Before Friday's Buffalo Sabres game defenseman Josh Gorges told reporters "we need to do whatever it takes to get two points." Instead, the Sabres played one of their worst games of the season, falling to the New York Islanders 5-1. Five observations from Friday's loss:
I know how you kids like em, extra sloppy
This was arguably the worst I've seen the Sabres play this season. There really wasn't a whole lot to like. On Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes the Sabres looked flat. Then things somehow got worse on Friday, and they looked even slower and sloppier. They looked like a team who had played three games in four nights, but that can't be an excuse -- especially against average teams like the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers.
Playing from behind
#Sabres are good at starting games. They've now allowed the first goal in seven straight. K.
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) December 24, 2016
I'm not kidding, I could basically copy and past what I wrote yesterday about the Sabres and their slow starts and use it again. The Sabres have now gone SEVEN games without scoring a first period goal. They've also given up the first goal in each of their last seven games. How are you supposed to turn things around when basically playing from behind every game? The Sabres need to start coming out of the gate faster -- obviously what they're doing isn't working.
Shutting down the Stars
When players like Jack Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo don't score the Sabres are in trouble. Big trouble. Their lack of secondary scoring is very apparent and while their stars have certainly slowed down, the Sabres need some help from their third and fourth line guys. That being said -- Eichel doesn't have a point in five games, O'Reilly has struggled compared to his standards and Okposo, the Sabres second leading scorer, has only one point in his last five games.
Look at the picture
Strome goal pic.twitter.com/uSjGG0k6hI
— Stephanie (@myregularface) December 24, 2016
This play drove me crazy. The Sabres were down 1-0 in the second period and Ryan Strome simply out-muscled Zach Bogosian to give the Islanders a 2-0 lead. It looked like Bogosian and Sam Reinhart coasted back, allowing Strome to tap in the rebound on his own shot. Yes, Nilsson needs to do a better job on this shot, but a little help from his teammates wouldn't hurt. It's just like Coach Orion from D3: The Mighty Ducks always said, clean up the garbage and play defense with confidence. Hoorah!
Friday was probably Nilsson's weakest game this season. To his credit, he didn't get a ton of help, but he also let in a few goals you would like to see him stop. Goalies are allowed to have bad games, and usually good teams can bail their goalies out every once in a while, but that didn't happen Friday. Both Nilsson and Lehner have been very good this season -- their four game losing streak should not be put on them.
Happy Holidays to you and yours
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