Buffalo looked underwhelming in a 3-1 loss to Ottawa on Thursday night.
Score: Sabres – 1 | Senators – 3
Shots: BUF – 24 | OTT – 28
Buffalo Sabres goals: Okposo (11)
Ottawa Senators goals: Sanford (8), Watson (3), Tkachuk (16)
Minus 1: Power play
The Sabres power play as of late hasn’t been bad, with young stars like Krebs, Thompson and Dahlin being able to show off what they can do with more space. But on Thursday night against the Senators, it was awful. Buffalo only scored on one power play chance out of six, on a long pass to Kyle Okposo who made a slick move on the breakout. Other than that, however, both of the Sabres power play units looked shaky and couldn’t maintain consistent pressure despite having ample opportunities. Moving forward, Buffalo has to get their power play back on track as it is an extremely important piece of their offense.
Minus 1: Sloppy play overall
If I’m being honest, neither team played well in this game, it was just Ottawa who decided to pull away late with a deflected shot toward the net to give them the lead, before adding an empty net goal. There were plenty of defensive turnovers by both teams who just couldn’t get into the flow of the game, with even RJ and the broadcast team taking notice. While Ottawa took many lazy penalties, Buffalo’s chances on the power play and at 5v5 were even lazier. After solid offensive performances against Montreal and New York, I really thought the Sabres would continue that momentum into another game. I guess I once again overestimated them.
Plus 1: Craig Anderson
A big part of why the Sabres even stayed in it until the third was Craig Anderson, who started against his former team and had an admirable performance. The only two goals he let up were tough to stop and can definitely be blamed on poor defensive play. Anderson stopped a few breakaways and breakout chances with ease and continues to look comfortable whenever he’s in net. While he’s not Buffalo’s goaltender of the future, they will always have a chance to win when he starts.
Even in losses, Alex Tuch continues to impress and show why he’s the centerpiece of this team down the road. Outside of the top-6 however, Buffalo gets inconsistent play from their last two lines. Last game they looked good; however, against Ottawa they did not. While this team is still a work in progress, the last few weeks of the season will continue to show who should stay on the roster next season, and who needs to go, especially with plenty of youth down in Rochester almost ready for the next step.
Next up: The Sabres continue their homestand on Saturday, February 19th at 1:00 pm against the Colorado Avalanche.