5 Observations: Sabres fall 4-3 in OT to Flames

5 Observations: Sabres fall 4-3 in OT to Flames
Posted at 12:25 AM, Oct 19, 2016

The Buffalo Sabres squandered the lead on three separate occasions Tuesday night, falling to the Calgary Flames 4-3 in overtime. Buffalo had a strong start in the first ten minutes of the game – but cooled off as the game went on.

Five observations from Tuesday’s loss:

Calgary wins game with controversial overtime goal

As overtime was drawing to an end Sabres forward Sam Reinhart had the puck behind Buffalo’s net. After maintaining possession for a few seconds, he was plastered into the boards, losing possession of the puck. Ten seconds later, Flames forward Sean Monahan found the back of the net on a perfect pass from Johnny Gaudreau, securing the win for Calgary. After the game Sabres goalie Robin Lehner told reporters that a penalty absolutely should have been called on the Reinhart hit. Lehner added that players are evaluated on their performance, and referees should be too when they blow a call like that. Dan Bylsma was visibly livid after the goal was scored, screaming for a penalty.

Here’s my take:
It should have been a penalty. Reinhart was two-handed in the numbers and tumbled to the ice. Reinhart should have made a better play and needs to expect contact – but, regardless, that’s a penalty.

The Curious Case of Marcus Foligno
Marcus Foligno gave the Sabres the lead in the third period on a beautiful individual effort, dangling a defender at the point and firing a wrist shot past former Sabres goaltender Chad Johnson. A few minutes before, Foligno made a bad pass in Buffalo’s end, leading to Calgary’s second goal. After the turnover, Foligno was clearly frustrated because his pass went off a referee's skate and right to Michael Ferland, who eventually scored. Aside from the turnover, Foligno had a good game – drawing several key penalties... one of which lead to a goal.

Lehner lets in a softie
Once again it was an up and down day for Robin Lehner, but the low point was Calgary’s third goal scored by Matthew Tkachuk. It was a goal Lehner clearly wanted back, after it snuck in under his blocker short side just a minute after the Sabres took the lead. Lehner stopped 30 of the 34 shots he faced – but it wasn’t enough. Even good goalies let in goals they shouldn’t once in a while. Ryan Miller did it all the time, but early in the season, there’s been at least one goal in each game Lehner has probably wanted back. Dan Bylsma wouldn’t commit to a firm yes to getting the nod in Vancouver, but he says Anders Nilsson will get a start soon.

Ryan O’Reilly continues to impress
Sunday against the Oilers O’Reilly had four points. Tuesday, O’Reilly only had one (goal) but still created several chances and was the Sabres all-around best player. O’Reilly’s start is truly impressive and if the Sabres are going to compete in games without Jack Eichel and Evander Kane, he needs to be their best player.

Stupid whistle nonsense:
Calgary scored their first goal of the night after the referee blew his whistle and called the play dead. So, how does that make sense? Essentially, the referee said that he blew the whistle early and the goal should have actually counted.  But here’s the thing: that’s a mistake by the ref, so once the whistle is blown the play should be dead. The referee did in fact blow the whistle earlier than it should have been blown, but that’s on them. I understand that’s not the way the rule works, but like many rules in hockey, it’s stupid.

The Sabres finish their Western Canada road trip Thursday with a meeting in Vancouver. Puck drop is at 10 p.m.

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