BUFFALO, N.Y. — It took 46 games for rookie Owen Power to score his first goal of the season for the Buffalo Sabres, and it was a big one. Just 56 seconds into overtime against the Dallas Stars, the NHL's current top team in the Western Conference, Power put a Tage Thompson pass in the back of the net for a Sabres win.
"It's nice, I mean, obviously it's been a long time coming," Power said after that game. "I think anytime you get that confidence, it's almost as if nothing can go in. You're able to kinda settle in and start playing and... not be afraid to make mistakes."
That 3-2 overtime win kicked off a four-game road trip where the Sabres picked up 7 of 8 possible points. They're 5-0-2 in their last seven games.
Then, Power scored again... and again. Buffalo's number one overall pick in the NHL Draft scored three goals in three games, between Dallas, St. Louis, and Winnipeg.
Sabres head coach Don Granato said he has been encouraging the 20-year-old defenseman not to be too difficult on himself waiting for the moment.
"The work you're putting in, the reward is gonna follow. It's inevitable, and we can look at a real easy visual is just... three games in a row," Granato said on Tuesday after the Sabres practice at KeyBank Center, a day before their final game ahead of the NHL All-Star Game, with Buffalo hosting the Carolina Hurricanes.
Power was already contributing eating up more ice time than any rookie defenseman this season, now the floodgates might have opened with that lethal shot he had in the cannon.
"There was no doubt that's coming. You knew that well before. It's just a matter of 'okay, which game is it gonna kick in?'" Granato said.
"I said he's gonna score again, and he scored again that next night. You just know it."