If there was any game that the Buffalo Sabers might have had a chance to win, it was last night. The healthy 30th place team played the 29th place Edmonton Oilers, who were missing one of their top stars in Taylor Hall and came in to the game as the only team in the NHL with fewer regulation wins than Buffalo.
When the final horn sounded, however, this looked like any Sabres box score over the past month - the Oilers almost doubled the Sabres shot total en route to a 3-2 victory. The Sabres struggled yet again in the third period, mustering a pathetic four shots even though they were down by two goals.
Buffalo's offense struggled to get anything going against the not-very-good Oilers defense, and the only goals they scored came from the blue line, as Tyler Myers and Rasmus Ristolainen each netted a goal. "The defense were involved, but it wasn't a 60-minute effort from all of us", said Torrey Mitchell. The Sabres have somehow avoided giving a full 60-minute effort for the entire month of January.
As for the Oilers, it was AHL call-up Anton Lander making a difference for them, scoring one Edmonton goal and assisting on the other two. On the Sabres side, Brian Gionta had a nice game, assisting on both Buffalo goals.
I was joking with people on Twitter about how long this losing streak will actually last, and with their next three games all coming against teams in playoff positions, could we see them lose 16 in a row? 20? I'm beginning to seriously wonder if they're going to win another game all season. I know that for most of us, McEichel is the goal, but it's getting depressing writing the same loss recap for an entire month.
The Sabres will play Ryan Miller and the Vancouver Canucks tonight in what will surely be one of the easiest games of Miller's career.
1. Just what will this game look like?
It was a fine, in-between game of hockey where one team looked pretty good and the other didn't. No special terrible-but-great hockey.
2. Can Tyler Ennis keep his point streak going in his hometown?
Nope, Ennis was tied for the team lead with three shots, but failed to record a point in his homecoming.
3. Will there be any tanking shenanigans tonight?
Unless you count the Sabres only putting four shots on net in the third period shenanigans, then no.
Comment of the Game
People have said for awhile now that Edmonton was a far worse team than Buffalo.
The 2014 Buffalo Sabres - making you feel so depressed for being right.