Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – The Buffalo Sabres just don’t match up with the Boston Bruins, which is why they’ve lost 10-straight games to them.
Buffalo was on the short end on Thursday night, 5-1, but things were close for most of the game. Boston led 2-1 four minutes into the third period, and three goals in quick order put it away.
Many wanted to put this game in the effort category, but I would totally disagree. This wasn’t an effort issue.
The issue lies in Buffalo is 0-for-11 on the power play in the last two games, and they can’t match up at all with Patrice Bergeron’s line or David Krejci’s line.
Almost every time those lines get on the ice, they dominated in the offensive zone. The Sabres don’t have the quickness or the smarts to defend them.
Boston also takes away the shooting lanes very well while killing a penalty. On five power plays, Buffalo got five shots. None of them were difficult saves for Jeremy Swayman, because he was never screened.
Don Granato saw some improvement, because they did get some pucks at the net, but he stressed that doesn’t mean they’re there yet. Dylan Cozens joined the first unit power play, and there were some things Granato saw with that that he’d like to explore.
Another thing that didn’t go well was Dustin Tokarski, who let in two goals for sure, and probably three where saves needed to be made. Even though it was an easy night for Swayman, he didn’t hurt his team letting in pucks that shouldn’t go in.
There were times I thought the Sabres were hard on battles, but that usually wasn’t the case with Boston’s top-two lines. Buffalo’s goal was a prime example of that.
Cozens hustled to the wall to help cause a Sean Kuraly turnover. He then relayed the puck ahead to Anders Bjork, while Arttu Ruotsalainen went to the net. Bjork found him and Buffalo had tied the game at 1-1.
Had Tokarski not let Matt Grzelcyk’s unscreened point shot get by him, Buffalo would’ve remained tied heading into the third period.
I think what this three-game series against Boston is telling general manager Kevyn Adams is many of his players are much improved in the past month. However, there’s still work to do to build a team that can compete with the likes of Boston or the Tampa Bay Lightning.
When the league gets back to normal, Boston will still be in Buffalo’s division. If Jack Eichel stays, then, of course, Buffalo will be better prepared to match the Bruins.
It’s going to take more than just Eichel, and some of those players needed aren’t on the roster.