BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — From zero to 6-0, the Sabres erupted in a scary good final period Tuesday night, overwhelming the Kings for their first shutout victory of the season.
Tage Thompson scored twice on the power play, rising into a tie for second in the NHL with 23 goals on the season, Craig Anderson made 40 saves for his first shutout in two seasons with Buffalo, and the Sabres also got goals in the third from Victor Olofsson, JJ Peterka, Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs to improve to 3-0 this season when wearing the retro black-and-red “goat head” sweaters — with a half dozen goals in each win.
“I think we should wear them every game, based on those numbers,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “The crowd was great, too. They weren’t too happy with our first period. They rallied, and our guys felt that. Even at the start of the game, people seem excited about those things. And I know the players are.”
The shutout was Anderson’s 43rd of his career. The 41-year-old’s last shutout came when he played for Ottawa, and stopped 35 shots in a 4-0 win over Buffalo on March 26, 2019.
“If Andy wasn’t standing on his head tonight,” Thompson said, “they put a couple in early on us and it’s a different game.”
Lighting the lamp six times in a period for the second time in four games, following an opening outburst in last week’s 9-4 win at Columbus, the Sabres matched the fourth highest-scoring period in franchise history. It’s the third time the team has had two six-goal periods in the same season, after doing so in 1980-81 and 2005-06, which was the last time Buffalo wore is “goat heads” on a regular basis.
Thompson continued his ascent to scoring stardom, with 41 points over his past 22 games. His sixth game with at least three points elevated him to third in the NHL with 44 points. His 10 power-play goals in 29 games are as many as he tallied during his 38-goal breakout last season.
Dylan Cozens had three assists and the Sabres improved to 6-3-2 in their past 11 since snapping an eight-game skid.
Two of the top five scoring teams in the NHL, that also rank near the bottom of the league in goals allowed, were tied at 0-0 after two periods.
Thompson opened the scoring 1:21 into the third and two seconds after Carl Grundstrom was penalized for slashing to give Buffalo a brief two-man advantage. Cozens beat Kings captain Anze Kopitar on the faceoff to the left of the net and drew the puck back to Thompson, who snapped in a shot inside the left post from the high slot.
“That first one’s huge,” Thompson said. “It’s obviously a big boost of confidence. Gives you that bit of cushion, feel good about your game. And then from there you get to your game a little and maybe it’s a little dagger for them too.”
The rout was on when Olofsson one-timed in Rasmus Asplund’s centering pass to make it 2-0 at the 9:56 mark, followed by Peterka completing a pretty give-and-go on a 2-on-1 rush with Jack Quinn.
“Getting another quick after that was great,” Thompson said. “That kind of hit them pretty hard and we were able to get to our game and stay on our game. And that’s a big piece for us. When we score, that next shift is important. I thought we did a good job following up one shift after another.”
The Kings were intent on cleaning up their defensive play after a sloppy outing in a 6-5 overtime loss at Columbus on Sunday. L.A. spent much of the first two periods with three men back, limiting the Sabres to just three shots in the first period.
In crediting the entire team for the shutout, Anderson was impressed with how Buffalo didn’t show signs of frustration following the first period in which the Kings were intent on bottling up the middle of the ice.
“We could come in here after having three shots on goal and be frustrated, but the message wasn’t being frustrated, it was `Get back to our game, do what works,'” Anderson said.
“I think a lot of times younger teams that haven’t played the right way for too long, if they get off their game, they start trying to do too much, be individual,” he added. “We didn’t do that tonight, which is a huge steppingstone in our growth.”
Sabres forward Jeff Skinner served his second game of a three-game suspension for cross-checking Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel. … Defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin has resumed skating on his own and expected to be cleared for practice soon. He’s missed seven games with a lower body injury.
The Sabres open three-game road trip at the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.