Thursday served as a reality check for the Buffalo Sabres, falling to the Colorado Avalanche 6-1 as they get ready to head out West for a five-game road trip. With the loss, the Sabres finish their four-game homestand to start the season 2-2.
5 Observations from Thursday's loss:
Power play prowess
Colorado has scored a power-play goal in every game they've played this season. On Thursday they found the back of the net twice with the man advantage, jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first period.
On the first penalty, Jake McCabe went to the box for hooking but admittedly, it was a good penalty. If he didn't hook his opponent, Colorado would've likely scored. Turns out, the Avs scored anyway. Tyson Jost was parked in front of the net, tipping in a shot from Tyson Barrie.
Minutes later, Carter Hutton took a tripping penalty as Carl Soderberg tried to wrap around the back of the net. Once again the Avs capitalized, this time as Colin Wilson fired home a shot from between the faceoff circles.
At the end of the day, the Sabres need to be more disciplined and not take those early penalties. They fell behind and could never catch up.
No puck luck
One of the biggest reasons the Sabres couldn't catch up was their lack of success on the power play, finishing 0-for-7 on the night. Leading into the game against the Avs, the Sabres had the sixth best power play in the league [37.5%]. But against the Avs, despite oodles of chances, the Sabres couldn't solve Semyon Varlamov.
Buffalo thought they scored in the final minutes of the first frame, but Kyle Okposo had a goal taken away on a goaltender interference call. Seconds later, Sam Reinhart cranked a shot off the post. The chances were there, the Sabres just couldn't convert.
First of many
It will be overlooked because of the outcome but Rasmus Dahlin picked up his first NHL point on Nathan Beaulieu's second-period goal. Minutes later, Dahlin flipped a Colorado skater with a wicked hip check. It has only been four games but Dahlin continues to impress. He's poised defensively and jumps into the rush at the right times. Watching the 18-year-old continue to develop is going to be fun for years to come.
It's time for some Ullmark
Despite what the score indicates, Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton had another solid evening, at least in my opinion. He made some nice saves to keep the Sabres within striking distance early and was beat by a redirection and three shots where his teammates failed to give him any help. That said, I'd imagine Linus Ullmark gets his first start of the season early in the Sabres trip out West. Hutton has been solid but eventually, the Sabres need to see what Ullmark brings to the table. Saturday against Arizona seems like a good opportunity to me.
No need to panic
Buffalo would've loved to head out West with three-straight wins but Thursday's game got away from them pretty quickly after they fell behind 3-0 in the first period. While it wasn't the outcome the Sabres were hoping for, there is no need to panic. While 2-2 on home ice isn't spectacular, it's certainly better than the start this team has had in years past.