victory is always great, but the only thing that makes it even greater is when it’s against a hated rival. That’s how it feels for the Sabres right now. For the second time this week, Buffalo rallied from a three-goal deficit to turn around what looked like a sure loss. Only this time, the team finished the job.
Getting embarrassed in enemy territory by one of the team’s most despised foes in Boston, Buffalo woke up. Pairs of goals from David Pastrnak and Brad “The Rat” Marchand and a tally by Jason Pominville made it 4-1, Bruins midway through the second. It wasn’t a great night for Robin Lehner in goal, but you can’t say he got a lot of help from his compatriots early on. Looking destined for yet another loss in what has been a very rough start to the season, the Sabres turned things around, and looked good doing it.
Jack Eichel has demonstrated by now that he loves coming home, scoring yet another goal in TD Garden to make it 4-2. It remained that way until 6:55 in the third, when tenacious play from the second line resulted in Benoit Pouliot’s first in a Buffalo uniform, making it a one-goal game.
It seemed after that like Boston might hold on for the win, but with just over two minutes left, a scramble in front of Bruins G Anton Khudobin allowed a wobbly roller from Evander Kane to eek in, tying the game and silencing the Garden. Kane also scored the equalizer in Vegas, it’s becoming a nice little habit for him.
“And we are going to ooooooovertime!”
Halfway into the extra period, Ryan O’Reilly turned a team sport into a one-man show. Looking like a man possessed, O’Reilly hustled to recover an awry Marchand clear attempt behind the net, spun his way past Pastrnak and buried a gorgeous backhand in the top-right corner. A dumbfounded Khudobin sat in the crease as the Sabres exploded off the bench to celebrate their second win of the season and their sweetest in a while. Buffalo fans in the crowd erupted in jubilation as Jack Edwards undoubtedly curled up in a fetal position in the Boston box.
The win is huge obviously because the team needs them badly, but also because it was a stunning bounce back from both a frustrating loss on Friday and a failed rally on Tuesday. Seeing the team not only rally but finish the job as well is something that should have fans everywhere smiling. There have been positives so far this season despite all the losses, and tonight proved that Buffalo has more to it than everyone may think. It was a true team effort.
The Sabres are back in action on Tuesday, looking for their first home win as the Red Wings come to town. 7:30 PM.