Score: Lightning 6 | Sabres 1
Shots: TBL 36 | BUF 18
Buffalo Sabres Goals: Vinnie Hinostroza (7)
Tampa Bay Lightning Goals: Ondrej Palat (15), Anthony Cervelli (10), Nikita Kucherov (2, 3, 4), Steven Stamkos (17)
Minus 1 | Couldn’t Get Much Worse Than This
Whenever the defending Stanley Cup Champions come into town, fans are on alert. These games always provide somewhat of a measuring stick as to where the Buffalo Sabres currently are in the grand scheme of things.
Unfortunately for Buffalo, they appear to be well behind the curve.
From the opening faceoff, it was clear that Tampa Bay’s overall speed and skill was just too much for Buffalo as a whole.
Even though a 6-1 final is ugly, it feels like things could have been a lot worse.
Minus 2 | The Injury Bug Returns
The Covid-depleted Buffalo Sabres can ill afford any further trip-ups with their collective health.
Wishing upon a star did not work for the Sabres on Tuesday night, as they lost goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen after just 20 minutes of play.
Injury update: Goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will not return to tonight’s game (lower body).— Sabres PR (@SabresPR) January 12, 2022
There was no update on Luukkonen’s status after Tuesday night’s loss but one has to imagine that further testing is on the horizon for the young goaltender.
Buffalo might have dodged a bullet depth-wise, with Dustin Tokarski returning to practice following a bout with Covid, but it is clear the Sabres are a better team with Luukkonen in goal.
Plus 1 | Welcome to the NHL
The Buffalo Sabres welcomed top prospect Jack Quinn to their lineup last night for the first time in his career.
Continuing the long-standing tradition, Quinn took his solo hot lap around the ice before being joined by his teammates.
To add to all the pomp and circumstance of Quinn’s debut, former Americans teammates were in attendance as well.
Quinn ended the night without recording a point in 16:30 on ice. The rookie did lead the Sabres with three shots on goal and even played 3:07 on the power play.
While the Buffalo Sabres collected yet another loss on Tuesday night, expectations have to remain tempered.
With their lineup depleted due to injury and Covid, the road traveled will likely be a bumpy one for a little bit.
The Buffalo Sabres travel to Nashville to take on the Predators this Thursday night. Puck drops shortly after 8PM ET and the game can be seen on MSG.