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Snakebit Sabres Strike Again

Feb 15, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens (24) carries the puck up ice during the second period against the Florida Panthers at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Buffalo Sabres vs Florida Panthers
Buffalo Sabres
Buffalo Sabres
Florida Panthers
Florida Panthers
Current Status: Final

Score: Panthers 4 | Sabres 0

Shots: FLA 31 | BUF 45

Buffalo Sabres Goals:

Florida Panthers Goals:

  1. Verhaeghe (Barkov)
  2. Lundell (Tkachuk, Forsling)
  3. Verhaeghe (Reinhart)
  4. Lomberg (Forsling, Lundell)

Minus 1: failure to capitalize

The Sabres offense has struggled to score many nights this season. Things were looking up after a 7-goal breakthrough against the Kings Tuesday night. But alas, that did not translate into success against the Panthers. Despite numerous chances, Buffalo could not solve Anthony Stolarz who had 45 saves for his 9th win and first shutout of the season. Even with the Panthers playing the night before and putting their backup goalie in, the Sabres could not take advantage. Stolarz had a great game, but he’s not the only backup goalie that has excelled against Buffalo. It’s been that kind of year.

Plus 1: Given a Chance to Win

With Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen out with a lower-body injury, Eric Comrie saw his first NHL action since December 5th. Sabre fans never know what to expect from their backup netminder, but Comrie stood tall against one of the top teams in the NHL. He made some excellent saves and kept Buffalo in the game. The Sabres helped played well in front of him as well. They were able to clear most rebounds after Comrie made the first save. Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t give him any support.

Minus 2: Microcosm of Pain

One moment perfectly encapsulated this season. With time winding down in the third and only down by two, the Sabres pulled Comrie for the extra skater. Cozens had a wide-open net on a back door play. In the wise words of Chubbs Peterson from “Happy Gilmore”, “all you got to do is tap it in”. Instead, Cozens tapped it back into Stolarz. If Stolarz wasn’t there, the puck still would have missed the net and ended up in the corner. In a season filled with close calls and disappointment, this missed opportunity stands out.

Final Thoughts

The constant refrain of this season is “close but no cigar.” The team played hard, generated chances, but couldn’t capitalize when it mattered. This loss was not due to a lack of effort, but it is a still a loss for a team in desperate need of wins. The pressure is on the entire organization to spark a season-changing winning streak. However, with each passing loss, any remaining hope of a playoff push slips away.

Talking Points