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5 Observations: Sabres fall to Blues 4-1

5 Observations: Sabres fall to Blues 4-1
Posted at 11:44 PM, Nov 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-15 23:49:56-05

The Buffalo Sabres (5-7-4) have now lost five straight, falling to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday 4-1.  Buffalo got things going early with a Sam Reinhart power play goal but just couldn't find the back of the net again. Five observations from Tuesday's loss:

Sabres can't buy a goal

The Sabres now have ten goals in their last eight games, averaging an atrocious 1.25 goals per game. 

Let that sink in for a moment.

Tuesday the Sabres were able to score early on, but then just couldn't beat Blues goaltender Jake Allen. Their two best chances came on shots that hit the post in the third period. It was almost like the scene in the "Mighty Ducks" when Coach Bombay tells Charlie Conway how he missed scoring by a quarter of an inch. In their last few games the Sabres have been good at missing by a quarter of an inch. Their scoring woes are just getting worse and worse -- and if it doesn't get better any time soon, the Sabres could be in some serious trouble. 

Robin Lehner starts strong

I don't know if Sabres fans appreciate how good Robin Lehner has been this year, and early on Tuesday he didn't disappoint. His impressive play started early, absolutely robbing Blues forward Robby Fabbri from the slot with a gorgeous glove save. A few minutes later Fabbri got his revenge, beating Lehner on a Blues power play. However, a weird bounce in front left Lehner basically helpless. Lehner picked up where he left off in the second, bailing the Sabres out on a 2-on-1 after a very sloppy Buffalo change.

The third period was a different story, at least early on. In the first two minutes, the Blues found the back of the net twice, giving them a two-goal lead the Sabres weren't able to overcome. After the game, a few fans voiced their displeasure with Lehner– but I don't agree with that sentiment at all. The Sabres have had very solid goaltending this season, and quite frankly, they haven't received any help. Good teams bail out their goalies when they have "off" nights and so far this season, the Sabres have yet to do that.

Casey Nelson struggles

In the preseason, I really liked Nelson's game. That being said, on Tuesday he struggled and looked like he could use some seasoning in the AHL. In the first two periods, Nelson and fellow Rochester call-up Justin Falk looked sloppy in their own zone, but they survived. In the third period, that changed. Nelson was burned by Kyle Brodziak, who was able to redirect one by Lehner. Nelson was a step behind a streaking Brodziak, but didn't even tie him up while he was blazing to the net. Nelson needs to stop that pass from getting past him at all costs. 

Reinhart reawakening….kind of

The good

Sam Reinhart found the back of the net just minutes into the game, giving the Sabres the early 1-0 lead. Reinhart was parked in front of the net, a spot where he's done a lot of damage the last few seasons. Before Tuesday, Reinhart had only two goals and six points in 15 games played. While his goal against the Blues is certainly a step in the right direction, he still needs to improve his play offensively with the absence of Jack Eichel and Ryan O'Reilly.

The bad
Reinhart got burned in the third period on a Blues rush, eventually leading to an easy go-ahead goal for Jaden Schwartz. So far this season, Reinhart has been pretty responsibly in his own end, but his mistake on St. Louis' second goal cost the Sabres big time.

Make Hockey Fun Again

For a relatively low-scoring game, Tuesday's contest between the Blues and Sabres was surprisingly entertaining. Hockey games often become a little dull when players can't find the back of the net, but Tuesday was an exception. The last few minutes of the first period was some of the most entertaining hockey I've seen all season. Play was flying in both directions and defense was basically thrown out the window, forcing both goalies to stand on their heads. 

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