The Buffalo Sabres came into last night's game against the Winnipeg Jets riding high on a four-game winning streak. They left with those good vibes shattered by a Jets team that dominated the last 40 minutes en route to a 5-1 drubbing.
Things started off great, thanks to a first period that saw the Jets on a constant parade to the penalty box. The Sabres couldn't take advantage of a long 5-on-3, but they did manage to score late in the period on the power play thanks to a slick Nikita Zadorov wrist shot and Chris Stewart screen. The Sabres led in shots 12-8, and things were looking good.
And then the rest of the game was a blazing tire fire.
The Jets stopped taking penalties, and the Sabres felt the effects of playing the wrong end of a back-to-back series, and Winnipeg ended up with a 5-1 win. We saw the Sabres give up quick goals again, something that always reminds me of last season, when they gave up two in two minutes, including a shorthanded goal in the first ten seconds of their final power play.
Michal Neuvirth didn't play horribly, and many of the goals weren't his fault, but he also showed what happens to the Sabres when they don't get the top-notch goaltending they've gotten for the past month.
The Sabres will have a few days to recover before hosting the Avalanche on Saturday.
1. How will Mikhail Grigorenko fare in his big re-debut?
Grigorenko was called up in place of the injured Torrey Mitchell, and played tonight with Drew Stafford and Nic Deslauriers on the third line. He got 16:42 of ice time, and was credited with one shot, hit, blocked shot, and was a -1 while winning more than 50% on his faceoffs.
While there were a few times where he looked a bit lost, like on Winnipeg's fifth goal overall he looked much better than he did in Buffalo last season, and showed off his improved skating and work ethic along the boards. There were a number of times I noticed some nice backchecking (take notes, Hodgson) and his strides looked more powerful and confident than they have in years past. However, he was the worst forward on the ice in terms of Corsi. Give him another few practices and games to adjust to his new team, and then we'll pass more serious judgement.
2. How will the new lines perform?
Not great. Despite their early lead, the Sabres fell apart in the last two periods, and were out Corsi'd 52-30. Even the top line, who for a long time couldn't miss the net, didn't capitalize on their chances, and all three were outshot badly. One bad game or the first step on the road to regression? Well find out soon.
3. Will Josh Gorges play tonight?
Nope. Get well soon, Josh.
Comment of the Game
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