(WGR 550) – The Buffalo Sabres blew another two-goal lead on Saturday. They, once again, gave up goals in bunches, allowing Boston two goals in 1:26 of the third period to turn a 3-1 game into a 3-3 game.
It then only took 34 seconds into overtime for Charlie Coyle to score the game-winning goal for give the Sabres a 4-3 loss.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stole Buffalo a point, making 37 saves, with the last goal seeing Coyle being allowed to walk right down the slot with nobody around. Jeff Skinner, who should never be on the ice at 3-on-3, was slow and soft on Brad Marchand along the wall. Meanwhile, Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin got mixed up in coverage.
To start the play that led to Coyle’s goal, Skinner lost possession for Buffalo, taking an off-angle shot that Linus Ullmark easily saved.
Skinner was returning after missing two games in the NHL's COVID-19 Protocol. I very much liked the goal he scored, finding good position around the net. Alex Tuch’s shot was blocked, but because Skinner was where he was, he picked the corner on Ullmark.
Vinnie Hinostroza also returned from protocol and scored his sixth goal of the season when Brett Murray kept a puck in, outworked two Bruins along the wall, and sent a perfect pass to Hinostroza.
Don Granato left Buffalo before 7 a.m. EST on Saturday after learning he was out of COVID-19 protocol.
I think he made some major errors in this game by first putting Skinner out during 3-on-3, allowing the winger to burn him again.
Granato also drastically overplayed Dahlin and Henri Jokiharju in this game. Dahlin played a total of 27:58, and Jokiharju played 27:10. Meanwhile, Mark Pysyk played 17:13, Will Butcher totaled 15:19, Casey Fitzgerald played 12:41 and Ethan Prow totaled 11:52.
Dahlin and Jokiharju spent a lot of time in their own zone. It wasn't all bad, but I think with three games in four days, they were out of gas as the game wore on.
I want to be very clear here, I think Granato is an overall very good coach. In all the games he’s coached the Sabres, this is probably the first time I would say that.
Granato thought Dahlin was really good after the game, and I want to respect his thoughts on that. I just thought he was good in spots, but spent way too much time on the ice and way too much time defending in his own zone. I would just disagree on that point.
The Sabres have now lost three-straight games, and their mental mistakes have done them in. In the first two games back from the break, the team was missing 11 players. Against the Bruins, nine players were out.
The team did battle, and I thought they looked faster than the first two games. They just didn’t think the game faster.
Tuch scored his first goal with the Sabres, picking the corner on Ullmark after a brilliant play by Peyton Krebs. The vision and poise the kid showed, and then just a perfect pass to Tuch for the assist and his first point with the Sabres.
The Sabres are now off until Thursday when the San Jose Sharks are in town. It will give the Sabres a chance to get many players back, and also get in some good practice time. It still think it’s too much time off before Buffalo will have to ramp it up again.
Before the game, the Sabres sent JJ Peterka, Arttu Ruotsalainen, Oskari Laaksonen and Brandon Biro down to the Rochester Americans.