BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Last season when Zemgus Girgensons, Johan Larsson and Kyle Okposo would come over the boards and onto the ice, expectations weren’t always very high for what was typically the fourth line.
This year, those three have been one of the more dominant, consistent lines new head coach Ralph Krueger has deployed on a nightly basis. They entered last night’s game against the Panthers having combined for only one goal and two points. And, while the production might not have been there, they were finally able to break through Friday night.
“I’ve never seen a bench cheer so much for another line having success. I mean, the entire bench erupted on both of the goals,” head coach Ralph Krueger said after the game. “To see all that hard work, the grinding they’ve been doing here through the first five games paying off.”
“It’s nice,” added Johan Larsson. “It’s a good feeling we’re creating chances but at the end you have to score. It was nice to see them go in today.”
Kyle Okposo, who finished with two assists in the victory over Florida, explained the system head Krueger has installed allows the trio to just “go play.”
“I just think we’re working. All three of us just kind of go hunt pucks and you know, get on the forecheck and go hard and the other guy supports. I think when you have three guys really committed, something just happens and just works. We seem to have some chemistry and keep going.”
“It’s always nice to be out there,” added Girgensons. “A couple great plays by (Okposo) back door with good finishes by (Scandella) and Larry.
“Certainly the ones that were cheered in the locker room after the game,” said Krueger. “And, just pleased they got some offensive return for all that effort.”
We’ll see if they continued to be rewarded for their tenacious play on the ice on Monday, when the Sabres host the Dallas Stars.