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5 Observations: Rangers top Sabres 3-2

Cozens provides spark to Sabres
Posted at 9:39 PM, Mar 02, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. [WKBW] — Another game, another regulation loss for the Buffalo Sabres as they fell 3-2 to the New York Rangers on Tuesday night. Sam Reinhart and Tobias Rieder scored the Sabres goals as they fall to 6-11-3 on the season.

5 observations from Tuesday's loss:

Montour struggles early, rebounds late

Brandon Montour hasn't had the best start to the 2021 season. Those struggles continued in the first period, as his turnover in the defensive zone ultimately led to the Rangers second goal of the night. As the game moved along, Montour started playing better, especially in the third period.

That said, with Miller getting sat over the weekend, you have to wonder if Krueger will considering benching Montour for a game or two based on the early struggles.

Still nothing from the stars

Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, and Jeff Skinner [more on him later], still can't find the back of the net. Without these players producing, it's going to be nearly impossible for the Sabres to win games. Sam Reinhart has been far and away the Sabres most consistent threat on offense this season but he's not getting much help.

Snakebitten Skinner

This dude just can't buy a goal. As a whole, I thought Skinner had one of his better games of the season but still, he couldn't find the back of the net. Let's be clear, I'm not giving Skinner a pass. He's the second-highest-paid player on the team and needs to start scoring. But on Tuesday he generated some chances and made some nice plays.

"I thought Jeff played his best game of the year," Kyle Okposo said after the game.

"That's the kind of push we need," head coach Ralph Krueger said. "It was really encouraging what Jeff showed us here today."

Make a save

In their first 20 games of the season, the Sabres biggest problem has been their lack of offense. On Tuesday the offense was once again lackluster, but so was the goaltending. I'll give Hutton a pass on the Rangers first goal -- it was a breakaway less than a minute into the game and that's a tough save to make.

But on the second goal, despite the turnover from Montour, it appeared Hutton hit the deck to early and took himself out of position. Then on the third New York goal, Hutton just got beat. He was screened by Montour but the goal came on a wrist shot from outside the circle.

With Linus Ullmark out for at least a month, Hutton is going to get plenty of starts and the Sabres will need him to play better if they're going to have any chance.

Workhorse from Whitehorse

If Sabres fans weren't already sold on Dylan Cozens, they will be now. In the third period, the Sabres 20-year-old rookie got into his first NHL fight and gave his team a much-needed spark. It was the highlight of the game and a glimpse at what Cozens will bring to the table for years to come.

"He is a tremendous kid, tremendous young man and he knows how to play the game," Okposo said of Cozens. "The fact that he did that speaks to the person he is and the kind of hockey player he is."

"You can see the nature leader he is in that moment," Krueger said. "You can see the light of leadership he spreads out."

Not only does Cozens have offensive upside, but he's also not afraid to stand up for himself and his teammates. Well done rookie, very well done.