5 Observations: Sharks take down Sabres 3-2

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - After appearing to turn a corner with two straight wins the Buffalo Sabres reverted back to their losing ways, dropping their second straight game on Saturday to the San Jose Sharks 3-2.  Ryan O'Reilly and Jason Pominville scored for the Sabres, who fall to an unimpressive 3-7-2 with the loss. 

Five observations from Saturday's loss: 

Yet another game slips away

After the loss both Jack Eichel and Pominville said it didn't feel like a game they should've lost.

"You know I thought tonight [today] we probably deserved a little bit better fate but that's the game of hockey," Eichel said. "It's a long year, it's one month. I think the biggest thing for us is to just look at it day by day now and try and get better."  

Housley echoed both Pominville and Eichel, saying there was more to like than to dislike. Here are some of his remarks: 

The game-winning goal 

Seconds after Logan Couture scored the go-ahead goal for the Sharks my Twitter feed filled with Robin Lehner criticism. What else is new? 

Over the years I've supported Lehner but the Couture goal was one I'm sure he'd want back. Yes, it was an absolutely perfect shot but if Lehner doesn't go down so fast Couture doesn't have an angle. Aside from the third goal I thought Lehner had a solid night but that's a save you'd like to see him make, especially with overtime approaching. 

The coach's challenge is still the worst

I've said it, you've said it, chances are most of us have said it -- the coach's challenge needs to go, especially if it's going to slow down the game. Goaltender interference is tough because there is a ton of gray area that comes with the rule, making it understandable why Eichel's goal was disallowed. That doesn't make it right, it's just not shocking. But regardless of the call in the first period, I think the rule should be eliminated completely. 

Here are my biggest issues with the coach's challenge, broken down into a simple equation:

Goals = Excitement 
Excitement = Fun 
Fun = More Fans 

Coach's Challenge = Controversy
Controversy = Frustration 
Frustration = Less Fans 

This is the explanation of the play from the NHL:

"After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee determined that Buffalo's Sam Reinhart interfered with Dell before the puck crossed the goal line. According to Rule 78.7, "The standard for overturning the call in the event of a 'GOAL' call on the ice is that the Referee, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that the goal should have been disallowed due to 'Interference on the Goalkeeper,' as described in Rules 69.1, 69.3 and 69.4."

For what it's worth, Pominville, Eichel and Housley all said this was a call that could go either way. 


If it ain't broken, don't fix it! 

It's like a light bulb went off on the Sabres bench as the blue and gold went on their third power-play. Off the bench came last year's top power-play unit, featuring Ristolainen, Eichel, O'Reilly, Okposo and Reinhart. 

Just 20 seconds into their first shift as a group they scored, or so we thought. Despite their first 'goal' being negated because of goaltender interference, this combo did a much better job moving the puck. In the second period, they were rewarded when Ryan O'Reilly fired a canon past Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell to tie the game at one. 

Antipin keeps getting better

Victor Antipin is still only eight games into his NHL career but seems to be getting more comfortable every day. On Saturday against the Sharks, he had one of his more consistent games at both ends of the ice, looking calm, cool and collected with and without the puck. 

The 24-year-old still has a long way to go but I think he deserves to remain in the lineup when the Sabres start getting healthy. In my opinion, Antipin deserves the ice time more than the likes of Matt Tennyson and Zach Redmond. 

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