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5 Observations: Ducks take down Sabres 4-3 in OT

5 Observations: Ducks take down Sabres 4-3 in OT
Posted at 10:30 PM, Feb 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-06 22:34:19-05

With 15 seconds on the clock, Ryan O'Reilly gave fans a glimmer of hope, tying the game at three and forcing overtime. But as has been the case so many times this season, overtime ended in a loss as the Ducks edged the Sabres 4-3 thanks to a wicked wrister from Adam Henrique.  

Five observations from Tuesday's loss: 


When you're bad you usually don't get bounces in your favor. That was on display in the third period when the Ducks took the lead on a Ryan O'Reilly shot. Yes, you read that right, so let's explain what exactly happened. 

After a barrage of Ducks pressure around the Sabres net, Ryan O'Reilly did what he was supposed to do and attempted to clear the puck behind the net. Instead, his clearing attempt hit Lehner's stick and deflected into the Sabres own net, giving the Ducks a 3-1 lead. 

It was certainly a messy play but it's hard to put the blame squarely on O'Reilly or Lehner. It was a pretty weird play and one that seems to always go against the struggling team. It has been said that the best teams make their own luck. Maybe that means the worst teams make their own misfortune? 

But despite the setback, how fitting that O'Reilly was the guy to tie the game and send things into overtime. As far as his confidence is concerned, you have to believe that he felt a weight lifted off his shoulders with his game-tying goal. If there are any positives to be taken from Tuesday's loss it should be that the Sabres battled back, something they haven't done very often this season. 

Consistently inconsistent 

You could argue that Robin Lehner has been the Sabres best player these last two weeks. On Tuesday he was fine until overtime when he let in a goal he'd surely like back. From what it looked like, Lehner didn't have much traffic in front of him, he just got beat by a great shot. 

Miller returns (again) 

It's hard to believe that it has been almost been four years since Ryan Miller was traded to the St. Louis Blues. It's even harder to believe that during that span, Tuesday was only Miller's second start in Buffalo since 2014. 

Just minutes into his second game back in Buffalo, Miller let in a softie as Zemgus Girgensons banked a shorthanded goal off his back and into the net.  For as great as Miller was with the Sabres, every once in a while he'd let in one of those weird goals he probably should've had. Minutes later he would make a ridiculous save and everyone would forget about the mistake. 

After the Girgensons' goal, Miller wasn't tested much as the Sabres had their predictable second-period collapse. In the third the Sabres applied some nice pressure and eventually Miller cracked with 15 seconds left, allowing the game tying goal. That said, he had a solid night and probably had no chance on two of the three Sabres goals. 

You can see his full post game comments in the video attached above. 

Nice goal

In the dying minutes of the second period, Jack Eichel snapped his four-game scoring skid when Sam Reinhart sent him a perfect pass in front of the net. Eichel made no mistake, firing his shot into a wide-open net to give the Sabres a very brief 2-1 lead. 

With his goal and assist, Eichel now has 51 points in 53 games this season. Credit where credit is due -- this was a great play and display of vision by Reinhart.

McCabe leaves early 

After playing just one-period defenseman Jake McCabe went to the Sabres locker room and never returned. As the first period was coming to an end McCabe took what appeared to be a pretty hard hit from Ryan Getzlaf that lead to some shoving behind the Sabres net. 

Following Tuesday's game Sabres head coach Phil Housley didn't get into any specifics, only telling reporters that McCabe still needs to be evaluated.