Another year has come and gone. On Sunday the Buffalo Sabres concluded their season with a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, finishing the year with a 33-37-12 record.
It was a tough season, not what we wanted. I want to thank all the Sabres fans for their support throughout this season. #EK9
— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) April 10, 2017
Five observations from Sunday's loss:
His name is Linus
Despite allowing three goals, Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark was exceptional in his first start of the season. Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin could've realistically had three or four goals on Sunday evening, but instead Ullmark was there to turn him away.
If it hadn't been for a weird bounce of Rasmus Ristolainen's skate Ullmark may have gotten a win, or at least earned his team a point. He certainly made his fair share of saves and reminded Sabres fans that he will compete for the Sabres backup job next season.
In his fourth career NHL game, Sabres winger Alex Nylander picked up his first point. It came on a breakout pass to William Carrier, who fired a perfect shot past Tampa Bay netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy in the first period.
Nylander needs to get stronger on the puck and better in his own end but he's shown flashes of brilliance in his first few games. They haven't been perfect by any stretch but every once in a while he'll make a pass that will make you go 'hmmm, that was pretty'. At the end of the day, he's still only 19-year-old. As NBA legend Michael Jordan would say: "the ceiling is the roof."
After registering only 12 (!) shots in their first two periods the Sabres turned things on in the final frame. It turned out their late push wasn't enough, but it was one of the Sabres' better periods in their last few games. Aside from a weird bounce, there was a lot to like, especially compared to the first 40 minutes of Sunday's game.
This isn't so much an observation from the game but an observation from Sabres Twitter during the game.
No, I don't think it would be a good idea to bring back Lindy Ruff. The takes on Dan Bylsma will surely be hot over the next few days, but even *IF* the Sabres move on from Disco Dan replacing him with Lindy Ruff doesn't make much sense. It didn't work the first time and sometimes you just need to move on.
Goodbye, old friends
The list goes on and on
Next season there will certainly be plenty of changes in the Sabres lineup. Just check the replies from this tweet. So much fire!!!!!!
This was the last #Sabres game for _________ ?
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) April 10, 2017
Regardless, it'll be a fun offseason with the expansion draft, entry draft, free agency and so much more. Thanks for following along, reading and watching our coverage this year. The year regular season may be done but we're just getting started.