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Poor Start Leads to Sabres Dropping Seventh Straight to Wild

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Poor goaltending, a slow start and mental mistakes lead to another loss

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

I really feel like I’m writing the same game recap night in and night out. Tonight is more of the same. The game started off well for the Buffalo Sabres as they got on the board first with a goal by Jack Eichel.

Devan Dubnyk wasn’t on his game tonight and the first goal was an indication of that. Jason Pominville threw a puck towards the net from a bad angle and Eichel poked the puck behind the Wild goaltender.

The lead didn’t last very long, however. Like Dubnyk, Chad Johnson was not on his game tonight. Old friend Tyler Ennis tied the game at one with his fourth of the season. He caught Johnson napping on a spinning backhand from near the goal line.

Then the bottom started to fall out for the Sabres. Johan Larsson committed a terrible turnover in the offensive zone that led to a 2 on 1 the other way for Minnesota. Mikael Granlund beat Johnson over the far shoulder to put the Wild in front.

They weren’t done adding to their lead. Exactly two minutes after the Granlund goal. The red-hot Nino Niederreiter deflected a shot between the legs for his first of two on the night to give his team a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes of play.

Johnson was given the hook after the first period and Robin Lehner stepped in to replace him. The Sabres got themselves back into the game early in the second period with a nice shot from Jordan Nolan for his first of the season and first as a Sabre. Of course, things went south again for the home team.

Niederreiter and Granlund would each add their second goals of the game to propel the Wild to a 5-2 lead and put the Sabres on the path to their seventh straight loss. Again, to their credit they didn’t go away. Sam Reinhart scored late in the second period to give the club some life to make it 5-3 after the middle frame.

In the third, the Wild did a good job of keeping the Sabres to the outside and not letting them get many chances. That was until bad Dubnyk showed up again. Nolan scored his second of the game by letting a shot go from the side wall that got by the Minnesota keeper. With just over six minutes left, Buffalo, had a chance to tie the game and get to overtime.

After a few chances including a glorious chance for Kyle Okposo in the final seconds. Time ran out on the Sabres. Another night where the effort came too late. The mental mistakes and lapses put the team in a hole that they’re not good enough to get out of.

The Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens are on the schedule this weekend. The Sabres will look to snap what is now a seven-game losing streak.

Final Score: Wild 5, Sabres 4

Shots on Goal: Wild 32 | Sabres 34

Wild Goal Scorers: Tyler Ennis, Nino Niederreiter (2) and Mikael Granlund (2)

Sabres Goal Scorers: Jack Eichel, Sam Reinhart and Jordan Nolan (2)

Three Stars of the Game

1. Nino Niederreiter (2 G)

2. Mikael Granlund (2 G, GWG)

3. Jordan Nolan (2 G)

Comment of the Game

If Jordan Nolan snipes one on you you have to retire from hockey. Thems the rules.

by twoeightnine on Nov 22, 2017 | 8:08 PM reply rec (2) flag actions

What to Watch

1. Kyle Okposo to the fourth line.

The Okposo, Nolan and Jacob Josefson line was perhaps the Sabres best line tonight.

2. Jacob Josefson returns.

See above.

3. Will the streak end?

Nope, make it seven.