(WGR 550) – For the Buffalo Sabres, it’s just rinse and repeat. Play well for a while, give up three goals in 5:43, blow two, three-goal leads and lose a game you were up 3-0 in, 7-4.
The last two goals were empty netters, so let’s make it easy: Buffalo led the Florida Panthers, 3-0, at the end of the first period, and 4-1 at 11:16 of the second period and still lost.
This is a scenario that’s playing out continually and it doesn’t appear Don Granato or his players know how to stop in. The Sabres have lost seven of eight games and have scored four goals in six of the games. If you score four goals you should win in this league and it ends there.
This is back-to-back games that the Sabres have given up seven goals and they’ve done it in three of the last six games.
Yes, the Panthers are the second best team in the NHL and have firepower, but if you’re up three goals on them midway through the game, you have to win that game.
Casey Mittelstadt scored a goal through the legs of Sergei Bobrovsky to chase the Panthers netminder after 31:13 of work. He gave up four goals on 12 shots.
It was at that point that the team stopped playing and pucks started going into their net. They got outshot in the second period 21-6.
Buffalo did put pressure on Spencer Knight in the third and it looked like Zemgus Girgensons had given the Sabres a 5-4 lead, but his shot at the wide open net hit the shaft of Eetu Luostarinen’s stick, hit his shoulder, hit the crossbar and stayed out. Florida came right back down the ice and Anton Lundell found himself alone in front of Aaron Dell and he completed the comeback and scored the game-winner.
I have never in all my years covering hockey seen a team that gets so uptight and gives away leads as quickly as this team does. Yes, they outshot Florida 18-11 in the third period and stayed with it, but what was the score in the third? It was 2-0 if you don’t count the empty netters.
I’m going to be totally honest with everybody. At no point in that game, at 3-0 or at 4-1 did I think the Sabres were going to win. There was just no question in my mind that Florida would come storming back and win it.
There was a lot to like in that game, but so what? I really liked the plays I saw in the first period. Rasmus Dahlin, Dylan Cozens, Vinnie Hinostroza, Kyle Okposo all made brilliant plays to get out to a 3-0 lead.
After the game Granato said they have to keep on it and keep improving. That hasn’t worked so what’s Plan B? Is it simply that they wait until Craig Anderson gets back? Are they hoping they’ve struck gold with Malcolm Subban? I don’t know, but what I do know is this is not working.