The Sabres fell to the Canadians Thursday night, 3-2, in a game that felt disappointing in a sense. Montreal has not had the best season this year and is a team that the Sabres should have success against despite the Canadians having some studs like P.K. Subban and Max Pacioretty. The Sabres loss ended a franchise record for points consecutively in road games at 10 games.
The one highlight or low light in this case was the cheap hit by Emelin on Reinhart that sent him head first into the boards. This is the type of garbage that should be a penalty and the NHL should be working to eliminate.
Instead, Evander Kane took a penalty when he came to the defense of Reinhart in a semi scrap. One of the really nice things with Kane is his willingness all season to defend his teammates. While he came from Winnipeg with a semi-tarnished reputation, he has been a good leader all year.
The second period finally saw some fireworks with Buffalo being rewarded by Nick Deslauriers tip in after Jake McCabe let a nice wrister go from the left blue line. This goal was a nice moment for Deslauriers who is a Montreal native.
Unfortunately, Buffalo couldn’t hold the lead–an issue that has troubled them all year. Just nine seconds after the Deslauriers goal, Alex Galchenyuk scored in front for his 24th of the year and 8th goal in 10 games. Buffalo has had major issues all year holding a lead after they score. This has to be one of the top things for Bylsma to fix if the team is going to take the next step in 2017.
While Buffalo had opportunities after that they failed to convert on any of their chances. Galchenuk did though late for Montreal for his 25th with just 44 seconds left in the period to stake Montreal out to a 2-1 lead.
Gionta had a strong game in his homecoming back to Montreal where he was formerly the captain. Since the start of 2016 Gionta actually has played much better for the Sabres and been a worthy 3rd line player.
Former Sabre Torrey Mitchell gave the lead back to Montreal at 3-2 with under seven minutes to go and Buffalo never got enough solid chances to truly have a chance to tie.
Nick Deslauriers: He was noticeable all night and his hard work paid off for a goal tonight. He has been a decent 4th liner and should return next year.
Jack Eichel: If Eichel can get a true winger or two next year he is going to put up 70-80 pts. It’s just a matter of time to get him more experience and line mates.
David Legwand: It took nine seconds for Galchenyuk’s line to score and get the momentum back for Montreal. Legwand was out there and got caught badly flat footed.
Jake McCabe: Despite the assist McCabe had a learning night with four giveaways. McCabe long term strikes me as a Jay McKee type defenseman that can do it all and get top four minutes, but he did not have a strong night in his own zone.