More Sports / Ice Hockey

Sabres celebrate 50th birthday with rout

AP

It was a day worth celebrating for the Buffalo Sabres.

On the team’s 50th birthday as a franchise, the Sabres scored five goals in the first period on their way to a 7-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night.

It was an offensive explosion that had been a long time in the works, according to coach Ralph Krueger.

“The last six games before this really had been games of good habits, and a lot of the offense that we were starting to create hadn’t really functioned that well with goals,” Krueger said. “I thought we had a deserved first period, kind of like the fruit of the labor from the week before almost seemed to pay off. We were hot.”

Jack Eichel had one goal and two assists, Johan Larsson had three assists, and Conor Sheary snapped a 19-game goal drought by scoring twice.

“We talked about coming out hard and playing our game and I think we did,” said forward Rasmus Asplund. “But I think what we really did good was when we scored a couple goals there, we just stayed with the game plan and kept going. Five in a period, it just shows what character we have.”

Asplund, Jeff Skinner, Victor Olofsson and Henri Jokiharju also scored for Buffalo, which improved to 13-10-5. Linus Ullmark made 44 saves.

The celebratory mood began before the game when the team honored original owners Seymour H. Knox III and brother Northrup R. Knox, now deceased. Members of the Knox family, including Seymour’s widow Jean, were honored with golden pucks before the game by current Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula. Buffalo was awarded an expansion team on Dec. 2, 1969.

Blues 4, Blackhawks 0

In Chicago, Jake Allen made 38 saves, Brayden Schenn scored his team-leading 14th goal and St. Louis whipped the hosts.

In Other Games

Islanders 4, Red Wings 1

Golden Knights 4, Rangers 1

Ducks 4, Kings 2