Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin continues to be on the minds on many after he collapsed and went into cardiac arrest on the field against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.
On Tuesday night, Buffalo Sabres players arrived for their game against the Washington Capitals in D.C. sporting "LOVE FOR 3" shirts to show their support for Hamlin.
Love and prayers for 3. We are with you, Damar. 💙@HamlinIsland | #BillsMafia pic.twitter.com/TJqlh3ezyg— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) January 3, 2023
The Sabres put together an inspired effort and came away with a 5-4 overtime win against the Capitals. Star center Tage Thompson's hat trick carried the franchise to its seventh win over the last eight games.
As impressive as that performance was, Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams didn't want to talk about what happened on the ice after Tuesday's contest.
"What happened last night is something that makes the game itself and any sport secondary, so it was a tough day for all of us," Adams said of Hamlin's injury. "There's an emotional connection to the city from our team. It was tough, to be honest, this morning, the conversations. But [players] also, I think, know how much our team means to this city and just wanted to be able to go out and do what we could today to put our best foot forward."
Adams added that the idea of the players wearing the matching "LOVE FOR 3" shirts came from captain Kyle Okposo and several other players.
Tage’s January 3rd…— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) January 4, 2023
🔹 3 goals
🔹 3rd hat trick of the season
🔹 30th goal of the season
🔹 Winner 3 minutes into overtime
This one was for you, Damar. pic.twitter.com/hWkFr3sk15
The Capitals also showed their support for Hamlin, who remains in critical condition in a Cincinnati hospital. Washington held a moment of silence prior to the national anthem and showed an image of Hamlin on the jumbotron.
"I think what comes through from our players is how much they care about the people in Buffalo," Adams added. "And I think they also feel that there's a lot of people that are thinking about a lot more important things than a hockey game, but let's try to go out there and do our best."
Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but Hamlin's No. 3 seemed to be a theme on Tuesday. Thompson registered three goals, with the third coming exactly three minutes into the overtime period on Jan. 3. The three goals also brought Thompson's season total to 30.
Thompson's four-point performance brought him to 55 points on the season, which is third behind only Edmonton Oilers stars Connor McDavid (73) and Leon Draisaitl (58). Even on a night in which Capitals star Alex Ovechkin scored a pair of goals, the Sabres were not going to be denied.
The Sabres return home on Saturday when they'll host the Minnesota Wild.