Overreactions with 52 to go: Zadorov’s OT winner extends Sabres’ streak

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For once, as this has been a rare occasion this 2014-2015 season, you can look at a game that the Sabres won and say to yourself, “They deserved the win.” Tonight was just one of those nights.

Nikita Zadorov‘s goal 29 seconds into overtime was the gamebreaker, as the Sabres defeated Florida, 4-3.

“I probably never had that big a goal in my life,” said Zadorov. “It’s a great feeling and I’m going to try to do it again.”

The young defenseman, fresh off a debate about whether or not he’ll be allowed to go play for Russia in the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championships in Toronto and Montreal, received a cross-ice pass from Tyler Ennis and ripped the winner past Panthers goaltender Al Montoya.

Cody Hodgson, Marcus Foligno and Brian Gionta also scored for Buffalo, which has now unreasonably won nine of their last 12.

Hodgson, who was stuck in the press box last game due to his lack of production, broke things open just 2:06 into the game, taking a pass from Patrick Kaleta and ripping it past Montoya.

“He got exactly where goal-scorers have got to get to,” said Sabres coach Ted Nolan.

Sean Bergenheim, Jimmy Hayes and Jussi Jokinen scored for Florida, who turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead before Gionta’s equalizer. Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth stopped 25 of 28 shots for the win.

Buffalo closes their four game homestand Monday against Ottawa.

  • This was just the third time this season that the Sabres outshot their opponent. Buffalo finished with 32 shots on goal, just ahead of Florida’s 28. They are 3-0-0 when outshooting their opponent.
  • Seriously, just three times in 30 games. That’s ridiculously terrible.
  • Nikita Zadorov is a star and he’s rapidly moving up the list of “Easiest guys to root for.” Kid is very charismatic and more importantly he’s very good at playing hockey. Part of the Sabres’ surge is due to the fact he’s been getting minutes.
  • That Tyler Myers breakout pass to Brian Gionta’s tying goal was fantastic and the finish was beautiful. That’s a hell of hockey play.
  • Speaking of Zadorov, remember when Ted Nolan kept scratching him all through October? Yeah. Nolan makes some dumb decisions.
  • Cody Hodgson played his best game of the season. It wasn’t some master stroke by Nolan, as it remains to be seen if this continues, but some guys just react to that.
  • There was exactly one blogger in the press box tonight. What’s the deal, you basement dwellers?
  • Rasmus Ristolainen had a rough night. It’s okay, he needs to have them once in a while. Get it out of his system. But, yeah, he looked terrible on that first goal.
  • Both Josh Gorges and Andrej Meszaros left the game with injuries, both of which seem to be an extended issue. Recalls will likely be coming.

3MI Three Star Selections
1. Nikita Zadorov, Buffalo
2. Sean Bergenheim, Florida
3. Cody Hodgson, Buffalo

Official Three Stars of the Game
1. Nikita Zadorov, Buffalo (GW Goal (1), assist)
2. Tyler Myers, Buffalo (1 assist)
3. Cody Hodgson, Buffalo (Goal (2))

Quote of the night:

“You can’t leave so much net against me.”

— Buffalo Sabres defenseman Nikita Zadorov

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Posted on December 14, 2014, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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