Too little too late: Buffalo fails to defeat worst team in NHL with shootout loss

Sabres seem to have given up and fans may be next

Final Score: Red Wings 4 | Sabres 3 (SO)

Shots on Goal: Red Wings 21 | Sabres 32

Buffalo Goal Scorers: Jimmy Vesey (7), Scott Wilson (1), Evan Rodrigues (4)

Red Wings Goal Scorers: Dylan Larkin (14, 15), Tyler Bertuzzi (18)

Minus-1: Two Bad Periods

One of the many trends this season has been the Sabres’ inability to catch up once they are behind on the scoreboard. Tonight was no exception. Not only were the Red Wings the first team to score, they had not scored in over 133 minutes and were shut out in their last two games against the Rangers and the Flyers. Leave it to Buffalo to help the opposition snap a scoreless streak.

It looked like there was a little hope to tie it up in the first period when winger Scott Wilson scored with a deflection, but Detroit quickly squashed that dream with a coach’s challenge and a call that stood for goaltender interference. The goal reversal left the scoreboard at 1-0 until the final seconds of the first period when a two-on-one coast to coast opportunity worked in favor of Detroit with .2 seconds remaining. This also marked Dylan Larkin’s first multi-goal game of the season. Again, leave it to the Sabres.

It was only in the third period that Buffalo began to show signs of life and forced the game into overtime.

Minus-2: Did the 6-1 Loss Against the Avs Mean Anything?

In one word, the answer is: no. An inspired, hardworking team would have left Tuesday’s match-up against Colorado - the worst home game of the season - and come out tonight with guns blazing. They should have been too embarrassed to repeat the same mistakes tonight. However, the Sabres not only looked like they did not care, they looked just like the Red Wings - the worst team in the NHL. Buffalo only showed a spark in latter part of the game and even then, it was too little too late.

Minus-3: Deja Vu

Many things were missing from tonight’s game - talent, inspiration, early scoring, hitting, etc. - but another noticeable absence was the fans. From home on the couch, it appeared to viewers that KeyBank Center was half empty. However, what was not lacking tonight was the booing from the frustrated fans that remained. While there may not have been the maximum amount present, fans have been visibly and audibly fed up with this sad excuse for a team. In their last two seasons, Buffalo has started out strong, but taken a nose dive in the final few months - a time when gaining points and working toward a playoff spot is of the utmost importance. Since their exciting start in the 2019-2020 season, Buffalo has been 15-22-7. What a disappointing way to spend the team’s 50th year.

Plus-1: Johansson’s First Start

While Jonas Johansson did look shaky in his first career NHL start, he was able to stop 18 of 21 shots faced through three periods and the additional overtime. At the very least, the young Swede was able to get some experience between the pipes and will hopefully gain some confidence over time in what can be an intimidating league (albeit not against a very intimidating team tonight).

The Sabres will look to bounce back from their losses this week in their next game, which is Friday at 7:00 PM against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.