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New Sabre Bowen Byram Shines, But Sabres Still Fall to Preds, 4-2

Mar 7, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) moves the puck past Buffalo Sabres left wing Zach Benson (9) at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Alan Poizner-USA TODAY Sports

Forsberg’s Hat Trick Seals the Deal for Nashville Victory

Score: Predators 4 | Sabres 2

Shots: BUF 28 | NSH 25

Buffalo Sabres Goals: Bowen Byram (9), Owen Power (5)

Nashville Predators Goals: Filip Forsberg (31, 32, 33), Luke Evangelista (12)

Minus-1: Early Deficit

In the first four minutes of the opening period, the home team found themselves on the scoreboard first following an interference penalty by Zemgus Girgensons. It would be Filip Forsberg with an impressive one-timer to the glove side of Eric Comrie to make it 1-0 Nashville. It was a very smooth power play that, to be honest, Sabres fans wish they could be watching their own team replicate on a regular basis. Unfortunately, Buffalo would have to endure another power play from the opposition a few more minutes into the period, but more on that later.

Plus-1: Welcome to Buffalo, Bowen!

Not 30 seconds later, new defenseman Bowen Byram answered back with his first goal in a Sabres uniform to tie it up, 1-1. It began with a nice, long pass from Lukas Rousek to Peyton Krebs who skated it into the Predators’ zone, quickly gave it to Rasmus Dahlin, who set up Byram for his own one-timer – a wrister – from the faceoff circle. Interestingly enough, it would also be Byram with the most ice time from a Sabres defenseman in the opening period. Ready for another fun fact? The Sabres’ new addition is the first defenseman received in a trade to tally a goal in their debut with Buffalo since Alexei Zhitnik in 1995 (oh, the glory days…).

Minus-2: Stop Getting Penalties

Not long after Byram’s beautiful goal, the Sabres found themselves on the penalty kill yet again due to another interference after Dahlin tripped up Forsberg at the Nashville blue line. Luckily for the Sabres, the Predators’ passing during their second power play was a bit sloppier and they struggled to maintain puck control throughout the two minutes. Though the Sabres were able to draw a penalty about halfway into the first period, Nashville’s penalty kill proved to be elite – they were previously 12 for their last 13 at 92.3%, making it difficult for Buffalo to score with the man-advantage. Another penalty late in the period – this time a trip courtesy of Dylan Cozens – helped Nashville regain the lead, 2-1. Other than their power play clearly being more effective, it is also worth noting how often they carried the puck into the Sabres’ zone rather than dumping it in – the latter being a play we see too often with Buffalo that is not only lazy but such a waste of time.

In other news, Dahlin put a high stick on his own player – Jordan Greenway – and we lost the forward for a majority of the second period as he left the ice with a very bloodied face. How Buffalo is that?

Minus-3: Too Little Too Late

Even though it looked like the Sabres could have made a late comeback in the third period with a few solid opportunities against Juuse Saros and a goal by Owen Power, it was Forsberg that shattered that thought with two more goals, giving him a hat trick – the 10th in his career – and a victory for the home team.

In the words of Rob Ray: “If you want to score goals in the NHL, grow a mustache like Forsberg.”

Final Thoughts

Another game, another loss…and another 0% on power plays for the night. The Sabres never found themselves offensively. The one positive was Byram’s first goal and first assist as a Sabre.

Otherwise, I will just leave this here:

Three Stars:

1. Filip Forsberg (3G, +2)

2. Gustav Nyquist (3A, +1)

3. Luke Evangelista (1G)