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Preseason recap: Sabres lose 2-1 to Wild in final seconds

Girgensons scored the lone goal in a losing effort, but a late penalty doomed the team’s first preseason game.

NHL: Preseason-Minnesota Wild at Buffalo Sabres Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The Sabres opened their 2016 preseason with 59 minutes of solid play that ended up being all for naught thanks to the final 30 seconds. It was a bummer of an ending, but there were some good signs along the way that will hopefully show the improvement that we all want this team to make in the upcoming season.

With 32 seconds left, an Evander Kane penalty left the Sabres a man short, and they paid the price with 4.6 seconds left, as Jason Zucker put the game winner past Linus Ullmark, who was playing in relief of Anders Nilsson.

Despite the sour taste thanks to the late loss, there was actually plenty to be pleased with in this game. Zemgus Girgensons scored the Sabres lone goal, hopefully signaling the beginning of a comeback year for the young forward. Girgensons’ goal was assisted by Casey Nelson, who played on the team’s top pairing along with Josh Gorges. Justin Bailey earned the secondary assist, giving him a nice start to camp.

Though they only scored once, the Sabres outshot the Wild 40-31. Dan Bylsma was impressed with how the team bounced back after an early penalty. "They got seven shots on the first power play, we got 16 shots in the next 15 minutes. That's the way we want to play,” said the coach after the game.

This game also marked the Sabres debut of Anders Nilsson, who will serve as Robin Lehner’s backup this season. Nilsson made 26 saves on 27 shots and said after the game the he felt, “Pretty good so far.” The Sabres will need him to be much better this year in relief if they hope to push for the playoffs.

If you missed the game last night, fear not, because the Sabres play again tonight, at home versus the Senators. The game will be broadcast at 7pm on MSG and WGR 550.