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5 Observations: Sabres squander late lead, fall to Islanders 3-2 in OT

5 Observations: Sabres squander late lead, fall to Islanders 3-2 in OT
Posted at 9:53 PM, Dec 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-27 21:53:06-05

For the seventh time this season the Buffalo Sabres came up short in overtime, this time falling to the New York Islanders 3-2. With the loss, the Sabres are now 1-7 in games that go into overtime this season and drop to 9-20-8. 

Five observations from Wednesday's OT loss:

What's a goal? What's a catch?! 

Kelvin Benjamin probably thought Robin Lehner made an unbelievable save. Surprise surprise, that wasn't the case. To be clear, I totally think Josh Bailey's shot crossed the line, especially after the broadcast showed this view. 

The minute the horn rang in the middle of the game it was clear something was up. Despite the outcome and plenty of frustrated fans, I think the NHL got this one right. 

Dominant third goes to waste

Compared to some of their other third periods this season, Wednesday night was great....well, sort of. Eventually, the Sabres were rewarded for their solid start as former Islander Kyle Okposo crashed the net, scooping home a rebound to give the Sabres a 2-1 lead. 

What happened next was something we haven't been used to with this Sabres team.  Rather than playing for overtime or attempting to protect a lead, they kept their foot on the gas-pedal, applying constant pressure. Instead of playing conservative they tried to extend their lead. In the final minutes, things got a tad sloppy and the Islanders tied things up with Bailey's goal. Don't blame their efforts in the third period, blame their efforts in overtime. 

Power play still stinks 

How's that for blunt? Against the Islanders, the Sabres had four chances with the man advantage and failed to convert on any of them. As a matter of fact, some of the best chances when the Sabres were on the power play came from their shorthanded opponent.  Sound familiar? 

For a team that struggles to score goals, the Sabres desperately need to figure out how they can start capitalizing on the power play. This has been an issue all season and it doesn't appear that any real progress has been made. 

Staying hot 

After an early slump, Jack Eichel has certainly taken his game to another level. With his assist against the Islanders, Eichel now has 14 points [6G, 8A] in the Sabres last 11 games. 

It's clear that the Sabres offense runs through Eichel, who now trails Evander Kane [34 points] by only one point for the team lead [33 points in 37 games]. By no means is Eichel's game perfect but it has been a solid few weeks for the 20-year-old as the new year approaches. 

Like he's Jordan '96, '97

With his goal against the Islanders, Zemgus Girgensons now has scored in back to back games for the first time this season. The common denominator? Two perfect passes from Eichel. To say Girgensons had a slow start to the year would be an understatement but since returning to the lineup after he was a healthy scratch he's played a more consistent and noticeable game.