All good things must come to an end and on Sunday night the Buffalo Sabres three-game win streak was snapped, falling to the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1. Buffalo is now 0-9-2 in their last 11 games against Chicago.
Five observations from Sunday's loss:
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) February 20, 2017
Lehner doesn't get much help
Robin Lehner has lost two games in his last six starts. Both losses came in back-to-back outings.
Whenever a goaltender allows five goals he deserves some of the blame, but he wasn't the Sabres biggest problem on Sunday. Three of Chicago's goals were direct results of missed assignments from Sabres skaters.
Lately, Lehner has been phenomenal, but maybe the Sabres should turn to Nilsson during their next back-to-back. With a few days off on the horizon I totally understand Bylsma's decision to ride with the hot goalie, but maybe it wasn't the right move.
Power play woes
For a team with one of the best statistical power plays in the NHL, the Buffalo Sabres struggled on Sunday evening. It started in the first period when the Sabres had a 5-on-3 power play for 1:40 but failed to convert. They finished the night 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
On Saturday against the Blues, the Sabres also struggled, finishing just 1-for-6 with the man advantage.
The common denominator: No Sam Reinhart.
I'm not suggesting that Reinhart would singlehandedly fix the struggling power play, but he brings a lot more to the table than Matt Moulson. Reinhart missed his second game of the season because of the flu but is expected to return soon.
A good night to have Kane as a last name
On Saturday after a 3-2 win against the St. Louis Blues Evander Kane was asked if it felt good to surpass the 20-goal mark. He shrugged it off and said that he's not shooting for 20 goals, he's capable of scoring more.
It didn't take him long to prove himself, scoring his 21 of the season in the dying seconds of the first period against the Blackhawks. It was Kane's 20 even-strength goal of the season, the fifth-most in the NHL. With his goal, Kane now has 15 points in the Sabres last 14 games [9G, 6A].
There's plenty of people who think now is the perfect time to trade Kane, but unless the Sabres get a crazy impressive return, then I think they should hold onto him. They need a guy who can score goals and Kane is doing just that.
Buffalo native Patrick Kane had a relatively quiet first two periods, but scored a gorgeous goal and added an assist in the third period. (Patrick) Kane is just so good when playing against the Sabres.
Bye week blues
The Buffalo Sabres will finally get some much-needed rest after a crazy few weeks. In the first 19 days of February, the Sabres have played 11 games, with a 6-4-1 record. A loss to the Blackhawks surely wasn't how the Sabres envisioned ending their crazy start to February, but they could use some R&R.
*music note* hello darkness my old friend *music note*
In their last two games, the Sabres have actually been the better team during the second period. On Sunday their luck ran out, allowing two Blackhawks goals to see a 1-1 tie turn into a 3-1 deficit.
The first goal came on a wrist shot through traffic from the 38-year-old wonder Marian Hossa. Chicago's third goal was courtesy of Captain Serious, Jonathan Toews, who banged home a rebound from the blue paint.
The second period has been a bugaboo for the Sabres all year long. On Sunday night those struggled were on display, killing any momentum the Sabres had after a late first-period goal.