BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Despite erasing a two-goal deficit in the final minutes, the Buffalo Sabres couldn’t snap their losing streak, falling to the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 in overtime. Casey Mittelstadt and Jack Eichel both scored with less than five minutes to play but Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi scored his second goal of the evening in overtime to seal the win.
5 Observations from Thursday's loss:
At least the Sabres are consistent. With their overtime loss to the Red Wings, the Sabres have now lost five straight games. In 14 games played this month, the Sabres have two wins. What a disaster.
Victor Olofsson certainly isn't afraid to shoot the puck. In his first NHL game, Olofsson recorded five shots on nine attempts and showed off his wicked release early and often.
His most notable play, aside from clanking the cross-bar in the third period, was the beautiful pass he sent to Eichel to tie things up in the third period. Kudos to him on tallying his first career point in his NHL debut.
After the game, he told reporters he was to blame for the loss because his shot in overtime missed the net and led to an odd-man rush in the opposite direction. Sure, he needs to hit the net but it's his first game and he's a guy who loves to shoot the puck. I don't dislike the decision, just the execution.
One game is of course too small of a sample size to make an opinion of the rookie winger but it's hard not to like the shooting mentality Olofsson brings. It wasn't the best debut I've ever seen but Olofsson looks like a player who should be with the Sabres to start the 2019-2020 season.
The Final Countdown
If you're anything like me you're now thinking of the song by Europe. Nevertheless, during the final five games of the season, I'll be watching players like Alex Nylander, Casey Mittelstadt, Lawrence Pilut and Olofsson to see how they close out the season. All four will have a chance to make the Sabres opening night roster next season and a strong final two weeks will help their chances.
Another rough night for the goalies
Linus Ullmark doesn't deserve all the blame for the Sabres loss on Thursday but he certainly could've bailed his team out with a big save or two. Ullmark allowed five goals on 34 shots. At the other end of the ice, Jimmy Howard stopped 35 of the 39 shots he faced. It wasn't a stellar night for either goaltender but at least we got to see a few goals.
The most important game of the year
To many fans, this game didn't mean a whole lot. For two of my coworkers, this game meant EVERYTHING.
Let me explain.
Rob, one of our photographers, is a big Red Wings fan. Matt, who directs our 5:00 p.m. newscast, is a die-hard Sabres fan. Before the season Matt and Rob made a bet about which team would have more success.
The bet: If the Sabres finished with more points than the Red Wings, Rob would shave his beard. If the Red Wings finished ahead of the Sabres, Matt would shave his head.
*They are both very serious about this bet and will follow through*
For months it looked like Rob was in serious trouble. Oh, how things have changed. With their win on Thursday, the Red Wings now trail the Sabres by FOUR points. With another matchup between the Sabres and Red Wings to end the season on April 6, I know Rob and Matt will be watching very closely.