BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The struggles continued for the Sabres in their first game since returning overseas as they suffered a sixth straight loss, 5-4 to the Carolina Hurricanes in overtime.
Here are four observations from the game.
Different game, same story.
Some of the goals the Sabres have given up this year belong exclusively in the ‘puck luck’ category.
Carolina’s Jordan Staal added another tonight in the first period.
The veteran centerman floated-blooped-lofted (pick an adjective and it probably works) the puck toward the crease…sending it over a screen and over the shoulder of Carter Hutton.
Even Staal joked he threw up an alley-oop to Warren Foegele…and just got lucky.
In the second period, Jeff Skinner missed his chance and in the third Evan Rodrigues blew a 2-on-1 rush.
In overtime, Casey Mittelstadt and Rasmus Ristolainen squandered another 2-on-1 chance as the second year centerman held onto the puck and failed to tuck the puck around the outstretched leg of Mrazek.
There were more missed scoring opportunities in the game, but those are the most glaring against Carolina.
Skinner usually never misses an open net, but sailed his second shot attempt wide — all with with Peter Mrazek sprawled out and staggered from his initial blast.
Rodrigues, skating up the ice with Skinner, could have fed the skilled winger or shot it himself and ultimately held onto the puck too long. By the time he decided to pass, the window of opportunity had closed.
For a team that can’t light the lamp on regular basis, they have to start cashing in.
Unfortunately, this is the point the Sabres are at — and we’re only halfway through November.
The Sabres need to make a move to upgrade the top six and add some scoring punch to the roster.
Outside of Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Jeff Skinner, contributions are few and far between.
Dating all the way back to their loss against the New York Rangers, when their current spiral began, Eichel, Reinhart and Skinner had scored seven of the team’s last 12 goals.
The other five were provided by: Marco Scandella, Vladimir Sobotka, Jake McCabe, Henri Jokiharju and Victor Olofsson.
With Skinner’s goals in the first and third period against Carolina, 9, 28 and 53 have now combined to score nine of the last 16 goals. Curtis Lazar, who was called up and replaced Sobotka in the lineup, tallied his first goal in more than year. Jokiharju tallied his second goal of the season in the third.
The contributions from the rest of the lineup need to come on a consistent basis.
Need More Power
The Sabres entered Thursday night’s game in desperate need of their special teams to show up. Prior to the game, they were just 2-for-17, and had gone 0-9 in their previous four games.
Here’s how the numbers look after tonight’s game: 2-for-20. They haven’t scored a power play goal in five games.
Krueger jumbled the special teams units, but it didn’t provide any jolt offensively.