Final Score – 5-2 (NYI)
Despites 3rd period goals from Jeff Skinner and Colin Miller to bring the game to 3-2, the comeback fell short, dropping the Sabres to 6-14-3 on the season, 0-6-0 against the Islanders and losers of 7 straight.
Jeff Skinner scored his first of the year, circling the net after flubbing a bouncing and ripping a backhand off the goalie’s shoulder and in. For this being Skinner’s first goal, he’s had even better chances this season. If he continues to produce those high danger chances, hopefully this goal is a stepping stone to having more of those go in.
Just under 4 minutes later, Colin Miller makes it 3-2 Islanders as his wrist shot went full knuckleball.
As previous mentioned, for the first time since February 29th 2020, Jeff Skinner has scored a goal. The chances have been abundant and, at times this season, Skinner has looked like the only player able to produce a spark of offensive output. The goal production has not been there for Skinner, a fact Head Coach Ralph Krueger made sure the public is well aware of post-game.
That’s certainly something for Jeff Skinner, who has measured his whole career on goals; getting that zero out of the way is an encouraging sign moving forward. We need to get the goal scorers confident, we need them to be able to execute, to get us leads, to be able to neutralize goals against quickly like we just spoke about. I’m happy for Jeff that he got that out of the way and we need to build on that.Buffalo Sabres Head Coach Ralph Krueger on Jeff Skinner’s first goal of the season.
A simple acknowledgment of being happy for him accompanied by saying hopefully this sparks more goals for him would have sufficed.
Anders Lee Owns Sabres
In 6 games against the Sabres, Anders Lee has 6 goals, all of which have come at 5v5. Today, Lee opened the scoring when Rasmus Ristolainen tried pushing the big-bodied Lee, instead of tying up his stick for the re-direct past Johansson. The lack of tying up guys in front of the net came back again later in the game. Rasmus Dahlin left Casey Cizikas wide open for the cross-ice pass from Jean-Gabriel Pageau to be slammed home.
The Sabres have not stopped the best part of Lee’s game, getting his large frame in front of the net and finishing rebounds, deflecting pucks or burying feeds from teammates. The good thing for the Sabres is they only see Lee and the Islanders
Zero Changes From Ownership and Management
At the time of writing this, there have been zero trades to acquire new talent or shake things up. Head Coach Ralph Krueger is still coaching the Sabres while his two of his coaching counterparts with better records have been let go already this season. Gutting the front office at the outbreak of COVID and giving significantly more power to Krueger is yet another plan set in place by ownership that has backfired in spectacular fashion, , regardless of how necessary the circumstances of the pandemic made it.
It’s time for a change. The players have to take ownership of their play, it’s not all Krueger and his system, but Kevyn Adams cannot fire players and ultimately the blame is placed on the shoulders of the coach. Until literally anything changes are made, expect more of what was seen this past week.
From a fan’s perspective, any optimism directed towards this team is no longer given, it’s earned. The players are not performing anywhere near their capabilities and seem lost. The coaching staff seems unwilling to adjust their system to better fit the players on the roster. Another season has crashed and is burning, all management and ownership have done so far is watch the fire rage.
The Sabres head to Phildelphia for a Tuesday night game against the Flyers before heading home to host Pittsburgh for their first two meetings of the season against the Penguins on Thursday and Saturday.