Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - The Buffalo Sabres played their second game in as many nights on Tuesday when they hosted the Seattle Kraken at KeyBank Center. Tuesday's contest marked the third game of Buffalo's current four-game homestand.
The first period got off to a quick start for the Sabres when Alex Tuch scored his 19th goal of the season, giving his team a 1-0 lead. The rest of the period went relatively smooth for Buffalo until Seattle finally broke through when forward Jordan Eberle tied the game with two minutes remaining in the period.
The second period was much of the same for the Sabres, who controlled play throughout the middle frame. Rasmus Dahlin connected on the power play to give his team a 2-1 lead, until Kraken forward Yanni Gourde tied the game once again at 2-2.
The third period was a different story compared to the rest of the game, as Seattle controlled most of the play.
Matty Beniers and Justin Schultz both scored in the first five minutes of the period to give the Kraken a 4-2 lead. Seattle held that lead until Tuch scored his second of the night with 20 seconds remaining on the clock. At that point, though, the Sabres were not able to score again in the dying moments.
The Sabres were knocking on the door towards the end of the game, but it was too little, too late, as Buffalo drops its second game in-a-row.
Here are three observations from this game:
1.) Fresh faces
With about 13 games over the next two weeks leading up to the All-Star break, the Sabres will be tested with their overall mental and physical toughness.
One thing that can help ease this problem is the ability to rotate in some fresh players. This game saw forwards Vinnie Hinostroza and Rasmus Asplund draw back into the lineup for the first time in quite awhile. Along with that, defenseman Henri Jokiharju and goaltender Eric Comrie both returned from injury.
Rotating certain players in and out of the lineup over these next two weeks will be crucial in the team's ability to win games. The players need to stay fresh and energized for games that will have a key impact on playoff possibilities.
2.) Playing your pace
One thing the Sabres did on Tuesday that was much different from Monday was playing their own game. Buffalo controlled the pace of play for a majority of the contest, which was something they struggled with against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Along with more offensive opportunities, they also looked more lively on the physical side of things with big hits that energized the team at the right times.
The Sabres have proven when they play the game at their own pace this season, they can be, and have been the highest scoring team in the NHL. This type of play needs to return again in the coming weeks for improved results.
3.) Short-term memory
One thing all NHL teams need to have in situations like this is short-term memory. Two lack-luster games in-a-row can be hard on a team's mentality with tough competition still to come.
The Sabres need to snap out of this funk quickly before things begin to spiral out of control like they did earlier this season when team lost eight-straight games.
These next few games will be where the leadership in the locker room shows how well it can help this team improve and get back to winning form.
The Sabres will have a day off from game action before getting back at it Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets at KeyBank Center. Puck drop for the game is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST with pregame coverage starting at 6 p.m. EST with Schopp and the Bulldog on the radio home of the Sabres - WGR Sports Radio 550.