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5 Observations: Bruins blank Sabres 4-0

5 Observations: Bruins blank Sabres 4-0
Posted at 9:44 PM, Oct 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-04 22:44:57-04

Death, taxes and the Buffalo Sabres losing their first game of the season. For the sixth straight year, the Sabres lose on opening night, this time to the Boston Bruins 4-0.  Zdeno Chara, Ryan Donato, and David Pastrnak scored for the Bruins, while Jaroslav Halak turned away all 32 shots he faced. 

5 Observations from Thursday's loss:

Couldn't have had a worse start 

After months of anticipation and optimism, the Sabres laid an egg in the first 20 minutes. Quite frankly, they looked like the 2017-2018 Sabres who finished with the worst record in the NHL. 

On Boston's first goal, Chara basically walked down the ice, firing a wrist shot past new Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton. It's not like Chara is sneaking past anyone. 

With the second goal, I cut the Sabres some slack. Boston had the man advantage and Brad Marchand, who also assisted on the Bruins first goal, made another exceptional pass. 

Regardless, this team needs to have faster starts. If they don't, they are going to lose plenty of hockey games. 

Dahlin's debut

For the most part, I thought Dahlin was one of the Sabres better players against the Bruins. In his first game, he was physical, joined the rush and even made some nice plays defensively. 

His passes were crisp, tape-to-tape and he was making good decisions, which is what you want to see out of a rookie. That said, on the Bruins third goal, Dahlin and Tage Thompson let David Pastrnak slip behind them for the easy goal. It wasn't completely his fault but somebody needed to take Pastrnak out of the play. 

There were also a few occasions when it appeared the 18-year-old appeared over anxious to try and make a play. Sometimes the best thing a defenseman can do is to make the simple, boring play. 

But there were also flashes of incredible talent. As the season moves along we'll see more and more of those flashes. Overall, it was an up and down debut for Dahlin.

Numbers don't tell the story

If you only looked at Carter Hutton's stat line after his first game with the Sabres you'd likely think he had an awful night. 

Despite allowing three goals and taking the loss, Hutton made plenty of big saves to keep the Sabres within striking distance, especially in the first two periods. 

Goals he allowed 

1 -- Shot from Chara who was all alone 15-feet from the net
2 -- Donato converts on an odd-man rush with a man advantage
3 -- Pastrnak converts from just outside the crease uncovered

Hutton didn't get much help in his Sabres debut. As far as problems are concerned, he was way down the list on Thursday evening. 

Shoot the puck

When you're playing against a backup goaltender and a team that doesn't allow scoring chances often you have to get pucks to the net. Rather than just throwing shots at Jaroslav Halak the Sabres tried to get cute. Newsflash -- this team isn't good enough to try and get cute. While it's one of the worst clichés in hockey, when you get pucks to the net, good things happen. 

Exhibit A -- Eichel on a two-on-one in the first period electing to try and feed Skinner, rather than firing a shot. I'm sure his angle wasn't great but if he hits Halak in the pads maybe Skinner can slam home the rebound. For what it's worth, that works in NHL 19 if you're looking for some tips. 

Exhibit B -- The Sabres first power play in the second period. What a disaster. It's easier said than done but feed Ristolainen and Eichel at the point and let them send lasers at the net. 

When the Sabres return to the ice on Saturday I'll be looking to see if they can simplify things and make a concerted effort to get pucks to the net. 


As Aaron Rodgers once said, relax. 

Rome wasn't built in a day. Was Thursday concerning? Certainly. Is it the end of the world? Absolutely not. 

The Sabres didn't play well. There are 82 games. If they are this bad again on Saturday then you should start to be worried. But let's give them a game to see how they respond. 

Follow Matt Bove on Twitter!

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