The Sabres rolled into Raleigh tonight and came up with 60 minutes of uninspired hockey, losing to the Canes 6-2. Sebastien Aho scores twice for Carolina, who also got goals from Jack Drury, Stefan Noesen, Teuvo Teravainen and Brady Skjei. The Sabres got third period goals from Casey Mittelstadt and Tyson Jost.
- There aren’t may positives to take from this game. The Sabres played uninspired hockey and got the result they deserved for their effort. I know they have some injuries to key players, but there is no excuse for lackluster effort.
- This Sabres team is tough to figure out. When they are on, like they were against the Rangers, they look like a team that could go far. Other times, like tonight, they look lost. It’s strange… last year they played like they believed in themselves as a team… this year, they often look disinterested. Somebody needs to step up soon.
- Something has to happen to wake this team up. Trade? Call-up? FA signing? Aside from the obvious lack of guys like Thompson and Quinn, this team looks like it’s missing character.
- A lot of people say that faceoffs aren’t important. I disagree. Both Carolina PP goals and their SH goal were scored within seconds after the Sabres lost a faceoff in their zone.
- An annoying pattern we’ve seen the Sabres develop over the last few games has been giving up multiple goals quickly. Tonight, they gave up two goals in 1:10 in the first period. On Thursday night against the Blues, they gave up two in quick succession right after they had tied the game.
- What is up with Dylan Cozens this season? Is he fighting an injury? He looks like a shell of the player he was last season.
- This is the second straight time that the Sabres no showed with Eric Comrie in nets. Last time was last Saturday against New Jersey. Tonight, Comrie’s performance wasn’t good enough. When a team is having a lackluster night, the goalie needs to step up and make a big stop.
- The Sabres announced early in the second period that Jordan Greenway would not return because of an upper body injury. That’ll likely result in another recall from Rochester.
- With the loss tonight, the Sabres fell to 10-12-2, 7th in their division.
The Sabres made a couple of lineup changes. Connor Clifton returned to the lineup on defense in place of Ryan Johnson and Brandon Biro came in at forward for Isak Rosen.
Jeff Skinner– Casey Mittelstadt – Alex Tuch
JJ Peterka – Dylan Cozens – Zach Benson
Jordan Greenway – Peyton Krebs – Kyle Okposo
Tyson Jost – Brandon Biro – Victor Olofsson
Rasmus Dahlin – Mattias Samuelsson
Owen Power – Henri Jokiharju
Connor Clifton – Erik Johnson
Falling behind in the first
The Sabres got their first powerplay chance 7:23 into the period. They had decent puck possession within the offensive zone, but only generated one shot on Canes starter Pyotr Kochetkov.
Eric Comrie made a couple of nice stops midway through the period, especially on a 2-on-1 chance against Sebastien Aho.
It was Aho who opened the scoring at 15:25. As the Canes entered the zone, Owen Power played the puck carrier, which opened up the middle of the ice for Aho, who received the pass and broke into the slot, beating Comrie with a high wrister over the glove.
The Canes doubled their lead at 16:36 as Jack Drury picked up his own rebound to Comrie’s right. There were a lot of Sabres players around the net, but none of them covered Drury.
Shots in the period were 14-8 for Carolina.
Digging a deep hole in the second
An early penalty to Alex Tuch resulted in a quick powerplay goal at 1:06. It was the second of the night for Aho. As we’ve often seen, the Sabres lost the faceoff in their zone the Canes made where PP work in just 12 seconds.
The Sabres had a good chance to get back in the game with a 5-on-3 chance for 45 seconds but they didn’t generate anything in terms of shots. On the remainder of the powerplay, they couldn’t establish any zone presence.
The Canes made it 4-0 on a goal from Stefan Noesen at 14:12. Erik Johnson misplayed a lobbed puck at center ice, which gave Necas a clear lane to the net. While Comrie played the shooter, Necas dropped the puck to an open Noesen who also got behind Johnson on the play.
5-0 Canes on another powerplay goal. Once again, it was a faceoff loss and quick Carolina strike. This time it was Teuvo Teravainen scoring 19 seconds into the PP at 18:04.
Shots in the second were 11-7 Carolina.
The Sabres finally broke through with a goal from Casey Mittelstadt at 4:07. He beat Kochetkov with a neat little snapshot from the circle. Alex Tuch tipped Henri Jokiharju’s long breakout pass toward the middle of the ice and Mittelstadt got behind the Canes defender on the play.
Carolina scored a shorthanded goal… you guessed it off a lost faceoff in the Buffalo end… at 8:05 on a goal from Brady Skjei. That’s a shot Comrie should at least get a piece of.
Tyson Jost made it 6-2 at 9:24 after Peyton Krebs was stopped by Kochetkov on a breakaway, but Krebs didn’t give up on the play and passed the puck from the corner toward the net, where Jost redirected it into the net.
Shots in the third were 15-9 for Carolina; 36-23 for the game.