BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — With their 7-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, the Buffalo Sabres have now lost more games this season than they've won [25-20-6]. Remember the 10-game win streak?
5 Observations from Friday's loss:
So many mistakes
"We just got beat 7-3 at home so I don't think anyone should be happy," a visibly frustrated Jack Eichel told reporters after the loss.
It seems like every time the Sabres make a mistake the puck ends up in their own net. Whether it's a turnover in the defensive zone or a player failing to pick up his defensive assignment the Sabres have played some sloppy hockey for the last few months.
"I mean we're turning it over and giving it back to them, everyone is guilty of that, myself included," Eichel added. "You can't win a game giving up seven goals, at least we're not going to win a game doing that and we should realize that."
He's not wrong.
Need more help
On Wednesday I wrote this -- With a lengthy break after the Sabres game on Friday against the Blackhawks, I'd like to see the Sabres give Ullmark the start when Chicago comes to town.
Well, the Sabres started Carter Hutton and he allowed four goals for the fourth consecutive game. Don't get me wrong -- Hutton was left out to dry on three of the four goals he allowed. That said, it would've been nice to see him bail out his team.
After the second intermission, the Sabres turned to Ullmark for the final 20 minutes. He wasn't much better, allowing two goals of his own. At the beginning of the year, both Hutton and Ullmark were lights out. Recently they've both taken steps in the wrong direction. Putting the blame squarely on the netminders would be foolish. However, six goals allowed on 30 shots isn't a good look.
Too little, too late
Despite a valiant effort in the first half of the third period, the Sabres couldn't end their week with a much-needed win. Despite trailing 1-0 after 20 minutes, I thought the Sabres were the much better team in the first frame. Then the second period happened and it was u-g-l-y. Buffalo quickly watched a 1-0 deficit turn into a 4-1 game as the second period came to an end. Chicago registered 15 shots in the second and capitalized on two odd-man rushes to essentially bury the Sabres.
In the third period, the Sabres showed life, scoring two goals to bring the Sabres within one. For a few minutes, the Sabres appeared to be right back in the game. But then the Blackhawks scored three more goals to hand the Sabres their 26th loss of the season.
Death, Taxes and South Buffalo native Patrick Kane scoring goals in KeyBank Center against the Sabres. For what seemed like the 100th time, Kane scored in his return to Buffalo on a breakaway to start the second period. With the goal, Kane tallied his 900th career point, becoming the fifth player in Blackhawks history to reach the milestone. If Kane isn't the best American-born player in NHL history he's certainly in the conversation.
South Buffalo native Patrick Kane said scoring his 900th NHL point in his hometown makes the milestone even more special. With two goals & two assists against the #Sabres, Kane now has 903 points. If he's not the best American-born NHL player ever, he's close @WKBW pic.twitter.com/fumhlcsTYU— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) February 2, 2019
Home Sweet Home?
For the most part, the Sabres have been a solid team at KeyBank Center this season. Even with their loss to Chicago on Friday, the Sabres are 14-7-3 on home ice this season. With six more games at home until the Sabres head back on the road it's imperative that they win at least four of their remaining six games on the homestand. Before the game against the Blackhawks, I said the Sabres needed nine of a possible 14 points up for grabs. Suggesting they need nine of a possible 12 points during the remainder of the trip seems unrealistic so I'll bump the point total down to eight. Anything less would be a failure.