Controversy in Dallas

A strong final frame by the Buffalo Sabres was not enough to absolve their second period struggles, falling to the Dallas Stars 4-3.

Throughout the first two periods of the contest, the Sabres were out-shot 35-11 despite trailing by just one goal heading into intermission.

The Sabres took an early 2-0 lead when Evander Kane and Matt Moulson scored just ten minutes into the game. Stars’ starting goaltender, Antti Niemi was replaced at the beginning of the second period after allowing two goals on a mere five shots.

It was all Dallas from that point on, scoring four unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead, which they would carry to the finish. Two potential game tying goals were reviewed by the officiating crew in the third period, both of which appeared to cross the line, though neither stood. A phantom holding call against Zach Bogosian with just over two minutes in regulation all but cemented their fate.

Evander Kane registered three points on the night with two goals and one assist. His first goal of the evening came on a pseudo-breakaway, beating John Klingberg in a footrace to the net. Kane now has 14 goals on the season. Matt Moulson cashed in on traffic in front of the Dallas net, notching his tenth of the year.

Patrick Sharp scored just 89 seconds after Moulson, breathing new life into a Dallas team trying to overcome an early deficit. The Stars followed that up with three goals in the second period, one of which was Shap’s second of the night. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn also contributed to their team’s 4-2 lead. With just over a minute remaining in the second, Evander Kane scored again, giving the Sabres three goals on just eleven shots to that point.

Buffalo came out hot in the third period, out-shooting the Stars 16-2. If the Sabres had played with that same aggression and speed throughout the entire contest, there is no way the opposing goalies could have held up in a game where they appeared to fight the puck all night long.

The officiating crew was inexcusably terrible this evening. Not only did they wave-off two goals, one of which was positively over the line, there were also several penalty calls against the Sabres in the second period that were questionable at best.

“The puck was in the net” said Jack Eichel, “I mean usually the puck goes in the net and it’s a goal. It’s kind of weird how that didn’t happen.”

The Sabres defensive corps continued to show that they desperately need a shake-up. Poor decision making in front of their own net, paired with horribly executed outlet passes contributed to one of the most laughable performances from the blue liners this season. Dallas completely had their way with the struggling unit, connecting tape-to-tape passes, and maintaining offensive zone pressure at will.

Overall, the Jekyll and Hyde Sabres failed yet again to play a complete 60-minute contest. Regardless of the early lead, the team showed little to no drive for over half of the game, a familiar theme this season. Dan Bylsma needs to figure out how to get consistent effort from his squad on a regular basis. Though they almost tied the game with eleven seconds remaining, late game comebacks are not a sustainable strategy for winning in the NHL.

The Sabres will have a few days off for the All-Star break and return to action on Tuesday 1/31 when they travel to the Bell Centre to take on the Montreal Canadiens.

Anthony Sciandra
Anthony Sciandra
Staff Writer, BHC Podcast Host, and Website Admin. I'll never forget my first game at Marine Midland Arena in 1998. Sabres crushed the last place Lightning 4-1. Nearly spilled my Capri Sun. Bachelors in Communications from the University at Buffalo.
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