Despite a late push, the Buffalo Sabres couldn't mount a comeback, falling to the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Five observations from Tuesday's loss:
Sam the grocery stick
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) March 29, 2017
In hockey, a player who doesn't get any ice time but separates the forwards and defensemen on the bench is often called a grocery stick.
The Sabres third leading scorer, Sam Reinhart, didn't touch the ice on Tuesday night. Reinhart was on the bench and dressed, he just didn't get any playing time. Zero, zip, zilch, nada.
Surely this isn't based off ability, he brings a lot more to the table than some of his counterparts, he just didn't play.
So what was up?
After the game Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma told reporters that Reinhart was benched because he violated a team policy. Reinhart was not available for comment after the game.
Rodrigues giveth, Rodrigues taketh
In the first period, a careless Evan Rodrigues turnover led to Columbus' first goal of the evening. Rodrigues tried sweeping a rebound out of the Sabres zone, but it went right to Blue Jackets defender Kyle Quincey, who fired a slapshot into the Sabres net making it 1-0 Columbus.
Rodrigues responded in the second period on the power play, connecting on a perfect one-timer from Ryan O'Reilly, cutting the Blue Jackets lead in half [2-1]. The goal is Rodrigues' fourth of the season.
Aside from a few turnover I've really liked Rodrigues game so far this season. I can see him playing down the middle on the Sabres fourth line next season if he continues to provide consistent two-way play.
Shoot to score
Sometimes teams just run into a hot goaltender. The Sabres lack of offensive production didn't come from an absence of shots, but rather stellar play from Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. BOB as he's often called finished with 39 saves, turning away all but one shot.
Bobrovsky was the best player on the ice tonight. There's a reason he's one of the best goalies in the world.
Nilsson looking nifty
Not to be outdone, Anders Nilsson bounced back after allowing two first period goals to play an all-around solid game. He finished the evening with 27 saves on 29 shots.
"Overall I felt pretty good," Nilsson told WGR 550 after the game. "Maybe the second goal is a save I normally make, I didn't, but I think we played well as a team."
As of late, goaltending has been very consistent for the Sabres. There is a lot to like about both Nilsson and Robin Lehner.
Especially special special teams
There wasn't a whole lot to like about Tuesday's game but Buffalo's special teams certainly stood out. The Sabres power play struck once again, converting on one of their two attempts. Buffalo has now converted seven of their last ten man-advantage attempts.
Equally as impressive, at least on Tuesday, was the Sabres penalty kill, finishing a perfect 3-for-3.