Sabres Tie Game Late, Lose in Overtime

<em>Buffalo Gets a Point, Can’t Earn Two</em>

Score: Red Wings 3, Sabres 2 (OT)

Shots: BUF: 28 DET: 41

Buffalo Sabres: Goals: Dylan Cozens (1) Jeff Skinner (1)

Detroit Red Wings: Goals: Carter Rowney (1), Pius Suter (1), Lucas Raymond (1)

Plus 1: Sabres Good on Penalty Kill, Even the Score with a Man Advantage

The Buffalo Sabres had to kill four penalties during the game, while Detroit only had one to deal with. The Red Wings played very aggressively at even strength, but couldn’t capitalize with the man advantage. The Sabres were good at clearing the puck and blocking shots during penalty kills. When Buffalo pulled their goaltender at the end of the third, Jeff Skinner tied the game at the 18:23 mark with an assist from Eakin and Dahlin.

The Sabres played aggressively in the second half of the third period and forced an OT to get a point. Power plays and man advantages have long been one of Buffalo’s weak points and pulling the goaltender to force a late game tie is always risky. It’s a welcome sight to watch the Sabres’ offense control the puck and score with an extra attacker, instead of seeing the other team’s D get a breakaway.

Minus 1: Poor D/Goaltending Doom a Two Game Winning Streak

The Detroit Red Wings tested Dustin Tokarski with 41 shots vs. the Buffalo Sabres’ 28. Tokarski played really well under the circumstances, but too often, especially during the 2nd period, the Red Wings spent most of their ice time in Buffalo’s zone. The Sabres’ defense had a difficult time clearing the puck. By contrast, when Buffalo went on offense, the Wings were able to block shot attempts and turn things around in a hurry.

Buffalo_Warrior had the Comment of the Game: “Well that sucked. We need goaltenders.” As good as Tokarski was for most of 60 minutes, rookie forward Lucas Raymond skated into the Sabres’ zone and won the game with a wrist shot that went through the goalie’s legs. Tokarski can play well under pressure, but he’s not a franchise goaltender. Until Kevyn Adams solves this problem, the Sabres may keep losing close games.

Minus 2: Sabres Were Too Timid During At Least Half the Game

Buffalo was very strong in the 1st period, scoring first, clearing the puck and skating into their opponents’ zone. However, after the Red Wings scored twice in one minute and 19 seconds during the second period, the Sabres reverted to a defensive mode of play. They let Detroit dictate the game and looked like a team that was holding on for dear life instead of going on the attack.

Toward the end of the third period Buffalo turned on the pressure, getting a lot more shots on Detroit goalie Alex Nedeljkovic. Jeff Skinner tipped the puck past Nedeljkovic during the last minutes of the game with the man advantage and forced an OT. It wasn’t enough, unfortunately. The Sabres need to play every night the way they did in their last game against Montreal. Too often, the team turns their aggression on and off like a light switch, rather than dominating every period they’re on the ice.

Final Thoughts

Can Sabres fans see more of the dominating style of action Buffalo showed in their 4-1 win over the Canadiens, or their solid 5-1 victory over Tampa Bay? That’s how playoff contenders compete. If the Sabres could channel that energy and discipline consistently, the team wouldn’t play to half empty arenas.