BUFFALO, NY: To say visits to Buffalo have haunted this franchise would not be an understatement. For the past decade, the Kings haven’t been able to find a way to win in Western New York, and tonight, their bleak history in the Sabres’ home confines only got worse.
The Kings were stunned by a stalwart Ryan Miller tonight, who turned away 43 shots as the Kings maintained pace and control of the game through much of the contest. What they couldn’t control, though, was the scoreboard. The Kings were only able to sneak two pucks past Miller, but the Sabres were able to find the back of the net just as many times – but on a lowly total of 17 shots.
After Justin Williams redirected a Slava Voynov shot past Ryan Miller just 1:17 into the game, they failed to widen the scoring gap on a trodden, struggling Sabres roster. The Kings’ failure to finish on opportunity after opportunity, and Ryan Miller’s absolutely spectacular play, Buffalo never found themselves more than one shot away from tying a terribly unbalanced contest.
They got that shot – off the stick of Cody Hodgsen with 8:14 remaining in the second period to tie the game at one. At the time of Hodgson’s game-tying goal, the Kings were outshooting Buffalo 27-6.
Less than five minutes into the third period, Hodgsen buried a rebound that crept to a vacant back door for an easy put-away past Jonathan Quick for his second goal of the night, giving Buffalo a 2-1 lead.
The Kings would find a way to extend the game past regulation as Dwight King swung home a rebound from mid-air off of a Tyler Toffoli shot to tie the game at two with 3:34 remaining in the third period. This sent the Kings to OT for the seventh time this season, and set up the most heartbreaking moment of the night.
Jonathan Quick, late in OT, suffered an undisclosed lower-body injury and left the game for medical attention. Ben Scrivens entered the game with 1:20 remaining in OT, but wouldn’t face a single shot until the shootout round – where the Kings ultimately fell tonight, losing the breakaway contest 2-0.
GET OUT: While the Kings were the first team the Sabres beat on home ice this season, they’ve also extended their winless streak to 11 consecutive games when playing in Buffalo, NY. They haven’t won a game in Western New York since February, 2003.
TOFFOLI STREAK: Tyler Toffoli, with an assist tonight, has now recorded at least one point in every game he’s played in since being called up from the Manchester Monarchs. Toffoli has six points (2G, 4A) in his four games with the Kings.
KING’S NEW HIGH: Dwight King, with his fifth goal of the season tonight, has recorded a new personal high for goals scored in a single NHL season.
PUT ‘EM BEHIND: The Kings won’t see the Buffalo Sabres at all again this season. You could say it’s a good thing, considering the Kings could only muster four goals against Buffalo on 75 total shots in 125 minutes.