5 Observations: Sabres fall to Bruins 2-1

Posted at 6:05 PM, Dec 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-03 18:13:48-05

The Buffalo Sabres couldn't make up for a slow start -- dropping their afternoon matchup with the Boston Bruins 2-1. The Sabres registered only three shots in the first period, but still managed to outshoot the Bruins 36-33, only to find the back of the net once.

Five observations from Saturday's loss: 

SLOW start

If you’re a fan of slow-paced and boring hockey than you loved the beginning of Saturday’s matinee between the Sabres and Bruins. Neither team was able to generate consistent scoring chances and don’t even get me started on the sloppy passing.

The Sabres were competitive in the opening minutes of the game, but basically were sleep walking through the remainder of the first period. They finished with only three shots, all of which came early in the period. The team improved in the second, but aside from a disallowed Brian Gionta goal, none of the Sabres 15 shots really seemed like they had a chance of beating Bruins goaltender Tukka Rask. The Sabres were able to apply pressure on the Bruins in the third, but couldn’t overcome a two goal deficit.

Golden Guhle

The 19-year-old looked calm, cool and collected in his first NHL game. Quite frankly, you could argue that Guhle was the Sabres most dynamic defender Saturday afternoon. Young defenseman often panic when the puck is on their stick — but we didn’t see that with Guhle in his NHL debut.

“First couple shifts not really sure what to expect ,” Guhle said after the game. “It’s a lot like preseason really. I’ve played in tons of preseason games so I just kept working at it and kept trying to get better every shift.”

Guhle finished the night with four shots, with one of his best plays coming on the aforementioned disallowed Gionta goal. Guhle took a cross-ice pass at the point, and fired a quick wrister through traffic on net. The shot handcuffed Rask, and the rebound sat in front of the net. Gionta had his stick tied up by the Bruins defender, but if he didn’t, the Sabres captain could’ve tapped in the loose puck, rather than kicking it in.

Another outstanding play came on a rush when the Sabres were down in the third. Guhle exploded like a rocket out of the Sabres own end, and fired a nice shot that bounced off Rask’s shoulder.

“He certainly wasn’t shy about using his skating and jumping into the play,” Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said. “You know he did that in the second period, did that in the third period, and shot the puck — I think he had six shot attempts from the blue line, he was good in the game.”

Overall, I really liked Guhle’s first game — no glaring mistakes and solid play in both ends — That’s definitely a good sign.

Kane finally finds the back of the net

Evander Kane once again had a game filled with up and downs, but in the third he played one of his best periods of hockey this season, and he was rewarded for it.

“I was just in the right area there and went in,” Kane told reporters after the game. “I mean I was going through a slump…I obviously feel like I have an opportunity to score every game so like I said it was just nice to get it this afternoon.”

Kane heating up could be just what the Sabres need — and while one goal isn’t ‘heating up’ — it’s at least a start.

Gorges “going to be out a little bit”

That’s all we know about Josh Gorges and his injury right now. Before the game Bylsma said he would elaborate on Gorges’ injury after the game but did say the defenseman was “going to be out a little bit.”

After the game Bylsma said he still needed to talk to the doctors about Gorges and couldn’t provide anything more.

Gorges reportedly had x-rays done on his foot after blocking a shot in Thursday’s win and only skated with his teammates for the first few minutes of Friday’s practice.

Lehner looks fine

Robin Lehner stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced Saturday and looked good doing so. Early on Lehner kept the Sabres in the game while they spent almost the entire first period in their own zone.

Boston’s first goal came on a beautiful re-direction by Bruins forward David Krejci — nothing Lehner could do about that one.

In his first start since returning from a minor hip injury (left early Tuesday, missed Thursday), Lehner looked like he was healthy and played a solid game.