The effort was too little, too late for the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night at the First Niagara Center. The Sabres fell to the Winnipeg Jets on home ice to end a three-game winning streak for the league’s worst team.
The Sabres fell behind early in the first period, and fell behind 2-0 after a shorthanded goal in the second period on a five-minute powerplay. Chris Stewart scored at the 5:30 mark of the third period, but it was not enough as the Sabres fell to the Jets 2-1.
“I thought we started okay at the beginning, and then the shorthanded goal against us really set us back,” Sabres head coach Ted Nolan said following the loss. “We couldn’t get our powerplay going. Funny thing is we practiced it all week, practiced it every day. It didn’t look like we did it all, and that hurt us. That was the game right there.”
“The first period and a half or so, I thought our hand were handling the puck like a grenade: it kept bouncing and bouncing and we couldn’t get a hold of it. Then in the third period, we played the way we have to play in order to be successful.”
The Sabres were without the services of Tyler Myers who was a late scratch for the Sabres with an undisclosed injury he suffered earlier in morning skate. Without Myers, the team looked to Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov to lead the defense. Zadorov led the Sabres in total ice-time with 25:52 and also had two hits and a shot in the game. Ristolainen had 23:30 of total ice-time and had two shots, a hit, and led the team with six blocked shots.
The Sabres powerplay was not good tonight as they went 0-4 and gave up the shorthanded goal to Michael Frolik at the 14:20 mark of the second period. Buffalo only had two shots on the powerplay, and the Sabres only put up 20 shots on Jets goaltender Andrej Pavelec the whole game. Jhonas Enroth made 24 saves on 26 shots faced in the match-up.
Patrick Kaleta made his season debut at home on Wednesday, where he played 7:30 of ice-time and led the team with six hits. Kaleta was hit from behind into the boards by Jets forward Adam Lowry at the 14:06 mark of the second period. Kaleta was alright, however he was cut from the hit and Lowry received a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
In the end, the Sabres did not show up for a full 60-minutes of action, and Ted Nolan will have some work to do for the next game on Friday night.
“I think the biggest message here tonight is that we have to play 60-minutes. If we do, we’ll be okay. If we don’t, then we don’t know how things will turn out,” said Nolan.
The team will have Thanksgiving off, but will get right back to work for Friday night’s matchup with the Montréal Canadiens from the First Niagara Center. Opening face-off is scheduled for 7pm, and can be seen on MSG Network.
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