BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - With less than ten minutes to play in the third period, Jason Pominville scored the Sabres first goal in their last four games, ending their 232:09 scoreless streak. The Sabres lone goal wasn't enough as Buffalo dropped it's fourth straight, this time falling to the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1.
Five observations from Saturday's loss:
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened...or something like that #Sabres— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) December 3, 2017
The nightmare continues
Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse the Sabres proved us wrong. Buffalo's last place hockey team has now lost a truly remarkable 12 games since the start of November. During that same span, they have won three times.
Fans are no longer wondering if the Sabres will win, but if they will even score a goal. After this stretch that shouldn't come as a surprise.
Make a change.....a big change
It's time for Phil Housley to shake things up. No, I don't mean sitting Matt Moulson or Victor Antipin. How about sitting one of your high-paid players who has failed to produce or score during this Sabres collapse?
As for Jason Botterill, he is also reportedly open to all options. According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the Sabres are willing to move anyone not named Jack Eichel. Friedman discussed the Sabres briefly during his normal appearance on Hockey Night In Canada.
Chad Johnson struggles yet again
To be clear, the Sabres backup goaltender doesn't deserve all the blame [obviously] but he let in a few goals he'd surely like back. Of the Penguins four goals, their last tally from Phil Kessel stands out the most. Buffalo had just scored and a Johnson save could've kept the Sabres slim hopes of a comeback alive. Instead, Kessel beat Johnson with a wrist shot, similar to the goal Johnson allowed to Evgeni Malkin to start the night. Game over.
Kessel shortside, you have to make a save for your team. 4-1 Pitt.— Paul Hamilton (@pham1717) December 3, 2017
Strong net front presence
In his first game with the Sabres this season, Hudson Fasching was parked right where he needs to be --- in front of the net. His impact was most noticeable when the Sabres were on the power play as Fasching stood directly in front of Tristan Jarry, not letting the Penguins goaltender get a good look on most of the shots he faced.
That said, Fasching did nearly cost his team when he took a goaltender interference penalty in the first period. Aside from the penalty, Fasching looked comfortable and had a nice season debut. If only we could say the same about some of his teammates.
Some good news
Sometimes in life, you need to look at the positives. With the Sabres there are very few reasons to be excited but at least Casey Mittelstadt is continuing to impress at the University of Minnesota.
Mittelstadt scored once again on Saturday, his fifth goal and 14th point in 15 games this season. Later this month, Mittelstadt will return to Buffalo to represent Team USA during the IIHF World Junior Championship. Here is your formal reminder to pay close attention to the Sabres top draft pick. Remeber, hope is the only thing stronger than fear.
Down the 90 in Rochester, CJ Smith is on fire. On Saturday Smith added two assists and now has 24 points in 22 games. Evan Rodrigues has also played well and scored twice for the Amerks against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins on Saturday.
BUF prospect and rookie pro C.J. Smith has been hot of late. Now in the top 10 in AHL scoring.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) December 3, 2017