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Three Observations: Sabres fall short 3-2 to Islanders

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Posted at 9:42 PM, Feb 22, 2021

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (WKBW) — After dominating the possession game in the first period, and coming out of that frame with a lead, the Sabres wound up dropping the fourth out of their last five games. The Islanders came back to beat Buffalo 3-2 Monday night. The Sabres are back in action Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils.

Limited scoring threats

Curtis Lazar is in sole possession of third place on the Sabres in goals this season. THIRD. He has more goals than Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, and Jeff Skinner combined. That doesn't tell the whole story; Eichel and Hall are still generating chances and racking up assists. But the scorers on this team are Sam Reinhart, Victor Olofsson, and then everyone else.

Both Reinhart has shown more capability of scoring at even strength than Olofsson, but the production is incredibly unbalanced from there and the drop-off is jaw dropping. If nothing else, the two wingers are proving their worth after being RFAs this past fall.

Ullmark on his head

Even when the Sabres have been able to find the net, and even when they've won the possession battle and the shots on goal battle, Linus Ullmark still has to stand on his head far too often. The quality of the Islanders' chances, as opposed to the quantity, still forced him to do so tonight.

We've seen Ullmark in this type of zone before. It comes and goes, but every time he's in a zone like this, it's a shame that the Sabres can't score enough to capitalize on it. He bailed the blue and gold out of several odd-man rush opportunities tonight, and it still wasn't enough.

Rotating door this week

The next six days will be the toughest stretch in terms of workload for the Sabres all year. Tonight's tilt against the Islanders was the first of five in seven days for Buffalo. There's not going to be a stretch that condensed the rest of the way (at least as it stands right now), but legs are going to have to stay fresh.

That's likely a part of the rotating door along the bottom six and bottom pairing. Jeff Skinner and Will Borgen will probably be back on the ice by the end of the week. Different players may wind up missing a game or two to foster "internal competition." There's an expanded taxi squad for 2021. Buffalo might as well use it during this stretch.