Score: Bruins 2 | Sabres 0
Shots: BOS 40 | BUF 32
Bruins Goals: Brad Marchand (24), Connor Clifton (1)
Sabres Goals: None
Observation 1 | Out of Sync
One of the best parts of Don Granato’s interim takover behind the bench has been the Sabres’ newfound high-event tendencies. In that type of approach, there can be some “sloppy” tendencies that come out. Until tonight, the Buffalo Sabres had largely avoided those consequences. This contest was a different story.
From the beginning of the first period, Buffalo wasn’t executing breakouts with the same degree of efficiency, and their defensive communication seemed off. These types of “growing pains” aren’t rare for young teams. What will be most telling is how they adjust and respond against this same Bruins team on Thursday evening.
Observation 2 | Defensive Blunders
For a player that just received NHL First Star of the Week honors, Dustin Tokarski did everything he could to keep the Sabres in this one. Stopping 38 of 40 shots sounds impressive in and of itself, but when you consider how badly the Sabres lost the xG battle in this one, it’s even more impressive.
Not a single Buffalo defenseman registered a positive xG rating in this one as every pairing was essentially shellacked by a very aggressive and well-orchestrated Boston Bruins attack. Though Dylan Cozens was robbed blind by an amazing Tuukka Rask save toward the end of the first period, this game could have been a lot more lopsided on the score sheet if not for Tokarski.
A game like this seemed like an inevitability. Fans are re-engaged with the team (to an extent) now that Granato has them playing entertaining hockey. The fact remains however that this is a very young group that is missing its best player.
Yes, they’ve been exceeding expectations, and yes that has been a lot of fun, but a poor showing like this shouldn’t really take away from that. As previously stated, the response to a showing like this is even more important to tonight’s result.
Hopefully they clean some things up heading into Thursday’s tilt. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00PM.