Sabres get run over in Ottawa


The Sabres give up another good start and cannot pull it back in during this loss to the Ottawa Senators. A real chance to pull even closer in the hunt for a playoff spot is wasted and Buffalo is back to examining the little things.

Buffalo has yet to string four wins together this entire season, but it was expected they would have done so tonight. Coming out of three in a row at home and playing quite well, you would expect them to take it to a team with a -44 goal differential. It was good to see a name like Brandon Montour pop back on to the score sheet with a two goal, three point night. His early tallies built confidence and made it feel like the Sabres were in control.

Ottawa had different plans and exposed a lack of urgency by Buffalo. The little things I so recently praised seemed to fall apart tonight. A shorthanded goal by Vladislav Namestnikov started a flury of scoring, exposing these short-comings. Clearly looking for deep passes and in-zone cycle, Ottawa left Buffalo looking unbalanced at best. You can point to the four minutes in the first period that lead to the two goal deficit as the cause for the loss, but there was not enough hustle through the rest of the game for me to see it that way.

“We didn’t play smart enough.” – Victor Olofsson

Buffalo fell behind early and stayed behind in almost every statistical category you care about. Shots, faceoffs, and hits are the most telling for who wanted this game more. Being out-hit nearly two to one, outshot almost the same, and giving up two shorthanded and powerplay goals throughout the game are not a winning recipie.

Goaltending on both sides was not great, with Craig Anderson stopping 23 of 27 shots and Carter Hutton stopping 33 of 39. Anderson did control a bit of the pace with his quick glove, robbing the likes of Sam Reinhart and Evan Rodrigues to keep his team in the lead. Hutton also made a few big saves, but ultimately looked like he was fighting the puck most of the night with a lack of rebound control and awareness.

“Overall very disappointing when you look at the start, the table we had set, and how we let that go on our own.” – Coach Ralph Krueger

The mentality has been small, thinking of each game individually, but you have to think about it holistically at this point in the season. With the late game start, Buffalo knew teams like the Maple Leafs or the Montreal Canadians were losing, opening up the door even wider for them. The Sabres did show a bit of fight with players like Kyle Okposo powering to the net and Victor Olofsson still making his presence felt on the power play. There needs to be a stronger effort throughout the lineup and as a team.

Buffalo will aim to take some points off a Conference opponent as they battle in Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon at PPG Paints Arena.

12:14Brandon Montour (4)
110:12Brandon Montour (5)Rasmus Ristolainen (24)Victor Olofsson (21)
114:02SHGVladislav Namestnikov (13)Jean-Gabriel Pageau (15)Mike Reilly (10)
115:07Artem Anisimov (12)Nick Paul (8)Scott Sabourin (12)
115:16Drake Batherson (3)Colin White (11)Tyler Ennis (18)
117:31PPGArtem Anisimov (13)Tyler Ennis (19)Mike Reilly (11)
22:36Kyle Okposo (7)Johan Larsson (10)Brandon Montour (11)
29:00Jean-Gabriel Pageau (23)Brady Tkachuk (19)Anthony Duclair (15)
213:47PPGVictor Olofsson (19)Rasmus Dahlin (32)Jack Eichel (42)
312:53PPGJean-Gabriel Pageau (24)Brady Tkachuk (20)Drake Batherson (7)
319:14SHG/ENAnthony Duclair (22)Jean-Gabriel Pageau (16)


Cory Hubbard
I am a lifelong Buffalo hockey fan living in Boston, MA, where I moved after graduation from the Rochester Institute of Technology. I have played hockey my whole life and love bringing my passion for Buffalo hockey together with my knowledge and love of the game.
[td_block_social_counter facebook="BuffaloHockeyCentral" twitter="BHCdotcom" custom_title="Follow BHC:" header_color="#002654" open_in_new_window="y"]