The Buffalo Sabres have set a new NHL record in the Shootout Era (2005-present) Wednesday night with their 15th consecutive winless game. An all too common defeat by a score of 5-2 looked out of reach early and often, persisting throughout the entire 60 minutes. There were flashes of nice plays, they were few and far between.
1-0 PIT – Evan Rodrigues
2-0 PIT – Kris Letang
2-1 BUF– Rasmus Dahlin
3-1 PIT – John Marino
4-1 PIT – Zach Aston-Reese (SH)
5-1 PIT – Sidney Crosby
5-2 BUF – Victor Olofsson (PS)
Asplund Injured, Others Dinged Up
After it was announced Tage Thompson would be a scratch due to illness, the Sabres dressed 11 forwards and 7 defensemen. Midway through the first period, an awkward open ice collision sent Asplund to the dressing room and would not return.
Sam Reinhart took an inadvertent elbow and was down for a few seconds, but ended up staying in the game.
Also, Rasmus Dahlin took a blatant two handed swing to the face leaving him bloody, but continued playing. No call was made on the play.
No Help For Tokarski
Pittsburgh ended the game with 42 shots on goal and 68 shot attempts against. The Sabres only had 28 shots on goal and 39 shot attempts.* For fans of analytics, that’s a 36.45 CF% (Corsi For %). If Tokarski will be the one to help bring the Sabres to their first victory in a month, they cannot allow a shelling of this nature. He had a few good stops and a couple posts were hit that could have made the game even more lopsided. The Penguins were just the better team in every facet of the game, it felt as if this outcome was expected before the opening puck drop. Linus Ullmark returned to practice and could be goal as early as tonight in Pittsburgh or Saturday in Boston.
*According to Natural Stat Trick
A Positive Milestone
With an assist on Dahlin’s 1st period goal, Brandon Montour earned his 100th career point. In 272 career NHL games, Montour has 25 goals and 75 assists. With Buffalo, Montour has 9 goals and 28 assists for 37 points in 103 games. Things in Buffalo have not worked out as well as hoped for the soon to be 27 year old, but considering how difficult it is just to make the NHL and play that many games, it is still an impressive feat. He would likely tell you he would rather have the win, but hopefully he was able to take a moment to enjoy the milestone.
One Parting Stat
After the front office made basically no impactful changes to the defense and goaltending in the offseason, the Sabres are feeling the effects of this inactivity. Hockey is a team game so the blame cannot solely be placed just on the defensemen and goaltenders (losing Jake McCabe certainly does not help either), but the Sabres team defensive struggles are perfectly encapsulated in one simple statistic: