Well that was ugly.
The Buffalo Sabres opened up their season at home tonight versus division rivals, the Boston Bruins. Much anticipation about the new season echoed throughout the city of Buffalo, as well as all of social media. The game, however, seemed to be eerily similar to the Sabres of 2017/18. Before I begin, it’s the first game of the season, and there are several new faces in the lineup, so the overall team chemistry isn’t at an all time high. In my opinion, it’s far too early to be smashing the panic button.
The Sabres came out of the gate flat footed, and seemed to keep that pace for most of the game. Zdeno Chara scored 6:33 into the first period, and Boston never really looked back, adding another later on in the first, courtesy of Ryan Donato, and potting a third goal at the hands of David Pastrnak, late in the second. Patrice Bergeron secured the victory, scoring an empty net goal with :12 seconds remaining. Final Score; 4-0 Bruins.
Sabres head coach Phil Housley certainly has some work to do in practice tomorrow. The team as a whole looked like it lacked speed and discipline in every zone. Way too many defensive zone giveaways, leading to several chances for the Bruins, one resulting in a goal. Lines were shuffled all night, a true indication that the team chemistry just isn’t quite there yet. That should come with more ice time.
The top line of Skinner – Eichel – Reinhart had a rough night, as they were a collective Minus-6. The Sabres as a whole struggled with getting pucks on net, as the 32 shots on goal wouldn’t show. Too many times they toyed around with the puck in the offensive zone, trying to find the perfect play, rather than taking a shot attempt.
In a nutshell, the team looked rough all around, but did have one or two bright spots. Even though tonight looked like the Sabres of old, bear in mind it is only Game 1 of 82, and teams cannot make the playoffs within the first 60 minutes of the season. Here’s hoping the squad can find the solutions to their dilemmas sooner, rather than later.
- The Sabres have now lost 5 straight season openers, which is the longest current streak in the NHL.
- The Sabres outshot the Bruins, 32-26. Buffalo also led in hits (25 to 13), and faceoff percentage (57% to 43%)
- The Sabres had 19 giveaways to the Bruins 9.
- Rasmus Dahlin played in his first NHL Game. Dahlin was a minus-1, with 2 hits, and played 22:37 in ice time.
- The Sabres are back in action Saturday at home versus the New York Rangers. Puck drop is 7pm