Buffalo Handed 18th Straight Loss By Flyers
On Monday, March 29 the Buffalo Sabres lost to the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3. The loss came in overtime and was the Sabres 18th straight loss this season. The Sabres now hold the longest consecutive losing streak in the shootout era and in the 21st century. The Sabres played a terrific 40 minutes of hockey in comparison to recent performances. The team was ahead 3-0 going into the final frame. Goals came from Sabres defenseman Henri Jokiharju and Brandon Montour as well as forward Cody Eakin.
After a solid first two periods, the Sabres seemed to return to form for the third. Buffalo surrendered three goals in the third and lost the game just 42 seconds into overtime. The game winner was scored by Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov.
Positive Takeaways From Monday’s Loss
Although the Sabres are now 1-5 against Philadelphia this season, the Sabres 18th straight loss was different than the previous 17. Prior to Monday night, the Buffalo Sabres had been playing an unmotivated style of hockey. This was a main concern of the team under their former coach Ralph Krueger. Since the hiring of interim head coach Don Granato, the team had still yet to find a new identity. However, this game was the first new sign of life within the organization. Although the Sabres lost, there was a visible step in the right direction. Leading up to their third period collapse, the Sabres played fundamentally sound hockey. Much of this is attributed to the new coaching staff. Granato, along with assistants Matt Ellis and Dan Girardi have done a fair job to this point re-motivating their roster.
In a season that is all but over for Buffalo, finding new forms of motivation is not an easy task. In addition, the team is not used to playing with a lead. As the motivation appeared to run out last night, so did the Sabres level of play. This was highlighted by young forward Tase Thompson in the final minutes of the contest. Thompson had an opportunity to close the game out with an empty net goal, but was unable to finish. The lack of effort on Thompson’s empty net miss is what made the play stand out. Had Thompson been able to finish, the Sabres would have more than likely snapped their losing streak.
Injuries Stay A Factor As The Season Continues
The return of Linus Ullmark has already proven beneficial for the Buffalo Sabres. Although he has yet to win since coming back from injury, the team is notably better with Ullmark as their rock. The good news ends with Ullmark as far as injuries go. Jack Eichel remains out of the lineup. Although he is expected to return this season, that date has not yet been set. Furthermore, first round draft pick Dylan Cozens was injured yet again on Monday night. Cozens missed several games only weeks ago due to a concussion. Cozens injury was not disclosed, but the team has stated that the injury should not be season ending. Along with Cozens, Sabres forward Rasmus Asplund remains out of the line up.
The Sabres next game will be Wednesday, March 31 against the Philadelphia Flyers. After coming so close to snapping the streak, the Sabres will look to do so Wednesday evening. Puck drop is set for 7:30pm.
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