Sabres look to rebound after Thursday OT loss

Buffalo Sabres

New York Rangers celebrate Mika Zibanejad’s winning goal as Buffalo Sabres goalie Dustin Tokarski (31) turns away during the overtime period of an NHL hockey game in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday, April 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The celebration of breaking the 18-game winless streak was shortlived, not only on the ice, but on the calendar too. Just one day after winning their first game in over a month, the Sabres had to trot back out and play their third contest in four days against the Rangers.

Fatigue appeared to get the better of the boys, as the Sabres fell behind 2-1 to New York, and while they were able to force overtime, it didn’t go their way in the 3-2 loss.

“I think the second period they were stretching us out, really transitioning and moving outside in our zone,” forward Cody Eakin said. “It’s pretty tough to cover. They have a lot of speed and they can make some crafty plays.”

With the next game on the horizon, they’re looking to improve from their last time out. That day off between games could make a difference.

“I think just playing our game,” forward Riley Sheahan said. “Playing with some energy I think. We were a little fatigued that last game and it showed. Just playing together as a five man unit. We’ve got a system set in place we all know and when we can play that way we can have some success so being confident and playing together.”

Overall it appears the confidence is building with this unit, as Eakin said they’re doing some things better here in recent weeks, and it was evident at times even in Thursday’s loss.

“We’re doing the right things the majority of the game now and it’s giving us an opportunity to be in games and like you said, right at the end, three seconds left, it’s a big play by Tage off the draw and off the forecheck I think and it’s a belief and it’s got to be a big part of it that we can come back, that we can pull the goalie and get that tying goal and we did a good job of it,” Eakin said.

As they continue to build on each performance, they’re hoping to build that identity once again Saturday night.

“This has to be a team effort so we’re really pushing that when we speak together as a team that everybody is needed or this isn’t going to work,” head coach Don Granato said.

The Sabres meet the Rangers at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

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