The second Ted Nolan era in Buffalo is off and running, and it began with a 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.
Perhaps the highlight of the night -- and probably the highlight of the Sabres' season to this point -- came in the closing minute on a sensational shift from defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, one of the few bright spots in an otherwise lost season. After throwing himself in front of a yawning net and saving what would have been a game-tying goal for Toronto, Ehrhoff fired the puck the length of the ice and scored in the empty net at the other end of the ice to secure Buffalo's fifth win of the season.
The entire sequence was really something.
Elsewhere, Ben Scrivens continued his strong play in net for the Los Angeles Kings as he stopped all 26 shots he faced in a 2-0 win over the New Jersey Devils. This game was scoreless for the first 53 minutes until Dwight King scored the eventual game-winner with 6:52 to play. Anze Kopitar added an empty net goal in the closing seconds.
The Jets used a couple of goals from Dustin Byfuglien to knock off the Flyers in a shootout, while Pittsburgh busted out of its mini-slump with a 4-1 win over Nashville.
All the NHL Scores
Sabres 3, Maple Leafs 1
Kings 2, Devils 0
Penguins 4, Predators 1
Wild 3, Panthers 2
Jets 3, Flyers 2
Sharks 3, Oilers 1
On Friday we asked you five burning questions about the days games. These are your cool, soothing answers.
1. Is anything going to happen involving John Scott?
Friday was the first time Toronto and Buffalo met since their preseason line brawl involving John Scott and Phil Kessel -- it was also Scott's first game back since he was suspended for his headshot on Loui Eriksson -- and there was absolutely no carryover. Scott did play 7:31, which is actually a lot for him, but had no real impact on the game. It was the most playing time he has received in a single game this season, and just the second time he played more than six minutes. He attempted zero shots, was credited with three hits and blocked one shot.
2. Will Ryan Suter play more than 30 minutes?
Surprisingly, no. After logging 30 minutes in each of the past four games Suter was limited to just 26:49 in Minnesota's 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Suter has only had five games this season where he played fewer minutes.
3. Will the Oilers score a goal at home?
After being shut out in three straight home games, the Edmonton Oilers finally put one in the back of the net on Friday, and they were very happy about it.
As it turns out, the Hockey gods were simply feeling bad for the Oilers.
It was a pity goal @EdmontonOilers...— The Hockey Gods (@HockeyGods) November 16, 2013
Unfortunately for the Oilers they would only score one goal and lose to the San Jose Sharks, 3-1. In their past four home games the Oilers have been outscored. 15-1.
4. Will the Philadelphia Flyers extend their three-game winning streak?
They did not, losing in a shootout to the Winnipeg Jets. The good news for the Flyers is that they at least gained a point, something they have now done in six of their past seven games. The Metropolitan Division stinks and is absolutely wide open, so every point counts.
5. Can the Pittsburgh Penguins snap their three-game losing streak?
Yes, and it really wasn't even close. It might have been Pittsburgh's best performance of the season, as they just completely overmatched a Nashville team on the final leg of a lengthy road trip. James Neal, Kris Letang, Beau Bennett and Pascal Dupuis all scored goals for the Penguins while Evgeni Malkin was probably the best player on the ice. Outside of an early first period goal Nashville was rarely a threat to score. The Predators have now scored just two goals in their past four games.
The one play or moment from Friday that will be making headlines over the next couple of games.
The Maple Leafs lost for the seventh time in 12 games, this time to the lowly Sabres, and continue to have problems scoring goals. Is this the start of the regression many have been waiting for? It's awfully hard to keep winning games when the ice is so badly tilted against you, and it seems to be catching up with the Maple Leafs recently. The concerning thing for Toronto has to be that the goaltending has still been lights out for them but the offense has just completely vanished.
Stat of the Night
Nail Yakupov seems to be taking a lot of heat in Edmonton these days but it's really easy to lose sight of the fact that he is still incredibly young, and still far more productive than anybody that's come out of his draft class. His goal on Friday was the 20th of his career. Only one other player from 2012 has scored more than 3 -- Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk, who has 13 after his goal on Friday against Columbus.
Post to Post
- The Maple Leafs could really use some help at center.
- Some Florida Panthers perspective on the Kris Versteeg trade that was completed on Thursday night.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins were able to get back on the right track on Friday.
- Does Minnesota Wild assistant general manager Brent Flahr deserve a shot as a general manager somewhere in the NHL?