Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – Tuesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning is pretty easy to break down.
The Buffalo Sabres pretty much have no chance facing the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions without players like Casey Mittelstadt, Tage Thompson, Alex Tuch and Robert Hagg in the lineup. The bothersome part of Tuesday's 6-1 pasting was they gave a very poor effort from start-to-finish.
Zemgus Girgensons has been around long enough to know effort when he sees it, and having players out is no reason not to have effort.
“There’s no excuse with guys being out," Girgensons said following the loss. "Every team has that, and definitely the effort was not where it needs to be. It's up to the guys in the room, each one to realize that it’s not good enough effort-wise.”
The Lightning’s first goal of the night was a perfect example of that.
Rasmus Dahlin made a horrible decision to change as Tampa Bay was coming up ice. He gave Jacob Bryson absolutely no chance to get on the ice and help defend Ondrej Palat in the slot, who scored easily.
Dahlin had been playing better recently, along with his partner Henri Jokiharju. But after executing that bad change that cost them a goal, he was on the ice for the next four Tampa Bay goals.
On Tampa Bay's second goal, he got caught up in the offensive zone, leaving Jack Quinn to try and cover two Lightning players, which didn’t work out.
Dahlin also looked very bad in coverage on another Lightning goal later in the game.
Tampa Bay has world class stars on their team, and it was a night where they made many of Buffalo's players look bad.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen didn’t start the second period because of a lower-body injury. It’s not known yet just how severe the injury is. He made seven saves on nine shots in the first period.
Malcolm Subban wasn’t at his best in the final 40 minutes, allowing four goals and 27 shots.
Quinn worked his way into two really good scoring chances in his NHL debut on Tuesday.
In the first period, he had quite a bit of net to shoot at, but Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman got a piece of his shot. Then in the third, Andrei Vasilevskiy was out of the net and Quinn took a shot that defenseman Cal Foote blocked in the crease. The puck rolled to the post and rested there.
Buffalo is in Nashville on Thursday to face the Predators. The Sabres will likely get Tuch, Hagg and Kyle Okposo back in the lineup. That should help their case, but it doesn’t matter who comes back.
Any game where the Sabres put out an effort like that, they'll get blown out of. Mistakes are one thing, poor effort is quite another.