Buffalo Sabres budding superstar Tage Thompson was in fine form once again in his team's 5-4 overtime win against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.
But his overtime heroics carried even greater meaning in a solemn time for Buffalo sports.
The Sabres arrived at CapitalOne Arena on Jan. 3 wearing t-shirts saying "Love for 3", a show of support for Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who is in critical condition after suffering a cardiac arrest in a game on Monday.
But the Sabres' tribute to Hamlin did not end there.
Thompson provided the overtime winner exactly three minutes into the extra frame for his third goal of the game. The tally completed his third hat trick of the season and his 30th goal of the campaign.
Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams revealed how he and his club struggled with the disheartening news on the eve of a game.
“It wasn’t feeling right this morning,” Adams told The Athletic. “It didn’t feel like a normal game day.
“What happened last night is something that makes the game itself and any sport secondary,” Adams said. “It was a tough day for all of us as a community. We care about each other in Buffalo. And as organizations, we care about each other. I know our players felt that this morning. We’re all just thinking about Damar.”
In the NFL's Monday Night Football clash between the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, Hamlin made a tackle on Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, absorbing the brunt of the solid contact in his chest. The Bills safety got up after the tackle, but almost immediately collapsed backwards, seemingly unconscious.
Trainers and doctors rushed to Hamlin to provide urgent care as shocked players, coaches and fans looked on. First responders administered emergency aid to the 24-year-old, including CPR and automated external defibrillator re-animation techniques for several minutes.
The Bills announced Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest on the field, and that he was sedated but listed in critical condition while he received care in the intensive care unit at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Hamlin's uncle, Dorrian Glenn, provided updates on his nephew's condition on Tuesday, revealing that Hamlin was actually resuscitated twice after collapsing.
“His heart had went out so they had to resuscitate him twice," Glenn said, per CNN. "They resuscitated him on the field before they brought him to the hospital, and then they resuscitated him a second time when they got him to the hospital.
"Right now they've got him on a ventilator. They're trying to get him to breathe on his own. We're just kind of taking it day by day. Still in the ICU. They have him sedated. So just continue to administer the medical treatment they've been doing."
The Bills-Bengals game was suspended, and it is still unclear when it will be resumed.
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