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5 Observations: Oilers topple Sabres 7-2

Posted at 11:51 PM, Jan 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-15 11:55:48-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — In one word, Monday's effort from the Buffalo Sabres was embarrassing. After jumping out to an early 1-0 lead the Sabres fell to the Edmonton Oilers 7-2, dropping their third straight game.

Five observations from Monday's loss:

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

If you looked at just the scoring chances and shots on goal you probably wouldn't think this game would've played out the way it did. But costly mistakes and turnovers ultimately cost the Sabres two points against the Oilers and put them even farther behind the teams currently sitting in a playoff spot. The Sabres have had some stinkers this season and Monday against the average Oilers should be pretty high on that list, if not at the top.

Costly mistakes

Over the years Marco Scandella has proven to be a reliable and versatile defender. But in the first three months of the season, the Sabres defenseman has committed several costly mistakes and it might finally be time to keep him out of the lineup.

On Monday Scandella's most egregious mistake came in the second period when he sent a perfect pass to Oilers forward Milan Lucic. I'd imagine Scandella whiffed on his attempted pass across the ice. But to be quite frank, I have no idea what Scandella was thinking. Lucic made no mistake from in close and an already ugly game became that much worse.

If this was Scandella's first big mistake I'd understand if the veteran was given a pass. But it's not and it's time that he's scratched. Pilut paid the price after he had a terrible period against the Lightning on Saturday. Scandella should be given the same punishment after a rough outing against the Oilers.

Not to be outdone

To criticize just Scandella wouldn't be fair, especially on a night when the Sabres allowed seven goals. His partner Nathan Beaulieu didn't give him much help and minute monster Rasmus Ristolainen made just as costly of a mistake as Scandella. Like the mistake from his fellow defender, it cost the Sabres a goal.

On the first shift of the second period, Ristolainen whiffed on a shot at the point and gave Connor McDavid, the best player in the world, a clear cut breakaway. I bet what happened next wasn't a surprise.

Unlike Scandella, Ristolainen shouldn't [and won't] be sat for his bugaboos on Monday evening. More often than, he's been one of the Sabres best defenders.

No help from his friends

Could Carter Hutton have bailed the Sabres out of some of the sticky situations early in the game? Absolutely.

Did he? Not exactly.

But even after allowing five goals, I'm not ready to put the blame squarely on him. Too often fans blame the goaltenders when the Sabres lose. Neither Hutton or Ullmark was great against the Oilers but the Sabres had a laundry list of issues.

Bitter Bove

If you've read these posts before you probably know I'm a glass-half-full kind of guy. On Monday there weren't many [or really any] reasons to be optimistic as the Sabres continue to crumble. After a goal from Evan Rodrigues, the Sabres managed to narrow the margin to one goal after 20 minutes. But like they did after Conor Sheary's goal in the first period, the Sabres once again collapsed, allowing two more goals in the first five minutes of the second period. All of a sudden a 3-2 deficit became an insurmountable 5-2 deficit. In the third period, nothing changed. The Sabres once again allowed two more goals in the first minutes and just like it was 7-2. That can't happen.

Is it time to panic? Not yet. But get back to me on Friday after the next two games on the road trip.