For the first time this season the Buffalo Sabres have suffered back-to-back losses, falling to the San Jose Sharks 5-1. Jake McCabe scored the Sabres lone goal as Buffalo falls to 1-2 on their current West coast road trip and 3-4 on the season.
5 Observations from Thursday's loss:
Powerless Power Play
Despite what seemed like countless opportunities the Sabres once again couldn't convert with the man advantage. After a pretty solid start to the season, the Sabres power play has gone ice cold, going 1-for-21 in their last four games [4.7%].
Something needs to change and it better happen soon. Right now the Sabres aren't a team that can rely on their even-strength scoring. If they don't get help from the power play they will lose a lot more games than they win.
#Sabres power play is very predictable right now. Whenever Okposo has the puck he either looks for the wrist shot or the drop pass.
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) October 19, 2018
Kyle Okposo is a leader on the Sabres and a solid hockey player. But on Thursday he struggled. In the first few minutes, he took a costly double-minor penalty, giving the Sharks a four-minute power play. They scored not once, but twice, digging the Sabres into an early hole.
Not so fun fact -- In every game the Sabres have lost this year they've allowed a power play goal. When you can't score on the power play and you can't stop your opponents from doing so, you probably won't have much success.
Sabres record when they score first: 3-0
Sabres record when their opponent scores first: 0-4
Eventually, the Sabres will win a game when they give up the first goal and lose a game when they open the scoring. But for right now it's obvious how important it is for this team to have a quick start. Before they even had a chance to blink on Thursday they were trailing 2-0 after two Sharks goals on the power play.
After a so-so debut on Tuesday, Zach Bogosian proved to be quite valuable for his team against the Sharks. In only his second game this season, Bogosian blocked several shots and logged 17:17 of ice time. Consistency from the Sabres third pair has been something the team has been looking for. On Thursday despite the loss, their bottom-pair was solid.
No life in the third period
In a word, the Sabres third period against the Sharks was embarrassing. Trailing 2-1 after 40 minutes the Sabres were one solid period away from potentially tying things up or maybe even snagging two points. Instead, they were completely outworked at both ends of the ice and watched a 2-1 deficit turn into a 5-1 loss.