Overtime haunts Sabres once more


The Buffalo Sabres’ struggles at home continued Tuesday night in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks. That makes four straight losses for the Sabres – all on home ice.

The Sabres have been stuck on franchise victory No. 999 on home ice, and they just can’t seem to reach the milestone.

Anaheim’s midseason pick-up Adam Henrique scored his 16th goal of the season only 1:36 into overtime, ruining the hopes for a Buffalo comeback and a win at KeyBank Center. Robin Lehner was beaten cleanly on the shot and it’s one he undoubtedly wants back.

Lehner also would want to take back the Duck’s third goal, but for different reasons. Corey Perry was credited with the go-ahead goal about halfway through the third period. However, it was an unfortunate gaffe by Ryan O’Reilly who essentially put it in his own net – giving the Ducks their first lead of the game.

O’Reilly gained some semblance of redemption though by tying the game in the dying stages of the third period. With only 14.5 seconds left in the game, O’Reilly ripped a shot past former Sabres’ netminder Ryan Miller, tying the game at 3. Both Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart picked up assists on the goal, each their second points of the game.

Likely to the surprise of many, the Sabres got off to a relatively good start in this one. Zemgus Girgensons cashed in on his second short-handed goal in three games, giving Buffalo a 1-0 lead only 3:22 into the game.

On a seemingly harmless play, Girgensons rushed into the Ducks zone by himself and protected the puck well enough for a shot on net. Miller made the initial save but left enough of a rebound for Zemgus to gather and bank the puck in behind him.

After a first period where Buffalo outshot Anaheim 13-11 and controlled much of the zone time, the Ducks stormed back in the second with an apparent sense of urgency.

A Kyle Okposo slashing penalty in the late stages of the first period prompted the Ducks with an early second-period power-play. On already Buffalo’s third penalty of the game, Ducks’ rising star Rickard Rakell scored his 22nd goal of the season tying the game at one.

The Sabres didn’t generate much offense in the second period, only generating four shots while the Ducks mustered 14. However, the Sabres were afforded one power play which they converted on.

Jack Eichel gave the Sabres a momentary 2-1 lead with the man-advantage. Both Okposo and Reinhart picked up assists on the goal, though Reinhart’s touch-pass to Eichel was an absolute thing of beauty. It was Jack’s team-leading 21st goal of the season.

The Ducks didn’t take long in generating a response. Duck’s rookie Ondrej Kase scored his 14th of the season tying the game at two. His backhand shot beat Robin Lehner five-hole, another one he probably wants back in light of some strong performances of late.

Despite some late-period heroics, the Sabres still fell short, adding damage to both their home and overtime records. Their current five-game homestand comes to an end Thursday against the New York Islanders. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m.



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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