“The legend grows” | Houser makes 45 saves in SO Win over Isles
Rick Jeanneret put it best as the Sabers gobbled up their goalie after a shootout victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
The legend of Michael houser grows and grows.
Houser, just 24 hours away from his NHL debut that captured the imagination of the hockey world, made 45 saves and then stopped all three shots in the shootout to claim a 4-3 victory.
The 28-year-old goalkeeper refused the latest of those attempts with a glove save on Oliver Wahlstrom. He let out a fist pump as festive cries erupted from the Buffalo bench.
“I think everyone is happy to win,” he said afterwards.
Anders Bjork scored two goals with the shootout winner to help the Sabers clear a two-goal deficit for the second straight night. Cody Eakin also scored.
But we start our take out again with the man between the pipes.
Video: Condensed Game: Islanders @ Sabers
1. The legend continues
First, a quick recap for those who missed the game on Monday. Houser – who is nearing the end of his ninth professional season – picked up the win in his NHL debut, an opportunity necessitated by the absences of four goaltenders above him on the depths board.
It was his first game of any kind in almost 14 months. He joked afterwards saying he was still catching his breath.
By the time he met the media for his post-game presser on Tuesday, he had made 82 saves (including all three in the shootout) in under 27 hours.
“It really didn’t sound like 45 hits or anything,” he said. “The first half there was obviously a bit more work. As the game progressed it seemed like it slowed down a bit.”
Houser faced 21 shots in the first 20 minutes and was beaten on a single shot from Anthony Beauvillier. The Sabers settled in from that point on, allowing shots from areas where Houser could follow them and line them up cleanly.
Until the end of the third period, ie. The Sabers had returned to tie the game when, with 4:33 left, Casey Cizikas defended for a breakaway. Houser deflected the shot, announcing the work he would do to seal victory in the shootout. He looked as calm in the face of a Beauvillier setback as he got him to speak to reporters afterwards.
“I was just trying to stay tall and be tall and be patient,” he said. “But no, no real jitters. I prefer three-on-three shootouts.”
Video: NYI @ BUF: Bjork and Houser lead Sabers to shootout victory
With Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (lower body) and Dustin Tokarski (family affair) unavailable and Linus UllmarkIn the air as he recovers from a lower-body injury, there’s a good chance Houser will start one – if not both – of the Sabers’ last two games in Pittsburgh. His family is from Youngstown, Ohio, about an hour north of Steel City. Both games will have fans in attendance.
“If I’m in there it will be really cool to have my parents there to watch me play in the NHL,” he said. “It will be really fun.”
2. Inside the numbers
Houser becomes the first Sabers goaltender to win his first two starts since Mika Noronen in 2000. His 45 saves were the most scored by a Sabers goaltender since Carter hutton stopped 47 shots in a win in Los Angeles on Oct. 17, 2019.
3. Big Bjork Party
Bjork found immediate chemistry after switching to a line with Sam reinhart and Victor Olofsson against the Islanders on Monday. Granato stayed with the trio in the rematch, and it paid off.
Shooting attempts were in favor of Buffalo, 19-8, with the trio on the ice 5-5, according to Natural Stat Trick. After several long changes in the offensive zone, they finally capitalized when Bjork flipped a Colin Miller shot to reduce the deficit to 3-2 with 2:23 left in the second period. Bjork triggered the change by forcing a roll on a backcheck near the New York blue line.
Video: NYI @ BUF: Bjork deflects Miller’s slap at home
“He was dynamic,” said Granato. “Reaching for the pucks, pressuring the pucks, hanging on and owning pucks, and obviously finishing. He’s got a lot of talent and he’s getting more and more comfortable every day and he’s developing the chemistry and determining our system and how we want to play. That’s all. adding up and it’s fun to watch when that happens. And he’s a hell of a good kid and teammate too. “
Bjork scored the tying goal at 9:04 to play in regulation, finding room in the right face-off circle and defeating goalkeeper Ilya Sorokin with a side wrist shot. He was patient and deliberate in his first NHL shootout attempt, beating Sorokin to his side for the only goal of the competition.
“I’m just trying to get better every day with the season coming to an end here, but I’m trying to improve and build for the rest of this year and then hopefully continue to next year. “, did he declare.
4. Call it a comeback
The Sabers erased the two-goal deficits and won back-to-back games since Nov. 17 and Nov. 19, 2018 at Minnesota and Pittsburgh, respectively.
“I think we did a good job bringing in the energy,” Bjork said. Both games we didn’t start out exactly the way we wanted, especially tonight, I thought, but we responded well and played for 60 minutes.
“With the young legs and young bodies that we have in this team, we have the ability to stay energetic throughout the game and to start playing and breaking down teams. That was our goal and I think it was. is what we did well. “
The season ends with games in Pittsburgh on Thursday and Saturday. Thursday coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on MSG. The puck delivery is scheduled for the 7th.