The power of positive results
After a four-game losing streak, a Sabres 5-4 win provides an example of what it means to use positive reinforcement on the ice.
BUFFALO — It hasn’t been a fun time for the Sabres over the past…month or so, but when you get a game where, for the most part, everything seems to click, and you come away with a win it’s a great night. Such was the case for the Buffalo Sabres in their 5-4 win over the New Jersey Devils.
Was it a perfect performance? No. Did we see the high-octane offense come back from dormancy? We did. Was their offensive skill on display throughout the game? It damn sure was.
It’s not all sunshine, of course. There was some classic goaltending from Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen with great stops and head-scratching goals allowed, both ones that counted and did not. The confidence dropped significantly in the third period when the Devils, thanks to Jack Hughes, clawed back to within a goal. But unlike previous games, they bent and didn’t break.
What was important for Buffalo is that they not only got the opening goal of the game, but they were able to punch back any time New Jersey was able to get back to within a goal early on and extend the lead. When you head into a game against an elite NHL team after losing 10 of the previous 12 games played, it would be easy to fall back into old habits and allowing negativity to rule the day. But it didn’t happen on Friday night, even if it may have been trying to take over.
“This is a psychological game,” Sabres captain Kyle Okposo said. “When you’re playing in the NHL, it’s not like you’re playing one or two games a week. When you play three, four games a week, your body and your mind break down and as a young team I think we did a really good job up to this point, but we just had that lapse at the wrong time. I thought we just broke a little bit psychologically in how we play and how we think about the game and how we play together, and it can turn around like that. A night like tonight is a step in the right direction.”
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