Sabres embarrassed as they drop a 4-2 decision to Vancouver
If the Buffalo Sabres had amassed any momentum after a statement 3-1 win in Toronto Saturday night, it was little more than fumes.
Tyler Ennis and Evan Rodriguez rioted the crowd inside KeyBank Center before even five minutes had been played. Rodriguez, who was called up from the Rochester Americans only days ago, fought doggedly behind the Vancouver Canucks net to steal the puck away. He held onto it with surprising patience, eventually tossing it to a wide-open Ennis, who tapped it home to put Buffalo ahead 1-0 early.
The crowd got even louder just a few minutes later when Alex Burrows tried to pick a fight with Robin Lehner. The fiery Sabres goaltender didn’t need any help, but Justin Falk stormed in to protect his goaltender and leveled Burrows. Although Burrows very obviously initiated the scrum, Lehner was assessed a penalty, and after both Burrows and Falk both received roughing minors, the Sabres found themselves on the penalty kill.
That’s where the fumes dissipated. Buffalo surrendered a goal with mere seconds left in the penalty, giving Bo Horvat his 17th on the year and allowing Vancouver to tie the game.
The Sabres never found their footing after that. Vancouver netted three of the next four goals, only giving up a score in the dying seconds of the first period when Kyle Okposo his 18th this season.
Michael Chaput put two past Lehner for just his second and third on the year, while Burrows proved an even greater scourge to the Sabres by netting his ninth. Burrows’ tally and Chaput’s second both came in a second period where the Canucks dominated the Sabres, outscoring them 2-0 and outshooting them 12-6.
Although the scoresheet will record only one power play goal by Vancouver, a string of penalties were costly for the Sabres. Buffalo sent a man to the box six times by the halfway point of the third period, wasting more than half a period playing a man down.
Their power play–which had recently vaulted to the number one spot in the NHL–did them no favors. Despite being gifted with two Vancouver penalties late in the game, including one with under three minutes left in regulation, the Sabres power play never solved Canucks netminder Jacob Markstrom. The power play finished by going 0-for-3 on the evening.
Buffalo will look to right the ship again in two nights when they fly out to visit the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. The Valentine’s Day matchup will be the second time in ten days that the teams have met; Buffalo shut out the Sens at home 4-0 back on February 4th. Tuesday’s contest will have a 7:30 PM EST puck drop from Ottawa.