Score: Sabres 3 | Hurricanes 5
Shots: BUF 21 | CAR 32
Buffalo Sabres Goals: Thompson (32), Tuch (10), Olofsson (17)
Carolina Hurricanes Goals: Aho (32, 33), Teravainen (19), Staal (9, 10)
Plus 1: Jumping Out To A Quick Two Goal Lead
The Buffalo Sabres didn’t waste much time to get the scoring started in the first period. It took the Sabres less than five minutes to put the first goal on the board, less than three minutes later they extended their lead to two. Very strong start in the second set of a back to back against one of the best teams in the NHL.
Minus 1: Dropping Into A Defensive Mentality After Obtaining A Lead
As a young team the Sabres continue to grow and learn. This team has improved dramatically in recent weeks, however still have a tendency from time to time to allow opposing teams back into the game. This happens when they collectively take their foot off the pedal and stop applying offensive pressure when up by a goal or two. This allowed the Hurricanes to come back into the game, and control the puck more in the offensive zone, which is never a good thing when trying to hang onto a lead.
Minus 2: The Top Line Is Not Enough To Power The Sabres To Victory
A strong start to the game resulted in 6 points spread across evenly of the top line of the Buffalo Sabres. Alex Tuch and Tage Thompson both had a goal and assist, while Jeff Skinner had two very impressive assists. Their is some encouragement with the improved play of Casey Mittelstadt, however the majority of the Sabres line-up just could not keep us with the relentless pressure of the Hurricanes as the game wore on.
Vinnie Hinostroza has expressed his desire to potentially continue his career as a Buffalo Sabre. I believe many Sabres fans would be sorely disappointed if the Sabres did not offer him a new multi-year contract. He has proven to be a reliable middle 6 winger with the ability to drive play and add a high end speed element to the Sabres line-up.
On the opposite end of the spectrum of contributing players is where I would place Cody Eakin. The only positive thing that he brings to the game is above average face-off ability. There were multiple instances in tonight’s game that highlighted the fact that this is a player the Sabres should not want to resign to the team. Next year, his absence will open up a roster spot take can be taken by a player with more speed, skill, awareness, etc.
Overall, not a terrible loss to very good hockey team. In a game where you’re out-shot 32 to 21, the team with the lower shot total will often come out on the losing end. Hopefully the Sabres continue this level of play and build on their recent success, chalking this game up as a learning experience.