As the ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres and the AHL's Rochester Americans, the Jackals are tasked with developing prospects throughout the organization. The Road to the Show provides details on how those prospects are progressing.
Buffalo Sabres (NHL) – Buffalo played four games this week against the clubs with the best two records in the Western Conference, and while the Sabres were able to keep the games close, they were only able to come away with one point. Buffalo began the week by hosting the team with the best record in the NHL, the Dallas Stars. Linus Ullmark held the second best offense in the NHL in check, as he stopped 26 of 28 shots, keeping the Sabres in the game. Ryan O’Reilly scored to bring the Sabres within one, and Sam Reinhart appeared to tie the score, late in the third period, but his goal was disallowed after a coaches’ challenge by Lindy Ruff, as the replay showed that the goal scoring play was offside. Dallas tacked on a late empty net goal to win 3-1. After missing the first 17 games of the season, 25-year-old defensemen, Zach Bogosian made his season debut. Bogosian was acquired at the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline from Winnipeg as part of the Tyler Myers trade. He was selected with the 3rd overall pick of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers. He recorded seven assists in 21 games for the Sabres at the end of last season, and he will look to continue to develop his game for the Sabres this year.
The Sabres best result of the week came in St. Louis on Thursday night. Buffalo battled all night, and overcame two one-goal deficits to force the game into overtime, and ultimately, a shootout, where the Blues finally prevailed 3-2. Linus Ullmark played well again for the Sabres in goal, turning aside 27 of 29 shots. He now has a goals-against-average of 2.28 and a .925 save percentage, both of which rank in the top three in the NHL among rookie goalies. Ryan O’Reilly scored his team leading, seventh goal of the season. In addition to leading the team with seven goals, O’Reilly also leads the team with nine assists and 16 points. Sam Reinhart’s second period equalizer would send the game into a shootout, as neither team could score in the third period, or overtime, despite good chances for both teams. The 20-year-old Reinhart leads the Sabres with a plus one rating and two game winning goals. In the shootout, none of the three Sabres’ shooters could get a puck past Jake Allen, and the Blues registered a 3-2 victory. The Sabres earned one point in the valiant defeat.
The Sabres’ two-game road trip concluded in Dallas, on Saturday night, with a rematch against the NHL’s best, Dallas Stars. Chad Johnson kept the Sabres close through the first two periods, but two quick Dallas goals in the third led the way to a 3-0 Stars victory. It was the first time this season that Buffalo has been shutout. Johnson played well in the loss, stopping 29 of 32 shots. Despite the loss, the Sabres continued to get healthier. Evander Kane played in his second game after missing ten in a row with an injury. The 24-year-old winger will look to recapture his form of 2011-12, when he scored 30 goals for the Jets, as he continues to work his way back into the Sabres lineup.
Last night, the Sabres had a return engagement with the St. Louis Blues, this time, at the First Niagara Center. Veteran forward, David Legwand scored his first goal as a Sabre to give Buffalo a 1-0 lead in the second period. However, two third period goals by the Blues, including a goal scored off Sabres defensemen, Josh Gorges, which was purely bad luck, led the Blues to the 2-1 victory. Linus Ullmark played well for Buffalo again, but was again the hard luck loser. Despite holding their own against the best teams in the Western Conference, Buffalo slipped to eighth place in the Atlantic Division with 18 points, and an 8-11-2 record.
Rochester Americans (AHL) – The Americans responded well to the disastrous Pennsylvania road trip, by taking points in two of three games this past week. On Wednesday night, the Ameks welcomed the North Division leading, Toronto Marlies to Blue Cross Arena. 22-year-old, Andrey Makarov stopped the first 37 shots he faced, before finally surrendering the lone goal of the game, in overtime. The Amerks collected one point as a result of the brilliant effort of their young, Russian netminder. The game was the first time this season that the Amerks have been shutout.
The quick two-game homestand concluded on Friday night, against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Amerks built a 2-0 lead on the strength of goals by Nick Baptiste and captain, Cal O’Reilly. O’Reilly recorded his third multi-point game of the season, which leads the team. He is also second on the Amerks with nine points so far this season. Bridgeport fought back to tie the score at 2-2 and force overtime, where Bobby Sanguinetti scored his second goal of the season to earn the much needed victory for Rochester. Sanguinetti is tied for the team lead among defensemen with two goals and five points this year. Andrey Makarov stopped 23 of 25 shots to earn his second victory of the season.
On Saturday evening, the Americans crossed the border for a rematch with the Marlies. Rochester fell to Toronto by the score of 5-1. Phil Varone scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season in the contest. Varone also leads the Amerks with 11 points. Former Elmira Jackal, Justin Kea had his second fight of the season. He has played in four straight games for Rochester since returning from injury. He is still looking for his first point. Former Jackal, Matt Garbowsky played in Saturday’s game. He now has one assist in seven games for the Americans, after beginning the year in Elmira. Rochester is currently in fifth place in the North Division of the Eastern Conference with a points percentage of 0.441, 15 points, and a 7-9-1 record.