For the first time when wearing their Winter Classic jerseys, the Buffalo Sabres failed to earn at least one point, falling to the Washington Capitals 3-2. Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored for the Capitals, who move into first place in the Metropolitan division. Meanwhile, the Sabres remain at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a 17-32-11 record.
Five observations from Monday's loss:
Flat for 40
How many times this season has Phil Housley said after a loss that they didn't get enough pucks to the net. The same can be said for Monday's matinee as they failed to put much pressure on Capitals backup Philip Grubauer in the first 40 minutes.
Heading into the game, Grubauer had only a 5-7-3 record with an uninspiring 2.65 goals against average. Rather than making him work and make some tough saves, the Sabres once again didn't do a good enough job generating quality scoring chances. Aside from a deflection that hit the post early in the second period, the Sabres failed to put any real pressure on Grubauer until the third period. Kyle Okposo eventually beat Grubauer with a redirection in the third period but by the time of their offensive surge, it was already too late. Too little, too late for the Sabres. Sound familiar?
Evander Kane is likely in his last week with the Sabres. The same can't be said for Jason Pominville. But the two players have something in common -- It has been an abysmal few months after they both jumped out to solid starts. Kane had a pretty good game while Pominville blended in yet again.
Evander Kane: "I'm going to play as hard as I can until I'm moved and when that happens we'll worry about it," #Sabres @WKBW pic.twitter.com/MqwC2by4c2
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) February 19, 2018
Kane started the year on an absolute tear but has since cooled down at a startling rate. Since December 22, [24 games] Kane has only six points [4G, 2A] with his goal in the dying seconds on Monday. In the Sabres' first 35 games Kane had 33 points.
Pominville, like Kane, jumped out to a relatively fast start with six goals in the Sabres first 12 games. He has only three in his last 47 games and only one since December 10.
Johnson keeps the Sabres within striking distance
Despite picking up another loss, Chad Johnson had a solid afternoon while trying to contain the Capitals' high powered offense. He did everything he could in the first 40 minutes to keep the Caps at bay, eventually cracking when Ovechkin put a puck past him thanks to a gorgeous redirection. Johnson wasn't perfect but surely wasn't the reason the Sabres lost for the 43rd time this season.
Nothing in life is free
We have tickets for today's Sabres game. We've tried giving them to our vendors, customers, and friends. No one wants them.
So, we turn to you, Twitter. We'll actually pay you $10 to take our two seats in the 200 level and a pass for the parking ramp.
First response gets them. pic.twitter.com/BELzOxXQ16
— Community Beer Works (@communitybeer) February 19, 2018
Unless, of course, you're Jameson Hampton and Nicole Corsaro. The two friends lucked out thanks to a tweet from Buffalo brewery Community Beer Works.
The West Side brewery tweeted this morning that they had a pair of tickets that nobody wanted. Not their vendors, not their customers, not even their friends. In an effort to put the tickets to good use they posted that they would actually pay somebody $10 to take their two tickets in the 200 level, along with a parking mass for good measure.
Thanks for the Sabres tickets, @communitybeer!!!! We're having a great time!! #onebuffalo pic.twitter.com/629V1N7wex
— jameson, son of jame (@jameybash) February 19, 2018
Hampton was the first to respond and graciously accepted the tickets but declined to take the money because free tickets were generous enough! Believe it or not, Nicole and I grew up in the same neighborhood and worked together because everyone in Western New York seems to somehow know everyone else!
What's cooler than being cool? Ice cold!
I can't hear you!
Nothing quite like a little André 3000 to spice up a Monday. After posting four or more goals in four consecutive games the Sabres offense has gone ice cold, scoring four times in their previous two games. To the surprise of very few, their four goals led to two losses.