Final Score: 5-4(OT) CAR
Arrow Up – Jeff Skinner
Jeff Skinner has feasted on the Hurricanes since joining the Buffalo Sabres. Including his goal and assist tonight, he has scored 5 goals and 6 total points in 4 games against his former team.
On a team that usually relies on 3 players to score, Skinner sparked the team early and helped them get a point by setting up the game tying goal.
Arrow Up – Henri Jokiharju
Jokiharju has been the team’s best defenceman through 18 games, he consistently leads the team in breakouts per game, he plays a smart defensive game and is producing points when needed.
While trailing 3-2, Jokiharju found himself in the right place at the right time…grabbed a loose puck and managed to score his 2nd of the season and bringing the game to a 3-3 tie.
During the first quarter of the season, it has been blatantly obvious that Jokiharju is the team’s best player in terms of controlled breakouts and this
game wasn’t any different (see chart below).
Jokiharju led the team in controlled breakouts and had the best breakout rate of all the Sabres’ defenceman, he has been an amazing addition to the Sabres team.
Arrow Down – Abysmal Penalty Kill
The Sabres didn’t help themselves by taking dumb offensive zone penalties, but their penalty kill looks lost everytime they’re out on the ice.
Tonight the Sabres PK gave up 2 crucial goals.
On the first goal, McCabe failed to properly tie up Aho and allowed the Hurricanes forward to tip a puck into the back of the net.
The 2nd Canes PP goal saw Svechnikov get the puck in a dangerous area with no one around him…he walked in a wired a puck past Hutton.
Buffalo continuously makes mental mistakes on the PK, and it costs them on a nightly basis and they seem to have no answer on how to fix it.
Arrow Down – Hutton’s OT performance
Although a miscommunication allowed Necas to walk into the Sabres’ zone untouched, Rodrigues made a nice defensive recovery to force him to make a pass.
Unfortunately he set up Hamilton for the game-winning goal.
On the goal…I would like to see a save, Hamilton was off to the side and not necessarily in a prime scoring position but he managed to blast it past Hutton.
While 2/5 goals were on the PK, and the first one was a bit flukey…it wasn’t a banner night for the Sabres’ goaltender.
Whether they were prime scoring chances or not…5 goals on 29 shots just isn’t going to get it done in the NHL, and the OT goal kind of summed up the night for Hutton.
All the Sabres penalties were offensive zone penalties, and when you have a bad PK you can’t afford to be taking penalties 200 feet away from your own net.
With the loss the Sabres have now lost 10 straight games to the Hurricanes, posting a 0-6-4 record in those games.
Since starting 8-1-1 the Sabres have posted a 1-5-2 record in their last 8, dropping their record to 9-6-3 through 18 games.
The Sabres play the Senators and the Blackhawks this weekend, and it isn’t dramatic to say that they can’t afford to lose either of those games.
Buffalo allowed the losses to pile after a great 10-game stretch last year, and this year has been eerily similar…it’s time to make some kind of statement and it’s time to do it now.