Winnipeg, Manitoba (WGR 550) – The Buffalo Sabres had the better play on Friday in Winnipeg, but in the end, they still lost to the Jets, 3-2.
We need to start bottom lining this season and last season at this time. Last year at this time, the Sabres were 7-10-0. This year, Buffalo is currently at 7-9-1.
Despite allowing very few chances, Sabres head coach Don Granato was not happy, and he says he told his team so after 40 minutes.
In the third period, JJ Peterka scored at the 1:00 mark, and the Sabres kicked in the offense. They were direct, had speed and went to the net. However, Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck didn’t crack and held down the fort.
Granato knows his team can’t wait until the third period to up its compete. He feels many guys think they're competing, but there’s more there.
Alex Tuch, along with his linemates Jeff Skinner and Dylan Cozens, were all at the net causing turnovers. Tuch was even able to score in the second period to cut Winnipeg’s lead to 2-1.
"It’s a standard we have to keep ourselves to: We can’t wait to get down a goal or wait to get fired up by a coach, a captain or whoever’s talking on the bench," said Tuch following Friday night's loss.
"Guys have to elevate, and if you’re not going to elevate this early in the season, why do it at all?"
Buffalo spent a lot of the third period pressuring the Jets and out shot them, 12-6. The problem was the second period, where Eric Comrie gave up three goals on five shots faced.
On the first goal, Cole Perfetti crossed the Sabres blue line and ripped a shot from the top of the circle. That’s a goal Comrie has to stop.
Buffalo had played a solid road first period, giving up one decent scoring chance 5-on-5. However, just 2:12 into the second, they’re trailing, 1-0.
Just 2:21 later, Sabres defenseman Mattias Samuelsson had no idea that Mason Appleton had snuck behind him. Nino Niederreiter fed Appleton a perfect cross-crease pass for a layup, and Buffalo was behind by two.
This stuff happens to this team way too much, and it costs them games.
Then came the third period, where the Sabres had several chances to get it to overtime. Rasmus Dahlin played like a man possessed, but they still couldn’t tie it.
"I thought our third period was much, much better. We know we need to be better, and hopefully it’s a sign that we’ve woken up to play the way we need to play," said Granato following the loss.
Despite the losing lately, Buffalo is still only three points out of a playoff spot. They’re going to need the drive to get the job done on Sunday in Chicago against Connor Bedard and the Blackhawks.