SportsBuffalo Sabres


5 Observations: Sabres snap losing streak, top Kings 4-3 in OT

5 Observations: Sabres snap losing streak, top Kings 4-3 in OT
Posted at 11:04 PM, Dec 11, 2018

At last, the Buffalo Sabres losing streak has come to an end. Despite falling behind 3-1 to the basement dwelling Los Angeles Kings the Sabres clawed their way back to tie things at three thanks to goals from Jack Eichel and Johan Larson.  In overtime, Jeff Skinner scored the game-winner to snap the Sabres five-game losing streak with a 4-3 win.

5 Observations from Tuesday’s win:

Swarm Swarm Swarm

In the third period, the Kings were without two of their best defensemen in Drew Doughty and Dion Phaneuf. The Sabres capitalized,  outshooting the Kings 16-4 and tying the game despite the two-goal deficit. It was the best. From the Sabres in recent memory, and they were rewarded for their efforts. That said after the game Jack Eichel made it pretty clear that his team will need to be better moving forward or else they will not win very many games.

Desperately Needed 

Boy oh boy did the Sabres need a win. It has been a rough few weeks for the Sabres since their win-streak was snapped by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Luckily for the blue and gold, Los Angeles was on the second half of a back-to-back and they looked very tired in the third period. When you consider the injuries on their blue line at the end of the game and the way their season has gone, the result of this game shouldn't be a huge surprise. 

On a tear

Jack Eichel has taken his game to a whole new level. In 31 games this season Eichel has 38 points. With his goal on Tuesday, Eichel now has goals in three consecutive games [five goals in three games] and is on pace to tally 101 points this season. Chances are he'll cool off at some point but he's showing every game that he's one of the top players in the NHL.

Secondary Scoring 

During the five-game losing streak, almost all of the Sabres scoring came from the Skinner-Eichel-Reinhart line. On Tuesday they received some much-needed help. In the first period, Zemgus Girgensons capitalized on a beautiful play to score his third of the year. Not to be outdone, Johan Larsson tallied his third of the season in the third period to tie things up. If the Sabres are going to take steps in the right direction they are going to need more production from their second and third line. Guys like Kyle Okposo, Casey Mittelstadt, Conor Sheary and Jason Pominville need to step up. 

Costly mistake 

I've been very impressed with Lawrence Pilut during his first five games as an NHL player. But his mistake in the second period cost the Sabres a crucial goal. With seven minutes left in the period, a puck was knocked down with a high-stick in the Sabres end. The official immediately raised his arm signally a high-stick. After a few seconds, rather than just skating away from the puck, Lawrence Pilut tried to clear the puck out of the Sabres zone. It didn't work and a few seconds later Adrian Kempe was there to give the Kings a two-goal lead. 

According to dozens of comments on social media, the referee was yelling "gotta play it bud, gotta play it" as Pilut left the puck untouched on the ice. I'm speculating, but I'd imagine Pilut thought he had to do something. But from my understanding of the rule, if Pilut would have just skated away the play would have been blown dead and a face off in the defensive zone would've followed. While that's not ideal, it's certainly better than trying to force a play in the defensive zone. It was a bad mistake and the Sabres paid for it. 

But don't worry, Pilut made up for it by sending a perfect pass to Johan Larsson in the third period to tie things up. Despite the costly mistake, Pilut was one of the Sabres most effective defenders on Tuesday. He should start the house hunt in Buffalo. 

Have a news tip, question or comment?


Take WKBW Everywhere, on all your devices.  Download below!

Phone or Tablet: Apple, Android
Set-top Device: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Alexa

Personalize your news, get the latest 7 First Alert Forecast, and watch 7 Eyewitness News video wherever, whenever.

Learn more here about what 7 Eyewitness News provides on all these devices.