BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — To quote Rick Jeanneret, the Sabres were “Good — scary good” on Friday night against the Nashville Predators. They put up four goals against a playoff-caliber team, and they did it in front of a sold-out KeyBank Center. The crowd was loud from the first puck drop to the final horn, and it was a great night for these young guys, especially.

“It was a lot of fun,” Peyton Krebs said. “That gets you excited, obviously. RJ, what a ceremony there. Obviously I haven’t been there too long, but you could see what he meant to the fans and that makes you want to win a Stanley Cup for sure.”

The Sabres honored Rick Jeanneret just before Friday night’s game as part of “RJ Night” where they looked back on the 51-year career of the legendary Buffalo play-by-play announcer. They raised a banner in the KeyBank Center rafters alongside some all-time greats in Sabres history. Fans chanted for RJ throughout the ceremony, and the arena was rocking from there. 

After that, the puck dropped, and the noise didn’t slow down.

“It gives us a lot of jump and it’s really exciting to play in front of,” Tage Thompson said of the atmosphere, “and obviously all that credit goes to RJ and all the amazing things he’s done for this city and this organization for the past 51 years. Hopefully we can continue to build this thing that we’ve got going and down the road that’s something we’re looking forward to is playing in front of a sold out crowd.”

Peyton Krebs and Tage Thompson were responsible for three goals between the two of them. In talking with Peyton Krebs after the game, he was very impressed with the way the Buffalo fans showed up Friday night..

“It was electric,” Krebs said. “It was a lot of fun to get that first goal.”

“You’ve put a jersey on and practiced every day waiting and hoping to feel what you could feel tonight, before the puck dropped, and our guys fed off that,” head coach Don Granato said.

They honored RJ with not just the banner, but they also made him the first star of the game. Then, after the game, Don Granato wore suspenders in the press conference to honor the play by play broadcaster. This was a special night, not just for RJ, not just for the fans, but everyone in attendance.

Paul Stockman is a sports reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2020. See more of his work here.