The Buffalo Sabres were six minutes away from their third win, and first winning streak, of the season. But, as we've seen time and time again over the past few seasons, the Sabres were heavily outshot in the third period and simply couldn't hold the lead to the end.
Tampa Bay put 12 shots on net in the closing frame to just three for Buffalo, and the Sabres were outshot 39-22 over the course of the game. Ryan Miller kept the team in it with 36 saves, and the Sabres penalty kill did yeoman's work, yielding just one goal on six opportunities to the league's seventh best power play. But in the end, you've got to be able to close games out, and taking your foot off the gas with a one goal lead isn't the way to do it.
Opening the game slowly has become more than a bad habit for Buffalo, and once again they didn't record a single shot on goal for six minutes en route to getting outshot 21-9 through the first half of the game. They also gave up the first goal of the game for the 12th time in 13 contests. You'd think just from sheer luck they'd end up outshooting their opponent one night or would bounce in the first goal off a linesman or something. Maybe next game.
Ron Rolston seems to be adjusting the ice time for his forwards based on their effort (mostly) and their results (kinda). Steve Ott led all forwards in TOI with a whopping 21:48, and he was the most used forward by almost three minutes over the next guy, a very worthy Marcus Foligno. Cody Hodgson and Thomas Vanek, meanwhile, have seen the TOI slashed to just 12:10 and 14:12, respectively. Some of it had to do with the six penalties against versus only three penalties for, but we'll be sure to keep an eye on this to see if the veteran's ice time continues to be taken away if they don't pick up their efforts.
Three Things To Watch For
1. Will the three rookie defensemen continue to shine?
2. Does Ville Leino return to the lineup tonight?
He does, and he played pretty well on the Sabres $9 million fourth line along with Drew Stafford and Cody McCormick. Leino snagged an assist on Brian Flynn's goal, and was generally solid despite getting the least amount of ice time of any Sabres player in his first game back from injury.
3. Can the Sabres find their first winning streak of the season?
2. - game tying goal
3. - How does this guy only have one win? Oh, the team around him is terrible.
Comment of the Game
If you close one eye and squint with the other
You kinda see the organization’s plan. There are a lot of really talented kids playing out there. Stafford and even , sadly Vanek look like yesterday somehow, while the Larssen, Grigs, Pysyk et al look like tomorrow’s promise.
Closing your eyes is the best way to watch most Sabres games so far.