Buffalo applied some great pressure late in the game with Linus Ullmark on the bench, but it was ultimately not enough as they drop this one 4 – 1 to a struggling Minnesota Wild team. With only one win in the last nine games, the fans let the Sabres hear their dissatisfaction with a chorus of boos in KeyBank Center.
The Sabres applied great pressure throughout the game, but were unable to capitalize on chances and hit the net throughout the game. The penalty kill held the Wild to just one power-play goal on seven chances, but that only acts as a silver lining to an otherwise disappointing contest. Buffalo’s only goal came from Brandon Montour off of a rebound late in the third period.
“It’s going to test our character right now, our will to compete on a daily basis, and our will to win. We’re all in this together and it’s important to stick together in this tough time.” – Jack Eichel
The Minnesota Wild were lead by Zach Parise with two first period goals. Each goal highlighted areas where Buffalo struggled this game. The first coming from an odd-man rush at the end of a power play and the other, a great tip in front of the net when the Sabres could not clear the zone on the penalty kill. Jason Brodin would add to the lead early in the second period on a weak backhand shot and Jason Zucker closed out the game with an empty-net goal.
The Wild are trending in the right direction, now 3 – 2 in their last five games. Alex Stalock is also continuing to show he is a great option for Minnesota as their starter Devan Dubnyk struggles to stay consistent. Stalock stopped 30 of 31 tonight (.968 save percentage) and nearly had his second shutout in seven games, only letting in a late goal with an extra Buffalo skater on the ice.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) November 20, 2019
With this loss, the Sabres only have one win the eight games in November and show signs of struggling to hit the back of the net. Goaltending is also trending in the wrong direction with Ullmark’s 22 saves on 25 shots (.880 save percentage). Eichel made it a point to state “We are not talking about last year. This is a new year.” in his post-game interview. It is tough to not look back, but the Captain’s mentality needs to carry through the team and focus on what is ahead. As evidenced by Eichel’s fight tonight, there is clearly frustration, but also a willingness to do what it takes to lead the team.
“You can’t be focusing on a bad game. You have to get right out and forget about it.” – Brandon Montour
The next contest will be another tough test as Buffalo will return to the ice Thursday night in Boston at TD Garden against the Boston Bruins at 7:00 PM.