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5 Observations: Devils stomp Sabres 6-2

5 Observations: Devils stomp Sabres 6-2
Posted at 6:43 PM, Oct 09, 2017

They say the third time's a charm, right? Apparently not for the Buffalo Sabres, who lost their third straight game on Monday, falling to the New Jersey Devils 6-2. Buffalo is now 0-2-1 to start the season as they head west for a four-game road trip. 

Five observations from Monday's ugly loss:

Doesn't get much worse than that

Quite simply, the second-period performance from the Sabres on Monday was the worst period of hockey I've watched in years. Defensively they were a mess and offensively they didn't generate any sustained pressure.

As the second period came to end, boos filled KeyBank Center, after the Sabres allowed four New Jersey goals. Ryan O'Reilly said this about the boos after the game:

This is getting ridiculous 

In three games this season the Sabres have allowed four shorthanded goals. That's as many shorthanded goals as they allowed during the entire 2016-2017 season! 

Clearly, the Sabres have some work to do on the power play, especially when the puck leaves the offensive zone. I couldn't tell you if it's missed assignments, unlucky bounces or a combination of both. I can, however, tell you that if this trend continues it's going to be a long time before the Sabres win a game. 

Wasn't the defense supposed to be better? 

In the first period the Sabres allowed two Devils goals from just outside the blue paint. On the first goal, it seemed like every Sabres player was standing around and watching while Stefan Noesen basically head-butted a puck behind Chad Johnson. Later in the first frame 2017 first overall pick Nico Hischier slammed the brakes to shed off Marco Scandella, dishing a nice pass in front of the net to Brian Gibbons who made it a 2-0. Sabres' defenseman Matt Tennyson failed to tie up Gibbons, allowing the easy goal for Gibbons. 

Things got even worse in the second period as the Sabres allowed four goals. The Devils' fourth was the ugliest of the evening, as Nathan Beaulieu gift-wrapped a goal to New Jersey. After the goal, I was honestly surprised that Beaulieu saw the ice again. It was even worse than his turnover against the Islanders on Saturday if you can imagine that. Later in the period, Beaulieu got caught flat-footed on a two-on-one as Marcus Johansson tapped in his second goal of the evening. It was a brutal night for Beaulieu, who admitted after the game that he needs to be drastically better. 

While the defensemen deserve most of the blame, they didn't get much help from the forwards in the defensive zone. All in all, it was a terrible game defensively for the Sabres, not much different than how the season has gone thus far. 

Ryan O'Reilly needs to step it up 

By his standards, it has been a rough start to the season for Sabres assistant captain Ryan O'Reilly. He'll be the first to admit that he's not playing well but that won't help the Sabres win games. 

His best chance of the night came in the dying seconds of the first period as Seth Griffith found him all alone in front of the net. O'Reilly was streaking down the ice, so he didn't have much time to do anything with the pass, aside from trying to beat Devils goaltender Corey Schneider with a one-time deflection. Schneider was up to the task making a nice save on the play O'Reilly more often than not converts on. 

So far this season only Evander Kane [four], Jason Pominville [two] and Jack Eichel [one] have scored goals for the Sabres. That has to change and O'Reilly needs to join that list. 

Lone bright spot

Not much went right for the Sabres on Monday. As a matter of fact, the only time fans were really cheering was when Evander Kane scored.

He opened the scoring in the second period, as he streaked down the ice, beating Schneider with a nice backhand-forehand move while drawing a penalty. Kane added another goal late in the third period. In three games Kane has four goals and is off to a very nice start.