Chicago, Ill. (WGR 550) – The Buffalo Sabres lost a game in Chicago on Tuesday night, blowing a 3-1, third period lead to the Blackhawks, the worst team in the National Hockey League.
Yes, there were bad calls and circumstances, but in my mind, the Sabres got what they deserved. There’s no excuse for losing that game, let alone getting one point.
For the most part, the Sabres were playing a much better game than Monday’s loss to the Florida Panthers.
They gave up the first goal doing what they do way too much, being 100% oblivious to defensemen coming through the slot free to score. Again, five Sabres players were facing their goalie with no clue that Connor Murphy had activated.
This needs to be addressed in practice, because this happens way too much.
They did recover from the early deficit, scoring goals by going to the net.
Tyson Jost went to the net along with Victor Olofsson, and Olofsson got rewarded to tie the game at 1-1. Tage Thompson then went to the net before the end of the period, got the cross-ice pass from Jeff Skinner and made a beautiful move for his first goal in six games.
Peyton Krebs picked off a Max Domi pass in the second period while shorthanded, and went from his own blue line in alone, putting a slick move on goalie Petr Mrazek for the 3-1 lead.
The Sabres spent the rest of the game hitting posts and missing golden opportunities to score.
After Chicago scored a goal that hit two players on the way to the net, Rasmus Dahlin exploded, thinking there should’ve been a hooking penalty on the Blackhawks. The score remained 3-2, while he was in the penalty box with a 10-minute misconduct. He simply has to be better than that.
Even Sabres head coach Don Granato said that can’t happen, and told Dahlin he can’t put his team in that position. If Dahlin is playing, maybe he pulls off something special and the Sabres get that fourth goal.
Overall, this was not one of Dahlin’s better games. On the overtime goal for Chicago, Tyler Johnson came down the right wing 2-on-1 against Dahlin. Dahlin looks to have the play killed, but he allows Johnson to pass the puck through his legs to a wide-open Seth Jones, who called game.
The Sabres had a lot of possession time in overtime thanks to Dylan Cozens winning two faceoffs., However, I really didn’t like what they did with it. Dahlin did cut across the crease for a great scoring chance, but Mrazek got his pad on the chance.
What I thought was not good puck management was taking long shots that had very little chance of going in. Usually, all that accomplishes is giving up possession of the puck.
Before I get into the game-tying goal, I want to say bad calls happen to every team, and they happen in every NHL game. Should the goal have been disallowed due to goaltender interference? Absolutely, but it wasn’t.
The Sabres still need to overcome that bad call and figure out a way to win that game.
After the game, goalie Craig Anderson was very candid in his comments. He said Johnson’s elbow went right into his glove and it didn’t allow him to make the save. He said he was very confused after Toronto didn’t overturn it, and he got no explanation from the officials.
Anderson also said when you don’t get the calls, you still have to battle through them. The veteran netminder was 100% correct.
In the end, Johnson’s elbow did stop him from being able to make the save and the goal should’ve been disallowed.
With that being said, the Sabres spent the better part of a minute inviting the Blackhawks to tie the game. They sat back, never attacked the man with the puck, and let the worst team in the league pass them dizzy until Jones got the screened shot off.
Buffalo has now lost five-of-six games and desperately need a win. They’re coming off seven games in 11 days.
The team will get a day off Wednesday, and then play their eighth game in 13 days on Thursday on "Ryan Miller Night" against the New York Islanders. The team is encouraging fans to be in their seats by 5:50 p.m. EST for ceremonies to begin at 6 p.m. EST.