The Buffalo Sabres were defeated by the New Jersey Devils in their final home game before a lengthy West Coast trip, by a score of 6-2. The Sabres failed to show many bright spots in this game as they were outplayed for the entire 60 minutes and made horrendous mistakes in all areas of the ice, especially the defensive zone.
“I thought the effort was unacceptable. We’re facing adversity, and we’re not facing it the right way.” – Phil Housley
Evander Kane provided Buffalo’s only offense (again) as he tallied a pair of goals against New Jersey’s Cory Schneider. His second brought the Sabres within one, but the Devils scored just seconds later while on the penalty kill an ran away with it from there. It was the fourth shorthanded goal Buffalo has allowed in just three games.
Kane showed his speed, tenacity and grit through both of his goals and was clearly the best player in blue and gold all afternoon. While Kane was not expected to be the top point producer on the Sabres roster this season, he is showing his potential to be an extremely valuable asset, if this type of play continues.
After surrendering an early goal in the first period coming off of Stefan Noesen’s head, the Sabres quickly began to unfold. Another goal would be scored at the very end of the period, doubling New Jersey’s lead before the intermission.
The power play struggle is a major factor to this Sabres team as they are proving to have lost a crucial component to their game that they had last season. Aside from being scored on while having a man advantage, the defense is also proving to not be so different from last season as once believed.
“Of course it is [embarrassing]. We have to tighten up on that. We need to learn from this one and move on.” – Ryan O’Reilly
While it is only three games into the season, the Sabres have a tall order ahead of them as they must prepare to regain ground on their West Coast trip. The defense must help their goaltenders, the offense must connect on passes more consistently and every player must buy into the system that the coaching staff is attempting to preach.
Better yet, the entire team should look at Kane’s play and model themselves after the determination that he has showed though three games.
The Sabres begin their road trip against the San Jose Sharks at 10:30 p.m. in the Shark Tank on Thursday.
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January 1, 2018
Eastern Conference Standings: