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Sabres’ Streak Ends in Loss to Senators

Girgensons scores lone goal, Anderson comes up big.

Buffalo Sabres v Ottawa Senators Photo by André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

Score: Sabres 1, Senators 3

Shots: Buffalo 34, Ottawa 33

Buffalo Sabres Goals: Zemgus Girgensons (4)

Ottawa Senators Goals: Tim Stützle (13, 14) Jacob Lucchini (1)

Plus 1/Minus 1: Different Contributors

Nice to see Zemgus Girgensons get on the board with his fourth of the season on Sunday night. Girgensons had two points in last week’s win against the Red Wings, but hadn’t scored since November 5. Mattias Samuelsson notched his second point of the season with an assist on a great pass, while Ilya Lyubushkin also recorded an assist.

It’s good to see some other pieces of the lineup stepping up and contributing offensively, the positive here. The downside is that the players you’d be expecting that offensive from weren’t able to get on the board. Thompson had two shots on goal and four missed shots, and was pretty hard on himself in his postgame comments. Skinner’s 10-game personal point streak came to an end. Cozens had two shots, too.

Plus 1: Andy Plays Big in Net

A well-rested Craig Anderson is the best Craig Anderson. In his first game since December 17, due in part to the holiday & blizzard-extended break and part to the stellar play of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Anderson made 30 saves against his former team.

Unfortunately, the Sabres looked tired most of the game and didn’t really seem to pick up the pace of play until the last 10 minutes or so of the game. Both Buffalo and Ottawa were playing their third game in four days, and for Buffalo, that showed in missed passes, a rough 5-on-3 and an inability to solve Anton Forsberg.

Comment of the Game

From BobBoughnerCorkumHalkidisSauve:

“I used to love to watch Eichel skate with the puck, he had so much power and ability to blow by players.

Now I love watching Dahlin. He is such a smooth and graceful skater.

Lovin it!”

Final Thoughts

As Tage Thompson said in his postgame comments, you’ve got to have a bit of a short-term memory with this game. The month of January is jam-packed for the Sabres, and there’s not time to dwell on this loss. The Sabres are off tomorrow, returning to action on Tuesday in Washington. Their next scheduled day off is then the 11th. With 15 games in 28 days this month, rest is going to be a critical part of managing their workload.

As an aside, many people on Twitter were talking about how it feels like the Sabres give up a lot of first career goals, not just this season but historically. At one point a few years ago, I definitely agreed with this sentiment. Then again, if you’re not following other teams that closely, you may not be as hyper-aware of how many first career goals they’re allowing, so it’s easy to feel like the team you ARE watching is allowing plenty.

According to MoreHockeyStats.com, the Sabres have now allowed three first NHL career goals this season - most in the NHL. In addition to Lucchini on Sunday night, Boston’s Jakub Zboril and Arizona’s Nicklaus Perbix also notched their first career goals this season against the Sabres. Over the past two seasons, the Sabres have allowed six first career NHL goals, matched by the Minnesota Wild. So - no, you’re not imagining it.

The next challenge up for the Sabres is a matchup against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.