Struggles continue against Canucks


The early season struggles continue for the Buffalo Sabres as they fell to the Vancouver Canucks, 4-2, on Friday night at the KeyBank Center. For as long as it took them to get their first victory of the season, the elusive second win may, too, be quite far out of reach.

Many of the same harmful trends that have plagued this team through the early portion of the season were visible again.

The most notable point of contention: short-handed goals allowed. The Sabres simply cannot shake the dark cloud that has followed them through the first eight games of the season. Not even 10 games in and they have already given up six short-handed goals. The Sabres only gave up four during all of last season.

This short-handed catastrophe was no different than any of the previous games, featuring a power-play collapse. The Sabres were the beneficiary of a bad call gone their way, looking to gain some much-needed momentum with the man advantage. As if rolling identical film of previous goals scored against on the power play this year, the Canucks stormed down the ice on a 2-on-1 and capitalized with ease. Canucks’ fourth-line grinder Derek Dorsett  scored the goal that tied the game at two in the second period.

The usurpation of momentum continued for the Sabres after another questionable call. Shortly after the deflating tying-goal, Daniel Sedin buried his second goal of the season, giving the Canucks their first lead of the game. The goal was challenged by Phil Housley and his staff on an alleged offside.

At first glance, it appeared the Sabres had a strong case for overturning the goal, which would have tilted some momentum back in their favor. After an arduous and lengthy few minutes, the officials determined it to be a good goal, claiming the Canucks player at the Sabres’ blue line ‘had possession of the puck’.

It was a questionable call indeed and Buffalo was awarded a two-minute penalty for delay-of-game for an unsuccessful challenge.

Back to what the Sabres deserve though. Even though they found themselves on the wrong side of a questionable call, they certainly didn’t help themselves by how they played the majority of the game.

As was well known before the game, Vancouver was the team coming off playing three games in four nights. They also got pounded by the Bruins the night before, 6-3. The Sabres looked to be the winded team. They were dominated on the shot clock and possession the whole night.

Like most of his team, Kyle Okposo’s early season slump continued despite picking up his first point of the season.

“That was gross. I just have to be better. I have to make some plays, move my feet, do some things that make me a good hockey player.” – Okposo

Not all of the Buffalo roster struggled tonight. Williamsville native Justin Bailey had a good performance. Only one minute into the game, Ryan O’ Reilly fed Bailey a nifty backhanded pass to which he scored on to give Buffalo an early 1-0 lead. 

Chad Johnson also played spectacularly in goal. Reminiscent of his time with the team two years ago, he is showing why the Sabres went out and resigned him this summer. He kept his team in the game throughout the night, making 37 saves.

Jack Eichel also scored tonight, notching his third of the season. His early season dominance continues as he tallied his 10th point in only eight games.

The Sabres won’t have long to sulk about the loss tonight because they head to Boston to play the Bruins on Saturday. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. as Buffalo will look to get their second win of the season.




Matt Studemeyer
Although born and raised in Charleston, SC, I've had a passion for both hockey and the Buffalo Sabres since childhood. In addition to writing, I'm also an avid musician/guitarist and currently work in the moving and transportation industry.
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