Sabres eliminated from playoffs, fall to Penguins 3-2

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Buffalo Sabres forward Victor Olofsson (68) is chased by Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman John Marino (6) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s cliche to say hockey, or sports in general, is a game of inches. That was literally the case Saturday for the Sabres. Down 3-2, Rasmus Dahlin’s shot went off the Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry. Sam Reinhart tried to chip it in, but the puck bounced off the post and landed just short of the goal line, allowing Jarry to cover it and prevent the equalizer from reaching the net.

It still goes down as a loss, but this team battled back after trailing 2–0 in the second and nearly took a point from a playoff team. A better start may have led to a better result.

“We struggled early to get into our rhythm a little bit,” Casey Mittelstadt said. “I thought we got better throughout the game. I think we gave them too much time early and ticker made some good saves for us and just a little bit too little too late I guess. Obviously there’s some things we can build on and take going into next game, but most of all we’ve got to be ready to go from the start.”

Pittsburgh scored first when Jared McCann shot one from behind the goal line. Evan Rodrigues added another one in the 2nd period to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead.

“They were willing to put pucks to the net evident of their first goal,” Interim Head Coach Don Granato said. “They shot below the goal line so they knew they were very willing to just put a puck to the net. We were the opposite.”

Buffalo came back with a goal from Tage Thompson in the 2nd to make it 2-1. AFter giving up another goal to the Penguins, they closed the gap with a Mittelstadt score to make it 3-2.

“Obviously we didn’t get the result we wanted tonight, but I thought we played a really well rounded game,” Thompson said. “I think a couple of times we can get the puck in deep and make their D turn But I thought for the most part we worked really hard and I think that’s the trend we’ve seen the past little while now.”

Once again the Sabres will miss the postseason after this loss today. Officially eliminated from playoff contention for the 10th straight year. That ties an NHL record. They’ll face Pittsburgh once again on Sunday afternoon at the KeyBank Center.

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