Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - The Buffalo Sabres now find themselves sliding on a three-game losing streak after three frustrating games.
The latest loss came Thursday night at KeyBank Center, as Buffalo was doubled up by the visiting Winnipeg Jets by a 4-2 score. The defeat closed out a four-game homestand for the Sabres, where they struggled by going 1-3-0.
It was a quiet first period for both teams with the only goal of the period coming from Jets defenseman Dylan Samberg six minutes into the game.
The Sabres tied the game midway through the period courtesy of Victor Olofsson, but the Jets had a quick answer from defenseman Josh Morrissey to re-take the lead, 2-1.
The third period started off quick for the Sabres when Tyson Jost tied the game at 2-2. While the Sabres did overwhelm the Jets for the majority of the period, Winnipeg took the lead back when Kyle Connor scored on a breakaway.
A last ditch effort from Buffalo to tie the game fell short when Jets forward Karson Khulman scored an empty-net goal to secure the 4-2 victory.
Here are this game's three observations:
1.) Power play problems
While the power play is still ranked as a top-five unit in the league, the Sabres have had issues converting lately on the man advantage. Buffalo failed to score on any of their five attempts on Thursday, and have only scored one power play goal in their last 10 attempts.
The first power play unit has gone flat over the past five games, and it could mean it's time for the team to shake things up. As for the second power play unit, they haven't been consistent either.
While the players will have a day of practice on Friday to make adjustments, it may take more than that to get both units jumpstarted again.
2.) High intensity
Despite the loss, the team has definitely found their intensity once again. It started to come back against the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday, but it was very apparent in this game the Sabres are back to a physical brand of hockey.
Not only was the team physical, they were extremely aggressive in the offensive zone. The Sabres recorded 41 shots on goal compared the Winnipeg's 27.
Part of Buffalo's problem in this game could've been the fact that Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck played an outstanding game, stopping 39 of those 41 shots.
The Sabres needs to find a way to keep this kind of intensity when going up against teams who don't have a strong goaltender like Winnipeg.
3.) Find a way
The Sabres' playoff dreams are slowly slipping away with each loss. The team is still rather close to a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, but if losses like this continue to pile up, those hopes could be gone by mid-February.
Whether it's some kind of move from management, a shake up of the lines from the coaching staff, or simply one good game, the Sabres need to find a way to get over the line and get a win.
The team had all of the tools Thursday night to win a game, but couldn't get past a good goaltender.
If they play every game the way they did Thursday, the wins should return soon.
The Sabres make a trip to Nashville for their annual matchup with the Predators in the "Music City". Puck drop at Bridgestone Arena is set for 8 p.m. EST with pregame coverage starting at 7 p.m. EST with Brian Koziol on the radio home of the Sabres - WGR Sports Radio 550.