5 Observations: Sabres fall to Hurricanes 3-1

5 Observations: Sabres fall to Hurricanes 3-1
Posted at 10:46 PM, Dec 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 22:46:16-05

Flat -- that's the best way to describe how the Buffalo Sabres looked during the first 40 minutes of Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. The loss is the Sabres third straight and second to the Hurricanes in less than a week.

Five observations from Thursday's loss:


Less than three minutes into the game the Sabres found themselves on a power play. Cool, awesome, super — wait…..where’s Jack Eichel? Well, he was replaced on the Sabres first unit by Matt Moulson. He wasn’t on the second unit either — so what gives?

After the game Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said he was trying to send a message to both Eichel and the team.

“The decision was something we practiced today,” Bylsma told reporters after the game. “He went back in on the second opportunity.”

Bylsma said he wants to see more out of Eichel and saw flashes of that in Thursday’s game. Personally, I thought Eichel and Evander Kane were two of the Sabres best players against the Hurricanes. Eichel is in a bit of a slump, he hasn’t registered a point in four games,

Sabers slow out the gate yet again

The Sabres haven’t scored a first period goal in six games. To make matters worse, on Thursday they allowed Carolina to get on the board twice in the first frame. It was one of their sloppiest periods in recent memory, putting them in a hole they wouldn’t be able to climb their way out of. If the Sabres are going to start stringing together some wins, they’ll need to start scoring earlier games because playing from behind hasn’t gone well.

Quite the odd start

Less than two minutes into the game the Sabres had already given up two odd-man rushes. The Hurricanes capitalized on the second attempt thanks to a beautiful Jeff Skinner wrist shot. Rather than tightening up on defense, the Sabres gave up several more odd-man rushes in the period and left goaltender Robin Lehner out to dry.

“The opportunities we gave them is really our puck execution and our puck management on virtually every one of them,” Bylsma added.

Shooting themselves in the foot

It seemed like the Sabres played the entire second period short-handed and while it wasn’t the entire period, it was a good chunk. During the second stanza the Sabres took four penalties and found themselves a man down for eight minutes. Credit to the Sabres for killing off every penalty they took tonight, but when you play that much of a period short-handed mounting a comeback becomes all the more difficult.

“It’s tough when you’re killing penalties to generate offense,” Sabres defender Zach Bogosian said after the game. He’s not kidding — in the second period the Sabres only registered five shots.

Bogosian stands up for Eichel

One of the only bright spots from Thursday was when Zach Bogosian clobbered Jordan Staal seconds after he hit Jack Eichel. I don’t think the Staal hit was dirty, but it was nice to see someone step in and defend the teams young star.

“At the end of the day we have to stick up for each other,” Bogosian said after the game. Yes, yes you do — and that sand paper has been something the Sabres at times have been missing.