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Sabres implode late as historic losing streak continues

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Buffalo ties a league record with its 18th consecutive loss in an overtime heartbreaker against the Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Score: Flyers 4 | Sabres 3 (OT)

Shots: PHI 36 | BUF 32

Flyers Goals: Kevin Hayes (11), Claude Giroux (9), Sean Couturier (10), Ivan Provorov (5)

Sabres Goals: Henri Jokiharju (2), Cody Eakin (2), Brandon Montour (2)

Observation 1 | The Nightmare Continues

The Buffalo Sabres came away with a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes of action but simply fell apart in the third period. In what has been a very common theme, the blue-and-gold started well, and just couldn’t maintain.

Sure, we could talk about how well Linus Ullmark played regardless of the slapstick defensive performance in front of him, but who cares? The most shameful and embarrassing losing streak in the NHL (perhaps ever) continues regardless.

18 consecutive losses. The most in the shootout era (an honor previously held by the 2014-15 Sabres). It’s tied for the most of all-time. What else is there to say?

Observation 2 | Ullmark Did What He Could

Okay fine, I’ll talk about him.

On the evening, the 27-year-old only stopped 32 of the 36 shots he faced, but his team did him absolutely zero favors out front. The Sabres had no business carrying a shutout into the third period.

As a pending UFA at the end of the season, his performance over the next 25 games will be critical. If he can continue to play well, he could improve his chances of getting another shot as an NHL starter next season.

For a player with a long and complicated injury history, he might have to settle for a “prove-it deal” either way. Still, he needs to finish strong in order to even get a real opportunity to do said proving.

Observation 3 | The (Un)usual Suspects

In a somewhat pleasant turn of events, the players responsible for the Sabres’ goals this evening weren’t exactly who you would expect to find on the box score. Jokiharju, Cody Eakin, and Brandon Montour all registered their respective second tallies of the year.

All three goals came at even-strength. Eakin’s goal was his first against an actual netminder (his first of the year was an ENG).

Sadly, the Sabres’ defense wasn’t up to the task. The team has failed miserably to produce at even-strength this season, and failing to capitalize by shutting down a very mediocre Flyer attack for 20 minutes is downright shameful.

Oh, and Dylan Cozens got hurt in the first period and did not return. Outstanding.

Buffalo will hit the ice again on Wednesday against these same Philadelphia Flyers. Puck drop is set for 7:30PM. If they lose, they’ll hold sole possession of the longest losing streak in league history.