Turnovers costly in opening loss

For the first time in nearly 10 months, the Sabres played a regular season game again. It may not have gone how they had hoped as they fell to the Washington Capitals by a 6-4 score on Thursday night at KeyBank Center.

There were several bright spots from Buffalo’s side despite the loss. What stood out the most in my eyes is that they kept battling back all the way until the end. Down 4-1 at one point, they made it a one-goal game until the final minutes, when Garnet Hathaway sealed the deal with a long shot into the gaping net.

Per.TimeEVGoalAssistAssist
15:43Nicklas Backstrom (1)Alex Ovechkin (1)T.J. Oshie (1)
18:48PPGTaylor Hall (1)Victor Olofsson (1)Jack Eichel (1)
110:33PPGT.J. Oshie (1)Alex Ovechkin (2)John Carlson (1)
27:05John Carlson (1)T.J. Oshie (2)Nicklas Backstrom (1)
213:23Brenden Dillon (1)Conor Sheary (1)Lars Eller (1)
218:46Tobias Rieder (1)Dylan Cozens (1)Jake McCabe (1)
30:20Jake McCabe (1)Jack Eichel (2)Tage Thompson (1)
30:46Jakub Vrana (1)------
318:06Victor Olofsson (1)Taylor Hall (1)Sam Reinhart (1)
318:57ENGarnet Hathaway (1)Nick Jensen (1)---

Last season, if you told me the Sabres gave up six goals, that very well might have been a blowout. But the offense managed four tallies in this one, including two from Sabres’ newcomers Taylor Hall and Tobias Reider.

Dylan Cozens recorded his first point as a Sabre, with an assist on Reider’s goal.

This effort from Buffalo was far from perfect, and maybe that’s to be expected with so much time off and zero preseason games. There were mistakes, including a crucial one by Eric Staal in front of his own net:

That goal was a killer just as the Sabres had gotten themselves right back into the game.

Staal ended up leaving the game after this hit:

Staal did not return to the game.

It would have been nice to see Carter Hutton bail the team out once or twice, but he had a rough night in goal, allowing five goals on 27 shots. It’s expected that Linus Ullmark will be in net for Friday’s rematch.

For a game that featured 10 goals, the Sabres didn’t play nearly their best hockey, but they were in this game and their offense showed potential. The power play has the looks that it could be dangerous this season. There are just too many good options on the ice for it not to be.

As Brian Duff mentioned in the post game, this was Jake McCabe’s first game as a father, and he recorded the Gordie Howe hat trick:

The Capitals looked like a team of recent years, where they showed the firepower that has been existent for a while. Alexander Ovechkin had a pair of assists and his team saw six different goal scorers on this night.

Ilya Samsonov allowed four goals on 26 shots and didn’t have a good night in goal. He also nearly let in another goal, but the puck bounced off the post instead.

These two teams face each other again on Friday, and we’ll see if the Sabres can even things up.

Kevin Freiheit
Kevin Freiheit
I founded Buffalo Hockey Central in 2008 and have poured hours and hours into this site. Luckily, we have a great team of writers and designers who have helped keep this up and running despite a ton of out-of-pocket costs. We do this because we enjoy it, and we're desperate to see the Sabres win the Cup someday, but they have to make the playoffs first.

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