The Sabres were riding a three game winning streak and had four days off, but it looked at times like they were the team that played last night instead of the Jets. Powerplay struggles continued for Buffalo in their 2-1 loss to Winnipeg.
The Thanksgiving eve battle began with a Jets power play goal only three minutes in. The red-hot Brian Little found the top corner to beat Jhonas Enroth after avoiding a sprawling Tyson Strachan. The goal is Little's eighth of the year.
In the second period the Sabres got an excellent opportunity to tie things up when Adam Lowry boarded Patrick Kaleta from behind. Lowry had been following Kaleta around the entire shift, a hit seemed nearly inevitable. Andrej Meszaros stood nearby, but didn't take action immediately. After the Sabres realized that Lowry had received a penalty they made their move. Lowry received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the play, and could be hearing from the NHL soon.
However, it would be the Jets who would score during their five minutes of shorthanded hockey. A terrible giveaway by Andre Benoit lead to a Michael Frolik goal 16 seconds into the power play. And when I say terrible, I mean terrible.
Ouch. The Sabres were not able to get many opportunities during the five minute power play, leading to many boos from the restless crowd. Overall they went 0 for 4 on man advantage opportunities.
The Sabres made it a game again five minutes into the third when a blocked shot created a breakaway for Chris Stewart. He put on a nice deke on Ondrej Pavelec and beat him fivehole. However, the Sabres weren't able to get an equalizer.
It was a rough game overall for Benoit and Meszaros, despite the fact that the latter leading the team in icetime through two periods. Tyler Myers was a late scratch due to an upper-body injury, which was not caused by blocking the shot in the San Jose game according to Nolan. Thus, Benoit was thrust into the lineup. Their struggles are no news flash, neither has played well at all the entire season. When asked whether they'd be replaced by a player from Rochester, Nolan said that there would be discussions.
Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov played the most of any Sabres players, and were the biggest bright spots for the team. Nolan was very complimentary of Ristolainen especially in his post-game comments, praising his development and ability to log over 23 minutes.
1. Which of the Sabres top players will continue their scoring streaks?
None! The Sabres only goal came from Stewart, who hasn't exactly been on a tear as of late. Matt Moulson and Tyler Ennis had a chance to extend their streaks on a 2-on-1, but were unable to beat Pavelec.
2. Will the Sabres be able to must more than 25 shots?
The Sabres were only able to get 20 shots on goal compared to Winnipeg's 26, so they weren't wildly outshot. They hit a lull in the second period, where they only had four shots.
3. How will Jhonas Enroth look coming off one of his better games and three days rest?
Enroth gave up two goals, but he certainly wasn't the problem for the Sabres tonight. He made some timely saves during extended opportunities for the Jets. He wasn't terrible, he wasn't incredible.