SportsBuffalo Sabres


5 Observations: Wild take down Sabres 5-4

5 Observations: Wild take down Sabres 5-4
Posted at 9:38 PM, Nov 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-22 21:38:08-05

Seven games, seven straight losses for the Buffalo Sabres, this time falling to the Minnesota Wild 5-4. With the loss, the already basement-dwelling Sabres fall to 5-13-4 to start the season. 

Five observations from Wednesday's loss: 

Dark Fantasy 

Oh, it's no fantasy, the Sabres struggles are very real and things seem to be going from bad to worse. November has been a horrendous month for the Sabres who have now lost seven straight games, but by now you know all about the losing streak. As a matter of fact, horrendous might be putting it lightly. 

After an abysmal October, this was the last thing the Sabres needed. If they don't act soon, this season will completely runaway. 

So Appalled

His nickname is Angry Larry but on Friday Johan Larsson has to be appalled at how his night transpired. It was a rough first period for Larsson, who missed a gorgeous chance that would've given the Sabres an early (earlier) lead.

A few moments later Larsson tried to keep a Sabres' cycle flowing, only to turn the puck over to Wild forward Mikael Granlund, who scored Minnesota's second of the night. For Larsson, it has been a forgettable season that on Thanksgiving Eve became even more frustrating. 

Lost In the World 

Kyle Okposo just can't buy a goal. The Sabres big free-agent addition last summer has seen a major drop-off this season, with only two goals and seven assists in 20 games played. 

On Friday he was relegated to the third line, playing alongside Jacob Josefson and Jordan Nolan for most of the evening. Compared to some of his previous games, Okposo actually looked pretty good and assisted on Nolan's first goal with the Sabres. 

But looking at the bigger picture is concerning. Perhaps Okposo will figure things out but if he doesn't it's not promising to think about the future with the 29-year-old under contract for five more years making $6 million per season. 

Blame Game

Where do we even begin? There are plenty of people to blame for the Sabres struggles but on Wednesday Chad Johnson and Robin Lehner could've been better. They don't deserve all the blame but both would be the first to tell you they'd like some of Minnesota's goals back. 

Of the goals allowed, Johnson would almost certainly like another crack at Minnesota's first goal, scored by former teammate Tyler Ennis. The former Sabre made a nifty move near the wall and sent a backhand along the ice towards Johnson, who was beaten five-hole. Saucy. 

Johnson was replaced by Robin Lehner to start the second period after allowing three goals on 13 shots. While in the game Lehner allowed two goals on 19 shots faced. 


Well, the power play to be specific. That was one of the biggest differences on Wednesday as the Wild capitalized on two of their three man advantages, while the Sabres failed to convert on any of their three opportunities. 

That said, this shouldn't come as a surprise -- entering Wednesday the Sabres had the second worst power play percentage in the league. If that wasn't bad enough, their former power play coach from last year's league-best unit, Bob Woods, was on the opposing bench as an assistant with Minnesota. Salt in the wound, indeed. 

Follow Matt Bove on Twitter!