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5 Observations: Hurricanes top Sabres 2-1 in OT

5 Observations: Hurricanes top Sabres 2-1 in OT
Posted at 10:06 PM, Dec 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-18 13:56:56-05

If you're a fan of boring, slow-paced hockey, then Saturday's game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres was for you!  Quite frankly, neither team deserved two points, but Carolina will gladly take them, topping the Sabres 2-1 in a shootout.

Five observations from Saturday's loss:

Slow start ultimately costs Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres are getting really good at starting games slow. On Saturday they failed to get a win after giving up the first goal of the game -- something they've done in their last two contests. In the first 20 minutes the Sabres had only eight shots on net, and while they've unquestionably had worse periods this season, it just looked like they were tired -- which to a certain extent is understandable. However, that can't be an excuse -- because the Hurricanes also played on Friday night.

Things didn't get any better for the Sabres in the second period. Luckily for Buffalo, the Hurricanes weren't impressive either -- so the Sabres didn't see Carolina's lead grow. The teams COMBINED for 10 shots in the second - which basically means that nothing happened.

Clutch Kane 

After an incredibly slow start to his season Evander Kane is starting to find the back of the net. He now has five goals -- and while that's not great -- for a while it looked like Kane would never score. Kane started the night on the Sabres fourth line with Zemgus Girgensons and Nicholas Deslauriers, but quickly worked his way up the lineup, logging more minutes than all but three forwards (Eichel, O'Reilly, Okposo).

Late in the third period Kane got the Sabres only goal of the night on a redirection in front of the net. It was nice to see him get rewarded after what I think was one of his better games of the season, but trust me, there were still some moments where Kane left me scratching my head. 

Sam Reinhart, where art thou?

It's time that former second overall pick Sam Reinhart starts contributing. In the Sabres last few games Reinhart has gone under the radar -- but that shouldn't happen with such a talented player. This season, although it's still early, Reinhart has struggled to produce. In 30 games Reinhart has 15 points (6G, 9A), but his real bugaboo has been missed opportunities.

Seriously, I don't know If I can think of a player who has missed on more chances than Reinhart. The good news -- he's getting the chances and eventually they'll start going in. The bad news -- Reinhart is on pace to score 16 goals this season. Yikes.

Bland Bogosian

With 13 minutes left in the third period Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian pasted Hurricanes forward Viktor Stalberg to the boards, giving the blue and gold a much needed spark. The hit came just seconds after a nice shift by Bogosian, where he got a shot on net, creating a pretty good scoring chance.

Without question Bogosian got better as the game progressed -- but that may not be saying much after his slow start. In the first period Bogosian whiffed while trying to handle a puck in the Sabres zone, leaving Hurricanes forward Joakim Nordstrom basically all alone with nothing but net. Nordstrom didn't miss. I thought Bogosian looked average in his return, but over time he'll prove to be one of the Sabres steadiest defenders. 

Nilsson impresses yet again

Anders Nilsson only faced 22 shots -- but he made some gorgeous saves to keep the Sabres within striking distance. That shouldn't come as a surprise -- when called upon I've really liked Nilsson's game. While I'm not ready to say that I think Nilsson should be the starting goaltneder, I would like to see him in between the pipes more often.