Sabres can’t solve Halak, fall to Bruins
Another strong performance by Linus Ullmark was wasted tonight as the Sabres failed to capitalize offensively
Final Score: Bruins 3 | Sabres 0
Shots on Goal: Bruins 25 | Sabres 26
Sabres Goal Scorers: None
Bruins Goal Scorers: Patrice Bergeron (16, 17), Brandon Carlo (4)
Plus-1: Ullmark Remains Rock-Solid
While the team in front of him left a lot to be desired tonight, Linus Ullmark did everything he could to keep the Buffalo Sabres alive against the Boston Bruins. Early in the game he was able to make critical saves from point-blank range while his defenders did very little to clear high-danger areas.
With 22 saves on 24 shots, tonight marked the sixth time Ullmark has posted a .915 of better over his past eight starts. His grasp on the Sabres’ starting spot has tightened as Carter Hutton’s struggles in relief continue. Hopefully he can keep putting together strong performances on a consistent basis. Buffalo’s scoring woes haven’t gone anywhere, and they’ll need stellar goaltending moving forward if they hope to keep pace in a tight Eastern Conference.
Minus-1: Failure to Capitalize
Despite what the box score shows, the Sabres did produce their fair share of scoring opportunities. Jaroslav Halak was up to the task, stopping all 26 shots he faced. His save-percentage improved to .928 on the year, which places him in a tie for fifth in the league among goalies with at least 12 games played.
Despite his strong showing tonight, a failure to capitalize on high-danger chances is a recurring theme for the blue-and-gold. When the trade freeze ends, Jason Botterill would be wise to start seeking out scoring help. His team lacks depth as well as consistency at forward.
Minus-2: Welcome Back, Boo Birds
After a lackluster effort in the second period, and again in the final frame, the home crowd let the Sabres know how they felt about their performance. By the end of the game, the stands were still half-full.... of Bruins fans.
The Sabres have lost five of their last six games. For a team that just a week ago held the second spot in the Atlantic Division, they now sit on the outside of the playoff picture as we approach the mid-way point of the season. This team has shown flashes of greatness, but remain inconsistent overall. If things don’t change quickly, they’ll tack another year onto the league’s longest active playoff-drought.
Minus-3: Skinner Injured
After colliding with David Pastrnak early in the third period, Jeff Skinner headed to the dressing room and did not return to the game. We’ve gone over the Sabres’ lack of scoring depth. That problem is exacerbated if Skinner misses any length of time.
We’ll know more about the extent of the injury in the next day or so. Despite being held without a goal in 11 straight games, he’s still generating offensive opportunities for his lackluster linemates. As one of maybe four total offensive catalysts on the roster, the Sabres simply cannot afford to be without him as they attempt to regain ground in the standings.