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5 Observations: Sabres drop seventh straight, fall to Hurricanes 4-2

Posted at 10:07 PM, Mar 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-16 22:07:32-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Good news -- the Buffalo Sabres scored two goals. Bad news -- they lost their seventh consecutive game, falling to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 on Saturday evening. Jeff Skinner and Zemgus Girgensons scored the Sabres goals, snapping a three-game stretch for the Sabres without scoring a goal. With the loss, the Sabres are now 30-32-9 on the season.

5 Observations from Saturday's loss:

Downward Spiral

The 2018-2019 season has been defined by streaks.

In November it was a 10-game win streak.

Oh, how things have changed.

Three months later the Sabres have dropped their seventh consecutive game and aren't showing any signs of life. What once seemed like a promising season has turned into an embarrassing effort for a team with plenty of things that need fixing.

Offensive explosion

Excuse my sarcasm but at least the Sabres scored two goals on Saturday. Jeff Skinner got the Sabres on the board with a goal just 2:18 into the first period to give his team their first goal in their last 10 periods of hockey. Unfortunately for Skinner and the rest of his teammates, they wouldn't score again until it was already too late as Zemgus Girgensons scored with one minute to play.

Missed opportunities

Give credit to Hurricanes goaltender Curtis McElhinney for his timely saves but the Sabres missed a ton of great scoring chances to make Saturday a much closer game. In the first period, Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart had a 2-on-1 but Eichel's shot trickled wide of the net. In the second period, Alex Nylander fed a perfect pass to Connor Sheary, who whiffed on a one-timer that would've tied the game. Seconds later, Evan Rodrigues had a partial breakaway but was denied by McElhinney.

Looking on the bright side

To avoid being completely negative let's focus on one line that I thought played pretty well on Saturday evening. Despite the aforementioned missed opportunities, it was nice to see the chemistry displayed by the trio of Sheary, Rodrigues, and Nylander. For a newly formed line, the Sabres 'second' line created several chances and looked relatively responsible at their own end of the ice. With only 11 games left in the season, Nylander will need to build off his performance Saturday and start producing. If he doesn't there's a very real chance the former eighth overall pick once again starts next season in Rochester. As for Rodrigues and Sheary, they are both playing for new contracts this summer.

Need more from their goaltender

Let's not kid ourselves, the Sabres have had a lot of problems this season. However, on Saturday they once again had an underwhelming performance from their goaltender. Despite some nice saves early on, Ullmark was uninspiring on two of the four goals he allowed, letting the puck sneak behind him and past the goal line. Does he deserve the blame on Saturday? Absolutely not. That said, he could've made a few more saves to give his team a better chance to snap their losing streak.