Buffalo Blows it Against the Bruins

<em>Missed Chances Extend Sabres’ Losing Streak</em>

Score: Sabres 1, Bruins 3

Shots: Buffalo: 30 Boston: 31

Buffalo Sabres Goals: Tage Thompson (10)

Boston Bruins: Goals: Patrice Bergeron (6), (7), Jakub Zboril (1)

Plus 1: Thompson Continues to Pile up Points

Sabres center Tage Thompson keeps getting goals, regardless of the game’s final outcome. No. 72 scored Buffalo’s lone one against the Bruins, an unassisted short-hander 5:17 into the first period. It’s his 10th goal of the season and his fourth in the last four games.

TNT continues to be one of Buffalo’s best offensive weapons and makes plays every time he steps on the ice. If he can get a few more hat tricks the way he did on Halloween, the Sabres will be in much better shape in the points department.

Minus 1: Missed PP Opportunities Cost the Sabres

Blown power play chances have long been the bane of the Buffalo Sabres. Last season the Blue & Gold ranked an NHL 16th, only scoring 21.17% of the time they had the man advantage. So far this season, the Sabres are 8th, but their dismal effort against the Bruins shows why this team needs to work on controlling the puck when they have an extra attacker.

WeslsaLeo had the Comment of the Game: “Can’t score squat on the PP, naturally they score on one, late in this PD.” The Sabres had three power play opportunities, a Patrice Bergeron holding penalty against Casey Mittelstadt late in the first period, and two back-to-back Charlie McAvoy minors in the second and beginning of the third. In each instance Buffalo had trouble consistently controlling the puck, getting shots on goal and keeping the action in Boston’s end.

With 2:17 left in the second period, Ilya Lyubushkin got two minutes for roughing against Brad Marchand. Bergeron wasted little time getting the puck past Craig Anderson with assists from DeBrusk and Marchand. If the Sabres hope to stay out of the bottom of the standings all season, they need to find a way to take advantage of scoring opportunities that teams like the Bruins provide.

Minus 2: Anderson Abysmal in the Third

Sabres veteran goalie Craig Anderson fell apart during the third period, letting Jakub Zboril get his NHL first and giving Bergeron another notch in his scoring belt. The Sabres outshot the Bruins through 40 minutes, but Boston turned it on during the last 20, outshooting the home team 15 to 10.

While Bruins netminder Keith Kinkaid channeled his inner Tuukka Rask, blocking almost everything the Sabres threw at him, Anderson couldn’t handle the pressure and the Bruins made beating him look easy. It didn’t help that Buffalo’s defense was a split second too slow, letting Bruins players hang around the Sabres’ net.

Poor goaltending has been a recurring weak spot for the Sabres. If Anderson can’t play 60 minutes, maybe it’s time to give UPL another chance.

Final Thoughts

After opening the season winning five of their first eight games, the Buffalo Sabres have turned terrible, losing six of their last nine and failing to get a victory since Nov. 2. How many half-empty arenas or home games where opponents’ jerseys fill the seats do Buffalo’s loyal fans have to endure? If the Sabres don’t turn things around soon, plenty.

The Buffalo Sabres host the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.