It wasn’t quite as ugly as the loss on Monday night, but the Sabres were once again overwhelmed as they lost 6-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks inside the United Center.
Buffalo has now lost ten straight road games, further extending one of the most embarrassing records in franchise history.
Perhaps it was a sign of things to come when, after eight minutes of play in the first period, the Sabres hadn’t managed a single shot on goal.
But Buffalo was able to get on the board first. At 9:30 Jochen Hecht launched a long pass from center ice to Jason Pominville, who stormed in all alone on Blackhawks netminder Corey Crawford and fired the puck into the top shelf for his 16th goal on the season.
Less than four minutes later, Chicago matched the score. A slapshot by Duncan Keith from the point was stopped by Jhonas Enroth, but Chicago’s streaking callup from the AHL Andrew Shaw collected the rebound and threw it into the Buffalo net. It was the rookie’s fifth goal in his short stint thus far in the NHL.
Chicago took the lead on the power play after a groan-worthy delay of game penalty by Mike Weber. Brent Seabook hit pipe from far off with a slapshot, but Blackhawks captian Jonathan Toews, who stood next to net unopposed, tossed the puck in past Enroth who had no idea where it was.
The Sabres brought the score back to a tie early in the second period after Patrick Kaleta drew penalty on Jimmy Hayes for roughing. While on the power play, Brad Boyes stood lined up with the net and tapped a pass over to Pominville, who wired a hard slap shot from right circle for his second goal on the night.
Hardly two minutes later came another foolish Buffalo play. Ville Leino attempted a between the legs pass while in the Chicago zone, but the puck was intercepted by Duncan Keith. The Chicago defenseman fed it to Marian Hossa, who skated in on a breakaway before shooting the puck through Enroth’s legs to put Chicago back up by one.
With only 6:35 left in the second period, the Blackhawks added to their lead. After catching the Sabres on a change, Chicago initiated a 3-on-2 rush into the Buffalo zone. Andrew Burnette threw a pass to Jimmy Hayes, who put it in past Enroth as he skated past the net.
Before the end of the period, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was overheard telling his team that they were still in the game. But not even five minutes into the third period, Chicago continued to pour on the scoring. Hayes performed a between the legs backhand pass that actually worked, and Dave Bolland fired it into the top shelf over Enroth for his 14th goal on the season.
At one point in the final frameBuffalotook a pair of penalties only 11 seconds apart, which led to an effortless 5-on-3 goal byChicago. After an easy faceoff win in the Buffalo zone, Jonathan Toews eventually got the puck and lanced a quick shot past Enroth to raise the Blackhawks lead to four.
After over two weeks where many Sabres fans have been unable to watch the team due to the disputes between Time Warner Cable and MSG, those same fans had to witness yet another miserable performance by a hockey club with absolutely no life in it. That same team will pack up and travel to Winnipeg to meet with the Jets for the fourth of Buffalo’s current seven-game road trip.
Puck drop is scheduled for 8:30 EST tomorrow evening from the MTS Centre.
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