WINNIPEG, CANADA - MARCH 5: Jim Slater #19 of the Winnipeg Jets congratulates teammate Chris Thorburn #22 for his goal against the Buffalo Sabres in NHL action at the MTS Centre on March 5, 2012 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)
The Buffalo Sabres could have headed home with the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference after an impressive West Coast trip. Instead, they find themselves still trying to dig out of a hole after losing to the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 on Monday night.
The game had the feel of a playoff game from the start as the sold out crowd at MTS Centre was into the game from the drop of the puck. Both teams started with back and forth play but the Sabres just looked tired as they finished off their road trip. The Jets got the scoring started with a goal from Andrew Ladd at the 13:45 mark of the first period. Ladd scored on a rebound in front of the net from a Bryan Little shot. The whole sequence started with a bad turnover from Cody Hodgson at the Sabres blue line to create the rush.
The Sabres were able to tie the game in the second period as Corey Tropp found the puck on the goal line and scored his second goal of the year. Matt Ellis had driven the puck to the net and took the initial shot that ended up past Ondrej Pavelec on the goal line and Tropp just finished the deal.
That tie game would last a total of eight minutes as the Jets broke the tie at the 8:02 mark of the third period on a Blake Wheeler breakaway that beat Ryan Miller glove side. Almost three minutes later, former Sabre Chris Thorburn dangled the puck around Ryan Miller and wristed the shot into the open net.
The story of the game for the Sabres was the consistent amount of giveaways. The Sabres committed 15 giveaways compared to the Jets' eight. Twelve different players had at least one giveaway and Brad Boyes and Patrick Kaleta led the team with two each. Ryan Miller made 28 saves on 31 shots while Ondrej Pavelec made 23 saves on 24 shots for the winning effort.
The Sabres will try and make up the ground again with a home game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night.