The Buffalo Sabres dropped another game against the Islanders, falling 3-2. Buffalo fought hard, but blown coverages, multiple posts hit (again) and a late game penalty was too much to overcome.
The Sabres started the game strong, outplaying the Islanders much of the 1st period. They finally cashed in on their hard work when Curtis Lazar deflected a Henri Jokiharju point shot.
Early in the 2nd period, Eichel’s luck continued to plague him as he fired a wrist shot off the post.
A few minutes later, Anders Lee found himself in front of the net all alone, making a backhand-forehand-backhand move and sliding the puck through Ullmark’s five hole to tie the game.
Just over three minutes into the 3rd, Matt Martin flung a wrist shot from the top of the right circle, finding it’s way through a few bodies and behind a screened Ullmark – Islanders up 2-1.
Right after the goal, Taylor Hall saw his scoring struggles rear its ugly head with another post hit.
An interference call away from the play put Buffalo on the powerplay. On the ensuing powerplay, Sam Reinhart showed off an impressive display of hand-eye coordination. A rebound from a point shot popped up in the air, when Reinhart turned his stick upside-down and batted the puck out of mid-air into the net.
A tripping penalty setup the Islanders for a late game powerplay and with just under 5 minutes to go, Jean-Gabriel Pageau got behind two Sabres to fire home a juicy rebound. Once up 3-2, the Islander did what they do best, bogging down play and riding the one goal lead to victory.
Curtis Lazar: With his first period goal, Lazar now leads the Sabres in 5v5 goals with 4 and has proven to be the most reliable bottom-six forward this year. It is unlikely Lazar will end the season leading the Sabres in 5v5 goals, but contributing offensively while staying true to his energy role is exactly what the Sabres need from players on the 3rd and 4th lines.
Casey Mittelstadt: Another game, another impressive performance from Mittelstadt. Besides a defensive turnover that could have looked bad if it ended up in the back of their net, Mittelstadt has looked good when called upon. Along with picking up an assist on the Lazar goal, Mittelstadt got a good look yesterday off the rush. Lower expectations could play a factor, but he has definitely taken a step forward in his development and confidence can only help the 22 year old.
Injury Bug: The Sabres have lost Jake McCabe for the year, Will Borgen for the time-being and now Tobias Rieder. Those three have been effective in their roles this season when in the lineup. This hit by Pulock appears to be to play that injured Rieder’s shoulder.
- Tobias Rieder’s injury opens up a spot for Jeff Skinner to come back into the lineup tonight. I would say look for him to pot his first goal of the season tonight, but if he’s playing with Eakin and Okposo, do not hold your breath.
- The Sabres sorely miss Ristolainen, McCabe and Borgen as multiple blown coverages ended with the puck in the back of their net. Low event hockey will not work if blown coverages turn into goals against, in turn demanding more from Ullmark and Hutton.
The Sabres are right back at it tonight in New Jersey for a game against the Devils, turn around and playing them again Thursday in Buffalo. The Sabres will need two wins to jump past the Devils and get out of the basement of the East Division.