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Sabres Fall in Frustrating Loss to Canucks

It was close at times and closer at others, but the Sabres wind up on the losing end again.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Buffalo Sabres Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Score: Sabres 4, Canucks 5

Shots: Buffalo 32 | Vancouver 32

Buffalo Sabres Goals: Jeff Skinner (4, 5), Alex Tuch (8), Casey Mittelstadt (4)

Vancouver Canucks Goals: Dakota Joshua (3), Ethan Bear (1), Elias Pettersson (7), J.T. Miller (10), Bo Horvat (14)

Minus 1: Special Teams

Special teams could've been quite the difference-maker against a slumping team like the Canucks, and they were - but not in the way Buffalo would’ve hoped. The Sabres failed to capitalize on three power-play opportunities, while giving up two power-play goals to the Canucks.

Minus 1: Limited Chances

For much of the game, the Sabres simply had trouble getting pucks on net. They put only eight shots on in the first period, and nine in the second. Things balanced off a bit in the third with 15 shots, but particularly against such a goalie as Spencer Martin, Buffalo should’e been peppering the net.

The Sabres spent the entire game playing catch-up, and while they came close a few times, they could never quite get there. Giving up two goals in a span of 1:17 in the first period was a bad start, but they could’ve turned it around from there. Unfortunately for Buffalo, they just couldn’t get it done, sending them to their sixth consecutive loss.

Plus 1: The Top Line

The Sabres’ top line of Alex Tuch, Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner continues to produce - a bright spot amid the darkness. Skinner scored twice and had three shots and went 73 percent in the face-off circle, playing 18:29. Tuch had a goal and two assists in 21:32, along with three shots, while Thompson notched a pair of assists in 21:37. He also led the team with six shots, second in the game only to Horvat.

If you need something positive to take away from this game, these two plays should do it:

Seriously, that stickwork by Thompson was a thing of beauty.

Final Thoughts

There were definitely some things to like in Tuesday’s game, but also a lot of things to improve on. What more is there to say that hasn’t already been said? The Sabres are in a rough spot and things have to change. (Insert that quote about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.)

In his post-practice remarks yesterday, Don Granato spoke about what it takes to learn from mistakes. The example he used is getting a ticket after speeding in your car while driving. You might speed, and keep speeding, until you get a ticket, and then you’ll change your ways to avoid getting another one. (“I’m not saying I speed,” he said.)

Perhaps it’s time the Sabres finally got a ticket.