BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Thursday’s game inside the KeyBank Center was a bit like the snow outside. There was an early flurry of offense for San Jose and that led to an accumulation of goals and the Sabres couldn’t dig themselves out of a three-goal deficit in the first period.
Buffalo scored goals in the second and third, but it just wasn’t enough. The team talked after the game and said that urgency early on was the biggest issue.
“I think we were sort of waiting for plays to develop and as a result we were kind of on our heels for a bit there and forced [goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen] to make saves to keep us in it and when we did get our feet under us we just couldn’t find that last one,” forward Jeff Skinner said.
“I think as a team we have to be more ready in the first,” Luukkonen said.
The Sharks opened a three-goal lead in the latter half of the first period on goals from Matt Nieto, Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl. All three came in a five minute stretch of the opening period. San Jose finished the first period with 10 shots on goal. Head coach Don Granato spoke on the frustration with some of the mistakes after the game.
“We played with too much fear in the first period, which is hesitation and we need to get rid of that and we did a better job in the second two [periods],” Granato said. “All the frustration you hear in my voice is that. Played with too much hesitation which is fear for me.”
They bounced back in the second with a goal from Jeff Skinner, and outshot the Sharks in each of the final two periods. Zemgus Girgensons scored late in the third to make it 3-2, but they couldn’t make up the three-goal deficit. Granato said some costly errors early were ultimately what put them behind in the first.
“We had some guys that made some mistakes that shouldn’t have been made,” Granato said. “So I don’t want to fault the whole team for it.”
The head coach reiterated that good teams need to bounce back from early troubles, and they didn’t do that on Thursday.
“…you have to be able to overcome your mistakes and you can see why,” Granato said. “Every team makes mistakes. We made mistakes and we couldn’t dig ourselves back out from those mistakes and that’s why you have to get better.”
The Sabres are now winless in their last five games. They look to try to get off that skid when they play the Tampa Bay Lightning at home next Tuesday.