It feels wrong to call a second consecutive 6-1 loss a "better effort," but when you're talking about a team as bad as the Buffalo Sabres, you need to rethink how to respond to games like this. The Sabres did, in fact, look better on the ice, though it wasn't reflected on the scoreboard as they were beaten by the St. Louis Blues 6-1.
The score was inflated thanks to three late power play goals for the Blues, all coming in the final five minutes of the game, but St. Louis built up their real lead in the first two periods thanks to Jori Lehtera's natural hat trick. The line of Lehtera, Tarasenko, and Schwartz dominated the Sabres, finishing the night with three goals and eight points between them.
On Buffalo's side, Tyler Ennis scored their only goal, but the Sabres found it tough to generate much offense after the first period (where they outshot the Blues 15-10) because they couldn't seem to stop taking penalties. The Blues had a whopping eight power play chances, and converted on three in the third period.
Their late collapse aside, there were a few good things in this game - the Sabres gave a good effort overall (COMPETE) and managed to finish the game tied 29-29 in shots. The pairing of Nikita Zadorov and Rasmus Ristolainen looked great together, shutting down the Blues for the first two periods, until the penalty parade proved too much. The Sabres also had a nice response to a late hit on Tyler Ennis in the second period, coming just short of a line brawl.
While the scoreboard unfortunately looked the same, this was a much different game than against Pittsburgh. There were things to build on here, and the Sabres will get a chance to try and show that on the scoreboard on Thursday against Minnesota.
1. Will Drew Stafford's move to center help spark the league's worst offense?
Unfortunately, Stafford remained on the (fourth line) wing while Cody Hodgson remained at center.
2. Zemgus Girgensons finally gets a chance on the top line - can he find some quick chemistry with Moulson and Ennis?
Tyler Ennis did score the lone Sabres goal, but it was on the power play. Ennis and Moulson were once again the team's best possession forwards, while Girgensons was one of the worst thanks to playing significant time on the PK.
3. Can Michal Neuvirth post another save percentage above .940 against the pedestrian St.Louis offense?
Comment of the Game
I live in SD and haven't been able to watch the Sabres all year...