BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Sloppy mistakes were the name of the game for the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, who dropped their eighth consecutive game to the Carolina Hurricanes 6-5 in overtime. With the loss, the Sabres slip to 26-20-7 on the season and fall one point behind the Hurricanes [60 points] in the playoff race.
5 Observations from Thursday's loss:
With their loss on Thursday, the Sabres have dropped eight straight games to the Hurricanes, a team that hasn't made the playoffs in nine years.
"We should win that game, we gave them easy ones, five easy ones," Evan Rodrigues said after the game.
"I didn't play well tonight and it starts with me, I need to be better," Jack Eichel added.
How fixable are they?
After the game, Sabres head coach Phil Housley said multiple times that the mistakes the Sabres have been making are fixable. So why hasn't that happened?
It's not like we're a month into the season. With less than two months left on the schedule, the Sabres can't afford to make these mistakes but yet they keep happening. Good grief.
This has been a problem for the Sabres since their win-streak ended in November. When the Sabres make a mistake, the puck usually ends up in the back of their own net. Once again, that happened against the Hurricanes. Don't get me wrong, that usually happens when a mistake is made but it seems like every time the Sabres turn the puck over or fail to pick up a defensive assignment they give up a goal.
In the first period, Carolina opened the scoring with a shot from an uncovered Justin Faulk. No, not the Justin *Falk* who used to play for the Sabres. Somehow, the Canes defenseman was allowed to join the rush without anybody knowing. Jeff Skinner attempted to get in the way of the shot but it was too late and the Sabres were trailing just four minutes into the game.
The second period didn't start much, as the Sabres saw Carolina's lead double when Teuvo Teravainen scored 1:37 into the middle frame. Seconds earlier, Marco Scandella turned the puck over to allow Carolina to continue cycling the puck in the offensive zone. After some weird bounces, the puck landed just outside of the crease and Teravainen was there to put it home.
I wanted to hear this again before writing it. Sabres’ Sam Reinhart: “We can’t expect to win hockey games 6-5, 7-6. We need more from our goalies and we need it from the start of hockey games. It’s frustrating.”— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) February 8, 2019
Hurricanes forward Greg McKegg was the beneficiary of the Sabres sloppy play in the third period as he tapped the puck into a wide-open net. McKegg snuck behind three different Sabres skaters and went completely unnoticed until the damage had been done. Side note, how awesome of a name is Greg McKegg?
The Hurricanes fourth goal was much of the same, as once again an uncovered Brock McGinn found the back of the net. Neither Rasmus Dahlin or Jack Eichel tied up McGinn, who scored maybe the easiest goal of his NHL career.
Red Hot Rodrigues
Evan Rodrigues is on fire. In the second period, he beat Curtis McElhinney for the Sabres first goal of the evening and Rodrigues' sixth in the last eight games. It wasn't too long ago when Rodrigues was a healthy scratch, watching games from the press box.
Chances are he'll cool off in the near future but there is no denying how important Rodrigues is to his team. He scores goals, logs minutes on the power play and penalty kill while continuously moving up and down the lineup. Regardless of what happens in the next 29 games, Rodrigues will be getting a hefty raise [$650K salary right now]. In the summer he'll become a restricted free agent and will need to be signed to a new deal.
"I've got to hit the net there, you know?" a visibly frustrated Eichel said about his errant shot in overtime that ultimately led to the game-winning goal from Teravainen. "That one is on me."
Trust me, I'm not putting all the blame on Eichel because he made the right decision shooting the puck the play just wasn't executed properly. Piling it on the best player because his shot went wide seems a tad overboard. My biggest concern in overtime was how long Dahlin was on the ice and how he had no gas left in the tank to try and make things more difficult for Teravainen.