The outcome was very familiar as the Sabres lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Ottawa Senators. The loss was the eighth consecutive defeat for the Sabres and the second in a row ended by shootout. The Sabres played without three regular players with Derek Roy (shoulder), Max Afinogenov (groin)and Tim Connolly (groin) all out of the lineup. The Sabres and their depleted roster fell behind 2-0 in the second periods with Ottawa getting goals from Donovan and a shorthanded marker from Alfredsson. Clarke MacArthur scored an early third period goal to get Buffalo back in the game and Daniel Paille tied the game with a wrist shot in his first game back in the lineup.
This game felt different than some of the other losses the Sabres have suffered. The team was playing without three regular players and still managed to come back from two goals down against the Eastern Conference leading Ottawa Senators. The Senators have star players like Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza while Buffalo was relying on role players to step up. To use an often heard cliche, it was a gutsy effort by the Sabres.
It was an interesting game plan for a team that is often referred to as "soft". The Sabres came out hitting early and often and Paul Gaustad was in an altercation with Chris Neil. I've seen Gaustad fight before but I was surprised to see him drop the gloves with Neil in the first period. I have been critical of people screaming for Patrick Kaleta but he has really brought a physical spark to the Sabres. Lindy Ruff came out earlier in the season and said he coached the players to play less physical, I think we can take him for his word because we have seen this team start playing more and more physical lately.
The fact remains that the Sabres have lost eight straight games and find themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It is not a lost cause by any stretch, a few wins and the Sabres will find themselves right back in playoff contention. They desperately need to get some of their injured players back to add some offensive firepower to the lineup. The next game will be Saturday at home against the New Jersey Devils.