For the third time in two weeks, the Sabres lost a game to a team they are competing against in the playoff race. This time it was against the Carolina Hurricanes, who out-worked and out-hit the Sabres in a game not nearly as close as the score showed.
Throughout the game, Carolina dominated possession, holding the puck in Buffalo’s end for long stretches, while the Sabres barely could keep the puck in the Hurricanes’ zone.
In the first period, Carolina had a glorious 3-on-1, which Carter Hutton managed to keep out of the net. But Carolina kept working and got a lucky bounce on their first goal by Michael Ferland. Buffalo was able to tie the game at 1 on a power play goal by Jeff Skinner with seconds left in the 1st.
Overall, the Sabres failed to convert on the chances they had throughout the game. In the first period, Casey Mittelstadt was denied on a one-timer attempt in front. The Sabres, after scoring on their first power play, couldn’t convert on their remaining three opportunities.
Additionally, Evan Rodrigues missed a big breakaway opportunity in the second period.
Carolina did get their chances and were rewarded with some luck in the second period. They scored two goals early in the second with Justin Williams going right around Buffalo’s Tage Thompson for the Canes’ second goal. The Hurricanes again were rewarded for their hard work midway into the second when Sebastian Aho threw a puck in front that Jake McCabe deflected into the Buffalo net.
Carter Hutton seemed to be fighting the puck throughout and he would have liked at least one of the Hurricanes’ goals back. But the Sabres were awful defensively in front of Hutton, letting the Hurricanes up close many times and having a hard time getting the puck out of the zone.
Buffalo got a goal late in the third to make it 4-3 on a Kyle Okposo shot from the right side that was deflected in by the Hurricane defender. But the Sabres failed to even get the puck in the zone after pulling the goalie in the final two minutes.
The Sabres take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at home at 7 p.m. tomorrow.