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5 observations: Senators top Sabres 2-1 in SO

5 observations: Senators top Sabres 2-1 in SO
Posted at 11:53 PM, Nov 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-09 23:54:14-05

Wednesday the Buffalo Sabres (5-5-3) got off to a fast start but cooled down quick, falling to the Ottawa Senators (8-5-0) 2-1 in a shootout. The Sabres are now 1-3-1 at home this season, scoring just six goals in five home games. Five observations from Wednesday's loss: 

Kane in mid-season form

Mid-season form means that Evander Kane still LOVES shooting the puck from every angle and missing the net high or wide. Don’t get me wrong, Kane is a good player and should prove to be a big piece for the Sabres this season, but in his first full game he looked much like the player we saw last year. The good news is he did generate a lot of chances and looked pretty physical. If Kane can stay healthy I’m expecting somewhere around 20 goals, just like last season.

The Sabres still can’t score

In 13 games the Sabres have just 26 goals — averaging only two a game. When they play at home the numbers are even worse, with just six goals in five home games. Wednesday against the Senators, Buffalo got on the board early, scoring less than three minutes into the game on a Nick Baptiste wrist shot. Things looked good early on — but then we saw more of what we’ve seen all season long: a whole lot of nothing offensively. The Sabres were able to generate some quality chances, especially early on, they just couldn’t convert on them. Lehner can’t bail the Sabres out every game and will need some help soon or the Sabres could start falling back in the standings. Aside from O’Reilly, Okposo and Ristolainen no one has really put up impressive numbers, at least early on.

Nick Baptiste making progress

Baptiste scored from just outside the face-off circle on a wrist shot very early into the game. That was his only point of the game but he created chances all night long. When watching Baptiste his speed stands out more than anything — and he often can sneak behind defenders with just a few strides. Baptiste didn’t log big minutes playing on the Sabres fourth line with Derek Grant and Cole Schneider but did look good when he was actually on the ice and got a few opportunities to play in the closing minutes. 

Sabres shootout woes continue

Since the start of last season the Sabres are a woeful 2-9 in shootouts. This season they are 0-2 after Wednesday's loss to the Senators -- giving up goals to both Ottawa shooters (Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan). Sam Reinhart scored on Buffalo's first attempt but both Kyle Okposo and Brian Gionta were denied. There's really not an explination to the Sabres shootout struggles but they'll need to win more of these this season. Last year they left a lot of points on the table in the shootout and in a playoff race they'll need those points. 

Sabres dominate overtime

In the third period the Sabres looked asleep against a tired Senators team that played Tuesday night. Things changed in overtime -- with the Sabres outshooting Ottawa 8-0. Buffalo nearly won the game twice, on a beautiful indivudal effort by Sam Reinhart and a Zemgus Girgensons deflection that hit the cross before and landed on the goal line. Without Eichel, O'Reilly and Ennis their overtime dominance was truly impressive. 

Buffalo won't have to wait long for their next chance at a win on home ice -- they take on New Jersey at KeyBank Center Friday at 7 p.m. 

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