For the fourth game in a row, the Buffalo Sabres secured an early lead and failed to hold it.
But that concerning trend is merely an afterthought to the abysmal one the Sabres continued tonight in their 3-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers; Buffalo has now suffered 13 straight regulation losses.
13 games without collecting even a single point in the standings, even when facing the 29th-ranked Oilers, who earned just their 13th victory on the season this evening.
Buffalo found themselves on the scoreboard early on Tyler Myers’ second goal of the year. A scrum behind the back of the Edmonton net eventually sent the puck flying out to the left circle, where Myers met it and fired it at the open net before Edmonton goaltender Ben Scrivens could close the gap. The goal came at just 2:22 of the first period.
The Sabres could only support their lead for about ten minutes. Matt Fraser tied the game at 12:27, and took control less than three minutes later. Oscar Klefbom threw the puck through traffic that blinded Sabres netminder Jhonas Enroth and scored his first goal on the year.
Another Oiler found the back of the net for the first time this season at 7:52 of the third period. Enroth was again helpless to fend off a chance when Teddy Purcell and Anton Lander stormed in a 2-on-1 opportunity that eventually gave Lander his initial tally.
The Sabres cut the deficit to one late in the third after Rasmus Ristolainen capitalized on a shot that Scrivens failed to freeze, but just when a comeback seemed possible, Buffalo took a holding penalty with under two minutes left in the game, effectively halting any of the Sabres’ momentum.
With the loss, proponents of the “embrace the tank” mentality will be satisfied, as Edmonton jumps four points above last-place Buffalo in the standings, and in the gag-worthy race for the top draft pick later this year.
Buffalo’s road trip gets no easier going forward. They’ll move on from the lowly Oilers to the sturdy Vancouver Canucks for a faceoff less than 24 hours from now.
It’ll be the first time that former-Sabre Ryan Miller squares off against Buffalo since being traded nearly a year ago. Puck drop is scheduled for 10 PM EST from the Rogers Arena in Vancouver.