BUFFALO, N.Y. [WKBW] — With only 20 minutes left to play the Buffalo Sabres were in the perfect position to win their first game in more than a month as they led the Flyers 3-0. In the third period, the Sabres collapsed, allowing three Flyers goals to send the game to overtime. Just 42 seconds into overtime Ivan Provorov scored the game-winner for the Flyers, handing the Sabres their 18th consecutive loss.
5 Observations from Monday's loss:
Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour called Monday's effort embarrassing.
"It's embarrassing, the whole stretch is embarrassing," Montour said.
"We had a panic attack," Rasmus Dahlin added. "We haven't been in this situation and we panicked." [More on that later].
For a team that hasn't won since February 23, it's hard to wonder how things can get any worse. Then you watch the team blow a 3-0 lead in the third period and you wonder if they'll ever win again. For those keeping tabs at home, that's now 18 games without a win for the Sabres. The "losing streak" will technically come to an end because the Sabres earned a point on Monday, but that doesn't make this loss any less embarrassing.
A panic attack?
How does an NHL team have a panic attack like Dahlin alluded to?
"We made mistakes...simple mistakes....I wouldn't call it a panic," interim coach Don Granato said. "We made bad decisions and we made some mistakes under pressure. I wouldn't say we panicked, that is going a little too far. We didn't retreat, we stayed active and aggressive, we just didn't make the right decisions and maybe we got a little excited and made the wrong decisions."
Whether they panicked or not, it was just a terrible ending for the Sabres. Granato said he didn't say much to the team after the game because he wants them to try and reflect on what went wrong.
Without sounding like the guy five Labatt's deep in section 316, the Sabres still need to shoot more. I always roll my eyes when I hear players talking about "getting pucks to the net" but there is some truth to the cliche. On way too many occasions Monday night the Sabres passed up shots to try and force passes. This was especially evident in the third period as the Sabres were falling apart.
Listen, I get it, they're trying to generate a quality scoring chance. But this team hasn't won in more than a month. Just throw a shot on net and hope for a weird rebound or a flukey goal. Look at the Flyers' third goal that tied the game. It took a weird bounce with traffic in front and it went in.
Cozens Leaves Early
In a year full of major disappointments, Dylan Cozens has been a bright spot. Unfortunately for the Sabres, he exited Monday's game early after taking a hit against the boards in the first period.
The Sabres rookie did not return to the game after taking the hit where you can see his left shoulder go hard into the boards. Cozens already missed several games earlier in March due to an "upper-body injury" that was believed to be a concussion.
For the sake of the Sabres and Cozens' development, getting him back in the lineup to continue his growth is crucial for the team. Beyond this season, Cozens will be one of the most important Sabres as the team looks to eventually turn into a competitive squad. Granato had no update on Cozens following the game. When asked if he would miss an extended about of time Granato responded "I hope not".
Two more weeks
We are now less than two weeks from the NHL trade deadline. Surely there will be more moves as the Sabres try to put together a team that can compete down the road. With nothing to play for in 2021, Kevyn Adams should be a busy man. Let the rumors swirl!