BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — For the first time this season, the Sabres were shutout in a 1-0 loss to the New York Islanders.
Here are four observations following the game.
The Sabres are enduring their toughest stretch of the season and have now lost four of their past five games — which including three straight.
The road ahead doesn’t get easier. The Blue & Gold will now hop on a plane and fly halfway around the world for the Global Series in Sweden on Nov. 8th and 9th to battle Tampa Bay.
No team, especially the Sabres, want to lose. But, now the Blue & Gold will have to chew on three straight losses for at least a week before hitting the ice overseas in their first true test of adversity this season.
When you’re hot, you’re hot…and when you’re not, you’re not.
When you’re the hottest team in the NHL, the bounces tend to go your way and when you’re struggling, they don’t.
Buffalo benefited from some puck luck early in the season, and over the last few games the bounces have certainly not gone their way.
That was the case in the first period for the Sabres as Derick Brassard, who was skating below the goal line and behind the net, sent a puck off the leg of Carter Hutton and in to open the scoring.
That proved to be the difference — an unfortunate bounce that helped push the Isles winning streak to nine games.
Scoring has been an issue for the Sabres over the last few seasons and if they want to compete and continue to climb out of NHL basement and remain relevant in the standings, they’ll need to start burying the Grade-A chances they’re getting.
Seconds into Saturday’s game, Vladimir Sobotka had two chances to pound the puck past a sprawling Semyon Varlamov, but was turned away.
Later in the period Marcus Johnason feathered a pass to Victor Olofsson in the slot, but that chance sailed past the far post.
That trend continued into the second and third periods as well. Jack Eichel missed an open cage as a power play opportunity expired late the second period.
Colin Miller dented the post on a shot during the team’s third power play opportunity.
After their red hot start to the season on the man-advantage, since their win over Montreal on Oct. 9th, the Sabres power play has experienced quite the power outage.
Over the last 11 games the Blue and Gold have gone 6-for-37. For a team that continues to struggle to score at even-strength, Buffalo can’t afford to go cold on the power play. They’ll find themselves on the wrong side of things more often than not.