Shots on Goal: Sabres 31 | Wild 26
Sabres Goal Scorers: Brandon Montour (1)
Wild Goal Scorers: Zach Parise (7, 8), Jonas Brodin (1), Jason Zucker (6)
Minus-1: They Still Can’t Score
Despite matching up against the last-place team in the NHL, and a goaltender that entered tonight’s action with a .903 save-percentage, the Buffalo Sabres still couldn’t score until the waning moments of the third period. Brandon Montour’s tally was the first time in the last three contests where a player not named Jack Eichel scored a goal.
Prior to the game, Jason Botterill met with the Buffalo media, confirming the team’s continued pursuit of scoring help via the trade market. He had better get a move on. Losers of eight of their last nine games, they’ve only managed to score 18 goals in that span.
Minus-2: Power-Play Cold Streak Continues
As of the end of tonight’s game, the Sabres have now failed to convert on their last 21 opportunities with the man-advantage. For a unit that started the season operating near a 25-percent clip (which helped lift them to an 8-1-1 record), their efficiency has come to a screeching halt.
Teams are now honing in on their not-so-secret weapon, Victor Olofsson, and so far the coaching staff has failed to come up with an answer. The Sabres are not a talented team, and if they want to sniff the playoff conversation this season, that facet of their games needs to be revitalized quickly.
Minus-3: Jack Eichel Had To Fight To Motivate This Team
The Sabres came into this game completely flat, and fell behind quickly when the Wild capitalized on a sloppy defensive zone giveaway by Casey Mittelstadt. Instead of shaking it off and taking it to a struggling team on their home ice, they continued to fall apart, and were down 3-0 by the six-minute mark of the second period.
Shortly after, Eichel felt the need to drop the gloves and fight in order to get his team into the game. That’s right, the Sabres’ captain and leading scorer who is on pace to eclipse 40 goals this season felt the need to risk injury to wake up his lifeless contemporaries.
It worked for a few minutes at least, as the Sabres finished the period strong, but they failed to carry that momentum into the third period, and just couldn’t do enough to sustain pressure on the Wild defense.
This is the second game in a row where the Sabres failed to show up against a below-average opponent. Even in their victory over the Ottawa Senators this past weekend, they needed Eichel to score four goals in order to pull out a victory against the last-place team in the Atlantic Division.
While the team currently sits at 10-8-3, the wheels are so clearly falling off at the quarter-mark. Make a trade, sign a free agent, do something. Fans of the blue-and-gold will not tolerate another season where the general manager sits idly by as the team free falls in the standings.