Offense continues to sing the blues

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The Buffalo Sabres have had their fair share of issues scoring this season, and tonight was no exception, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying.

The Sabres failed to convert on a number of excellent chances in the second and third period and saw a respectable road effort without their top-two centers go for naught as they dropped the game 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues.

After scoring the opening goal of the contest on a strong play by Sam Reinhart in front of the net on the power play in the first period, the Sabres saw opportunity after opportunity fettered away. Both Reinhart and Kyle Okposo in particular had a number of quality chances that could not find the back of the Blues net. While the Sabres’ 24 shots may not wow many, the number of scoring chances they had do not reflect that shot total.

The Blues broke the game open with two quick goals in the first three minutes of the third period to break a 1-1 tie, with the first being made possible by a Johan Larsson shot finding the crossbar instead of some twine. Scottie Upshall added a late empty net tally to extend the Blues lead to 4-1 to close out the game.

In a game that saw the Sabres dictate the play for most if not all of the second period and good stretches of the first on the road against a quality opponent, the two quick third period goals certainly were the proverbial back breaker to a team that seemingly cannot buy a goal right now.

“For whatever reason we are not capitalizing on our chances and we have to get better at that.” – Sam Reinhart

But while the Sabres stayed consistent in one sense the offensive zone, the play of Robin Lehner was, again, quite good. He saved 27 of 30 St. Louis shots and made some sharp glove saves in the second period to keep the game tied 1-1.

Josh Gorges also had a busy game. After a brutal hit on Alexander Steen in the second period which eventually led to Steen leaving the game twice, Gorges found himself a focal point of the Blues forwards. That eventually resulted in a pretty one-sided fight in favor of Gorges with Robby Fabbri later in the period.

“We created some opportunities, we gotta find a way, opportunities are great but we can’t make excuses, we’ve got to win games.” – Josh Gorges

Ryan O’Reilly missed the game after leaving Saturday’s game against New Jersey with an injury. Coach Dan Bylsma categorized him as day-to-day. Dmitry Kulikov also missed tonight’s game and could miss a few more based off of Bylsma’s comments before the game.

As for the recent call-ups from Rochester, William Carrier again had a good game in his 10-plus minutes of action, using his speed and size, and Nicholas Baptiste saw the least amount of time on the roster tonight, but he threw four hits and had a shot on goal.

The Sabres will look to snap this goal scoring funk on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who may be without Steven Stamkos, at the KeyBank Center. Puck drop is at 7pm.