All throughout the third period on Tuesday night, one request reverberated from the sellout crowd at KeyBank Center.
One, two, three, four five, six, seven, eight, nine … We want 10!
As has often been the case lately, the Buffalo Sabres gave the people what they wanted. After surrendering a two-goal lead in the final 8:31 of regulation, Jeff Skinner sent the building into a frenzy with an overtime goal to clinch Buffalo’s 10th straight win, 3-2 over the San Jose Sharks.
The streak ties a franchise record first achieved in January 1984 and matched to begin the Presidents’ Trophy winning campagin in 2006-07.
Rasmus Ristolainen, one of the longest-tenured Sabres now enjoying his first taste of success with the team, still had the fans on his mind when he spoke postgame.
“I’m really happy for us, but really happy for them,” Ristolainen said. “They’ve been supporting us all these years when I’ve been here. Six years, tough years. And it feels great to see them happy and the building’s been rocking the last few games.”
It’s hard to imagine anyone in the crowd of 19,070 ever had their mind on anything but a postive result. It felt as though the Sabres had done it in every way possible through the first nine games of the streak. They protected leads, erased late deficits, found ways to win three shootouts.
But the Sharks presented a new challenge. Ristolainen and Nathan Beaulieu scored to put the Sabres up 2-0 with 15:46 left to play in regulation, but a pair of goals from Joe Pavelski wiped out their lead. Ristolainen said he never felt his team waver.
“No, I mean last 10 games when it’s a tight game we feel confident,” he said. “If we’re down, we don’t panic. We believe. We have the belief now. We know if we play the way we play usually we’re going to get our chances. We’ve been getting one more goal than the opponent the last few times.”