The Buffalo Sabres will finish with fewer points this season than they did last year. That became official on Saturday evening when the Florida Panthers topped the Sabres 3-0.
Last season the #Sabres finished the year with 81 points. The most they could finish with this season is 80. Ouch.
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) April 9, 2017
Five observations from Saturday's game:
Just kidding! Kudos to you if you stayed tuned for the entire game because not a whole lot happened. For my money, this may have been the most uneventful game of the season.
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, the Panthers struck first on a goal Sabres netminder Robin Lehner would certainly like back. Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad snuck a wrist shot through Lehner's arm and just like that it was 1-0.
Jonathan Huberdeau added two more goals to extend the Flordia lead to 3-0.
Not doing their coach any favors
Prepare yourselves for a lot of speculation over the next few days about Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma. After a lackluster performance on Saturday, his team certainly didn't do him any favors.
Earlier in the week, we posted a Twitter poll (which of course is the most accurate way to get a gauge on anything) and 79% of voters thought that the Sabres should make a coaching change. Whether or not that happens, of course, remains to be seen but it will undoubtedly be an interesting few days.
Meet Mr. Malone
It was certainly a small sample size but West Seneca native Sean Malone had a fairly sound NHL debut. The 21-year-old played just about 12 minutes but managed to create a few nice chances in his limited role. Overall it was a good start for the former Harvard standout. Did you know former Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Harvard?
Anyone else think Sean Malone looks exactly like Max Domi?
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) April 8, 2017
Failure to launch
When the third period began the Sabres were only down 2-0. Unfortunately for the blue and gold, they were unable to really generate any offense and were outshot 15-7 in the final frame. Flordia capitalized on a few flukey goals, but usually, when you get pucks to the net you're more likely to get those lucky bounces.
??| •.•) The draft lottery though
I AM NOT SUGGESTING LOSING THIS GAME WAS A GOOD THING. However, the Sabres will likely have a better shot at winning the draft lottery because of Saturday's loss. If nothing else, they'll have a better shot at drafting a position or two lower than they might have with a win. For your convenience, here's the link to the draft lottery simulator. Deja vu all over again, am I right?