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Sharpen Up: March 1, 2018

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber /

Well, that's one way to end a scoring drought. 

For three periods on Wednesday night, not much had changed for Jason Pominville. Goalless in 20 games entering the Buffalo Sabres' matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Pominville had been held without a goal yet again despite having taken a team-high six shots on Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. 

Then overtime came, and Pominville's seventh shot - a power-play one-timer from atop the left faceoff circle - found it's way past Vasilevskiy, sealing a 2-1 win for the Sabres. It was their second win in a row and their second in the past month over the NHL-leading Lightning. 

Video: BUF@TBL: Pominville scores on power play in OT

The Sabres will conclude their road trip against the Florida Panthers on Friday. 

Here's what you need to know. 


About last night

Facing a 1-0 deficit in the third period, Evan Rodrigues scored to tie the game on an assist from Pominville with 8:13 remaining in regulation. The Sabres outshot the Lightning 34-22 but had been stifled by the play of Vasilevskiy to that point. 

Chad Johnson made 21 saves, including a pair of stops on Adam Erne to maintain the one-goal deficit in the second period:

Video: BUF@TBL: Johnson shuts down Erne twice in front

The star of the game afterward, however, was Pominville. From our Lexus Postgame Report:

"I was definitely getting a little frustrated, but I don't want to show my emotions. I don't want to let my teammates know. But, yeah, it was starting to get to me," he said. "I was getting looks and wasn't able to find a way to put them in. It was nice to have a chance to get out there and pull through for the guys."

Video: Pominville discusses OT winner

Pominville, who has been serving as an alternate captain since Jack Eichel went down with an ankle injury earlier in the month, has made sure that even though the points weren't coming, he's been helping the team in other ways.

"I know I can contribute offensively. I've always done it but I was brought in probably for that reason and for other reasons. The offense probably wasn't the only thing. So I want to make sure I bring the other things to the table as well," he said. 

"But to be able to contribute is always nice. Definitely nice to get a winner, but I don't want to only focus on offense. I want to bring the other things, whether it's habits, practice, try to change the culture and get moving in the right direction as a team and as an organization. Even though I wasn't producing, I wanted to stick to the other things I did well."

Pominville now has five overtime goals as a Sabre, tying him with Daniel Briere for third place in franchise history. Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek hold the record with six overtime goals apiece. 


Inside the dressing room

Video: Postgame: POMINVILLE

Video: Postgame: RODRIGUES

Video: Postgame: JOHNSON

Video: Postgame: HOUSLEY


Bogo's Kancer Jam

Zach Bogosian was on set with Brian Duff and Martin Biron during the first intermission last night to talk about his upcoming "Kancer Jam," a Kan Jam tournament to benefit the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

Registration for the event, which will take place on March 10, is still open. Watch Bogo's conversation with Marty and Duffer to learn more:

Video: Bogo talks Kancer Jam 


Bald for bucks

Thanks to everyone who donated to the Sabres' Bald for Bucks initiative in February. Here's a look at the impact you helped make:


Up next

Coverage of Buffalo's game in Florida on Friday begins at 7 p.m. with the GMC Game Night Pregame Show on MSG-B, or you can listen live on WGR 550. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30.

The Sabres return home on Monday, March 5 for the first of four meetings with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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