Kyle Okposo drifted toward the boards after scoring the Buffalo Sabres' first goal of the season on Thursday. The smiling fans on the other side of the glass were a welcome sight after a season spent playing in front of tarps and cardboard cutouts.
The moment sparked a memorable night inside KeyBank Center. The Sabres lived up to the aggressive, hardworking mindset coach Don Granato has preached since the start of training camp and stormed to a 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
The fans noticed. Blocked shots and net-front skirmishes earned standing ovations. Fans cycled through a greatest hits of chants during the third period, from singing "Sweet Caroline" to chanting the chorus from "Seven Nation Army" to pleading for a sixth goal from the Sabres.
"We were just talking about it in the locker room, how fun it was to play in front of the fans," Okposo said afterward. "So, more to come."