Score: Kraken 5 | Sabres 1
Shots: SEA 24 | BUF 16
Buffalo Sabres Goals: Dylan Cozens (2)
Seattle Kraken Goals: Jamie Oleksiak (1), Morgan Geekie (1), Daniel Sprong (1), Jared McCann (4-PP), Matty Beniers (3-PP)
Minus 1: Seattle Strikes First...and Second...and Third
It is never good for a team to immediately have to play catch-up, but during the opening two minutes of the game, that is just the position the Sabres found themselves in. Kraken defenseman Jamie Oleksiak opened up scoring with a nice wrist shot from the slot to give the home team a hasty 1-0 lead. Just a few minutes later, a breakaway by center Morgan Geekie widened the lead to two goals, much to Buffalo’s dismay. Overall, the first period was a tough one to watch as the Sabres could not get shots on the net. Not to be overly dramatic but they looked completely lost. They really struggled to get it out of their own zone, could not gain control of the puck, and spent much of their time scrambling around with icing after icing.
It was not until the final minutes of the first period when Buffalo drew a cross checking penalty that they had the opportunity to take advantage of Seattle’s poor penalty kill percentage (they are 30th in the league with nine goals given up), but failed to bury a goal before the first intermission. The Kraken tallied 12 shots on goal compared to the Sabres’ five.
Minus 2: Sabres, Your Defense...Woof
Unfortunately, Buffalo’s struggles carried over into the second period as the defense continued to turn the puck over, this time following a lazy pass along the boards by Vinnie Hinostroza, handing Seattle a 3-0 lead. At this point, goaltender Eric Comrie had faced way too many one-on-one situations that were created and exacerbated by a very careless defense that did not improve during the full 60 minutes.
Plus 1: Dahlin’s Still Streaking
During perhaps the first (and only?) solid shift by the Sabres tonight, Rasmus Dahlin (the NHL’s First Star this week) executed some nice passing with a lot of patience in the Kraken zone late in the second period. After feeding it to Hinostroza, who took a quick slapshot, Dylan Cozens snagged the rebound and buried the puck to put Buffalo on the board...finally. With his assist tonight, Dahlin has now extended his point streak to six games (five goals and four assists, respectively) and continues to lead the league in scoring among defensemen.
Was Cozens’ goal the turning point of the game that the Sabres needed? Nope. Seattle added yet another goal to the scoreboard following a tripping penalty by Kyle Okposo to make it 4-1 going into the final period.
If you are a night owl and were able to stay up (and chose to keep watching) this game, bravo. Overall, it was uninspiring and disappointing, especially compared to the first few games of this season. Even when there was a glimmer of hope - like when Jack Quinn had his first goal of the season, but it was challenged as an offside an won - the night was just not in favor of the Sabres. They had multiple opportunities on the powerplay (even at five-on-three), but just could not capitalize. Seattle buried another goal in the third period to add insult to injury and the final scoreboard read 5-1.
Next up: the Sabres head home for a matchup against Montreal on Thursday. Puck drop is at 7 PM.