The Buffalo Sabres haven't won a game in Chicago since George W. Bush was the President of the United States. Despite a late lead, their losing ways continued, falling to the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime 3-2.
What a rough way for this game to end. Ouch.
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) December 9, 2017
Five observations from Friday's win:
So close, yet so far
Jack Eichel had a pretty solid game but he needs to score on that penalty shot in overtime. With the game on the line, Eichel was denied by Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford as he attempted to go five-hole.
A few minutes later the Blackhawks earned the extra point with a weird goal. Buffalo can't give away points, especially after their disastrous start to the season.
The curse has been broken
Did we ever think things would get so bad that the Sabres would have 30 consecutive failed power play attempts? Just when it looked like the man advantage woes would never end, Jason Pominville perfectly redirected a pretty pass from Eichel to give the Sabres their first power play goal in 12 games. Maybe, just maybe, this will give the Sabres some confidence from here on out.
Logging big minutes
On Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche Rasmus Ristolainen logged more than 30 minutes of ice time. He continued to shoulder a ton of responsibility against the Blackhawks, once again logging more than 30 minutes.
Aside from a bad defensive play on a Nathan MacKinnon goal in Colorado, Ristolainen has been far and away the Sabres best defenseman since struggling last weekend against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ristolainen is playing with fire, jumping into the rush and making smart plays in the defensive zone. You have to wonder if all this ice time is going to catch up to the Sabres defenseman but lately, he's been great.
Great game gets spoiled
On Monday, TSN's Darren Dreger reported that teams have reached out to the Sabres checking the availability of both Robin Lehner and Chad Johnson. Since that report, Lehner has been outstanding in two consecutive games. It's a shame that one sloppy goal will ruin the perception of his game as a whole.
Against the Blackhawks Lehner made big save after big save, his prettiest coming in the dying seconds of the second period. Blackhawks' forward Richard Panik fired a one-timer from the slot, but Lehner slid his pad over with only milliseconds to spare, directing the shot into the corner.
The goal was one Lehner would certainly like back. There was traffic in front and it caught him off guard. Not much you can do. Sure, he should make the save but it's hard to fault him on a weird goal like that.
Brutal 3rd period
Rather than attacking and trying to extend their lead, the Sabres played almost the entire third period in the defensive zone. What could go wrong? Luckily for the Sabres, they were able to steal at least a point.
Eichel: "We sit back when we have leads, we were happy with just getting the puck out of our zone, this was a game we needed to get two points in, this sucks" #Sabres
— Brian Koziol (@BrianWGR) December 9, 2017