A defensive breakdown in the first period put the Sabres in an early hole against the Hurriances Thursday night at Keybank Center. While they battled back to tie the game and force overtime, defensive breakdowns would cost them a pivotal game and two points in the standings in 6-5 overtime loss.
“It’s about respect for your own end. That’s why,” head coach Phil Housley said when asked why the defensive issues are still happing now 53 games into the season.
“No clue. 50 games in the learning is over,” winger Evan Rodrigues added. “We just have to defend. you’re not going to win giving up six goals. We’re scoring enough to win, we’re just not defending.”
The #Sabres defensive issues aren’t new.
Why are they still happening?
Evan Rodrigues: “No clue. 50 games in the learning is over. We just have to defend. you’re not going to win giving up six goals. We’re scoring enough to win, we’re just not defending.” @news4buffalo pic.twitter.com/eJKnyPQgQT— Nick Filipowski (@NEWS4_NICK) February 8, 2019
Teuvo Teravainen tallied the game winner with 1:35 remianing in the extra session to bury the Blue & Gold.
Buffalo now has 59 points and dropsbehind Carolina in the standings, which now has 60.
“Five of the six goals come from right in front of our net. That’s an area that players of the opposition should be wary of going into. We have to be tougher to play against. We have to start pushing guys out, boxing guys out, have a fear that if something gets into that area, there’s not going to be the looks (the Hurricanes) had tonight.”
Carolina opened the scoring as Justin Faulk skated in from the bluebline and blasted his fifth goal of the year past Linus Ullmark to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead.
Winger Jeff Skinner admitted after the game the defensive lapse was “100 percent” on him.
Despite a strong push to end first 20 minutes of action, the Hurricanes pressed the action to start the second and got a second tally from Teravainen before Buffalo’s offense woke up.
Evan Rodrigues continued his hot streak, scoring for the sixth time in eight games to push his season total to eight. Jason Pominville would add another seven minutes later, pounding home his own rebound to pull the Sabres even at two a piece.
Once again trailing after an early third period goal from Gregg McKegg, Jeff Skinner literally put the team on his back, dragging a red jersey from the blueline to the crease on a breakaway as he collected his 32nd goal of the season.
It wouldn’t take long for another defense lapse — and a lot of standing arond — for Carolina to punce again. This time it was Brock McGinn taking advantage to pound home the off a rebound.
Skinner picked up his second goal of the game to force overtime with less than a minute to play.