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Game Recap

Sabres falter late, lose to Sharks, 3-2

With Jack Eichel missing from the ice for the last 1:30, Sabres fail to tie the game late

Recap

The Sabres lost a close one today to the San Jose Sharks by a score of 3-2.

Though the Sharks took an early lead, it appeared that the Sabres had capitalized on a man-advantage opportunity in the first, however after review, it was determined that Sharks netminder Aaron Dell was interfered with on the goal. Just before Jack Eichel ripped his shot past Dell, Sam Reinhart bumped into him, though there is some debate as to whether or not Dell had enough time to recover from contact.

Ryan O’Reilly continued a much improved stretch of play, scoring the Sabres’ first goal of the afternoon, giving him seven points is as many games. O’Reilly was the subject of criticism after a slow start, but since then, he has regained his ground as a reliable, all-purpose centerman. Now flanked by Kyle Okposo and Benoit Pouliot, O’Reilly seems to have found his groove.

The defacto top line of Eichel, Evander Kane and Jason Pominville was responsible for a majority of the Sabres even strength opportunities. After several close calls, Pominville was able to capitalize on a turnover caused by Kane and Eichel beside the net. The goal was his sixth of the season. With the helper, Eichel now has the primary assist on four of Pominville’s tallies thus far. Eichel celebrated his 21st birthday today.

Despite several key saves throughout the contest, Robin Lehner gave in late, allowing the Sharks to take a 3-2 lead with under four minutes left in regulation. Logan Couture sniped a wrist shot above Lehner’s shoulder from the left circle. When isolated, Lehner continues to struggle this season. Two of the three Sharks goals this afternoon came as a result of Lehner essentially being left one-on-one with the shooter. Though a fair share of the blame falls on the Sabres defense, Lehner needs to improve in this area, which has plagued him for the entirety of his career.

One of the more head-scratching decisions was the absence of Jack Eichel when the Sabres opted to pull the goaltender with just over 90 seconds remaining. Even more alarming was Phil Housley’s decision to ice a struggling Matt Tennyson with the extra man. With nearly 20-minutes of ice time, and several appearances on the power-play, the decision leaves fans pondering what exactly Housley sees in the 27-year-old journeyman.

“To get no points is tough to swallow. I’d like to have some scoring chances back. Good effort vs. a good hockey team.” – Eichel

Coming off of consecutive loss, though hard fought, the Sabres are left with many of the same questions. Now sitting at 3-7-2, the blue and gold will need to right the ship quickly. They’ll have a prime opportunity to get back on the winning track this coming Thursday against a winless Arizona Coyotes squad. Puck drop is at 10 p.m.

Scoring

Penalties

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