Ullmark makes 44 saves to lead Sabres past CBJ

Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark (35) watches the puck after a shot by the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — During Thursday’s morning skate, Phil Housley was very matter of fact about Linus Ullmark earning a start with the Blue and Gold.

The head coach was also hoping the netminder would provide a spark for the club which was in the midst of a five game losing streak.

Ullmark provided that and much more, turning away 44 of the 45 shots he faced in a 3-1 win over the Columbus Bluejackets.

“It’s been my dream after last summer to get it all together and get up here and play,” the netminder said. I’m very humbled and very happy about getting the win tonight.”

“He did a great job.  A lot of good saves and we also had a lot of good shot blocks,” Brendan Guhle added.

Benoit Pouliot, who scored eight goals in 67 games with Edmonton last season, collected his ninth goal of the season by pounding home a rebound off a shot from Kyle Okposo.

Okposo added the second tally of the game as the puck took a bizarre bounce off the boards, away from Seth Jones and Sergei Bobrovsky who were looking to play the puck behind the net, and out front to the winger who didn’t miss the free chance.

Jack Eichel added an empty net goal late in the third period, to pick up his 18th goal of the season.

Ullmark was sensational from start to finish, with his best save coming in the second period when he was under siege but turned away all 15 shots he saw in the period.  In the high slot Seth Jones created separation from Jordan Nolan and just enough of opening to try and sneak the puck in through traffic.  But, Ullmark was there with a stellar glove save to preserve the Sabres 1-0 lead.

“He fought through some traffic to make the second save and he stepped up,” Head Coach Phil Housley said. “You could see the confidence in his game.”

Above all else, he looked the part of a future No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

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Brendan Guhle looked stellar in his second start with the Sabres as well. He was strong in the defensive zone, quick through the neutral zone and acted as a fourth forward on the ice for the Sabres.

The defeseman even recorded the first point of his career, collecting an assist on Kyle Okposo’s goal in the second period.

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