Scoring 1st 2nd 3rd Total Penguins 2 1 1 4 Sabres 1 0 1 2
The Sabres lose their fifth straight tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins on home ice at Key Bank Center. A hard fought and aggressive game was lost due to an inability to find the back of the net despite having great chances to do so.
Buffalo came out slow as they did in previous games, not generating a shot until nearly halfway through the first period. After that point, they played a strong game. Jake McCabe’s shorthanded goal shifted the momentum in the Sabres favor and there were plenty of great chances from there on out.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) March 6, 2020
Jonas Johansson played quite well even though his numbers do not reflect it. Just a .875 save percentage, stopping 28 of 32 shots, is not a great statistical outing for a goaltender, but the level of play out of this young goaltender has been strong and kept the Sabres in this game. He made some big saves early in the game while the rest of the team was waking up, only giving up a goal after being knocked into his own net.
Per. Time EV Goal Assist Assist 1 7:56 Patric Hornqvist (16) Nick Bjugstad (1) Jared McCann (16) 1 9:01 SHG Jake McCabe (3) --- --- 1 12:26 Marcus Pettersson (2) Bryan Rust (27) Evgeni Malkin (47) 2 13:32 PPG Patrick Hornqvist (17) Evgeni Malkin (48) Justin Schultz (8) 3 1:57 Marcus Johansson (9) Dominik Kahun (19) Rasmus Dahlin (34) 3 6:02 Sidney Crosby (15) Jason Zucker (20) ---
“This is the second time we haven’t had one turned over that we thought was quite clearly goaltender interference.” – Ralph Krueger
The Pittsburgh Penguins capitalized on every opportunity the Sabres gave them to stay ahead in this game. From a poor penalty taken by Johan Larsson to giving up multiple odd-man rushes, the Penguins took advantage and showed Buffalo how to finish. Matt Murray played well tonight for Pittsburgh too, stopping 28 of 30, including quite a few in close and on-time opportunities. The Penguins stay tight with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals in the race for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division with the win tonight.
“We’re generating enough chances to win games, we just have to put the puck in the net.” – Marcus Johansson
Marcus Johansson was the only other Buffalo player to beat Murray on a well-placed shot from the slot after an excellent feed from Dominik Kahun. Kahun only saw one more shift after that due Ralph Krueger shuffling lines to give top guys like Eichel, Reinhart, and Olofsson more chances to get on the board. That line is now without a point in five games and have a collective minus 18 +/- in those games. While depth is important to carry a team through periods of poor performance by top players, this line must start to produce if the Sabres hope to gain any momentum as they close the season.
Buffalo will face off against a red hot Flyers team in Philadelphia (9-1-0 in their last 10) at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday night. The Sabres will need a strong effort if they hope to have any chance of pulling out a win on the road.