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5 Observations: Penguins blank Sabres 4-0

5 Observations: Penguins blank Sabres 4-0
Posted at 9:52 PM, Dec 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-01 21:52:38-05

For the first time in franchise history, the Buffalo Sabres failed to score a goal in three consecutive games. This time the Sabres were shut out by the Pittsburgh Penguins, falling 4-0. With the loss, the basement dwelling Sabres fall to 6-16-4. 

Five observations from Friday's loss: 

The wrong side of history

Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse the Sabres were shut out by a goalie most fans googled before the start of the game. With normal starter Matt Murray injured the Penguins turned to Tristan Jarry, getting just his sixth career NHL start. 

Jarry was up to the task, turning away every shot he faced. Once again the Sabres failed to take advantage of loose pucks around the net and missed every chance they created. In 26 games this season the Sabres have scored a league-worst 55 goals, an average of just 2.1 goals per game. 

Pointless power play 

Buffalo's first shot with the man advantage came in the dying seconds of their third power play against the Penguins. Not surprisingly, Buffalo finished the night 0-for-4 with the man advantage and now haven't scored a power play goal in eight consecutive games. Yikes. 

The better team won 

More often than not the Sabres opponent is the more talented team. As expected, that was the case on Friday as the Penguins dominated the Sabres in almost every aspect of the game. As each game passes it becomes more and more obvious that the Sabres are one of, if not the worst team in the NHL. Only room for improvement, right? 

Tragic Turnovers 

Two costly turnovers quickly turned into two Penguins goals, digging the Sabres into a massive hole less than seven minutes into the game. The Sabres misfortune started with a Victor Antipin blocked shot/turnover at the point that led to a Tom Kuhnhackl breakaway. Antipin slowed Kuhnhackl down with a hook and the Penguins were awarded a penalty shot. Seconds later the Sabres were trailing 1-0 after Kuhnhackl fired a wrist shot past Lehner. 

Minutes later Sidney Crosby capitalized on a gift-wrapped pass from Rasmus Ristolainen. Seriously, this was about as bad as it gets. Ristolainen can't make that pass and has to see Crosby entering the zone with speed. 

He could've been better 

Over the years I've defended Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner on numerous occasions. My main argument has always been simple -- he keeps them in a lot of games they have no business in. That wasn't the case against the Penguins on Friday night. 

It's hard to blame Lehner for the Penguins' first two goals but he could've certainly bailed his team out on a penalty shot against a player [Kuhnhackl] who hadn't scored this season. On the second goal, I don't think Lehner deserves any blame, that belongs to Ristolainen. 

That said, he deserves almost all the blame on the Penguins third goal from Jake Guentzel. Kudos to Guentzel, who made a nifty move but Lehner needs to read that play better. He got completely beat on the wraparound, a play that he should be able to anticipate.