BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – After an impressive win over Arizona on Thursday, the Sabres inconsistent play continued, as they struggled in a 5-1 loss to the Stars on Saturday.
Buffalo dips to 4-8-2 overall (10 points).
The Sabres started out aggressive, dominating the Stars for roughly the first three minutes before some defensive breakdowns and bad goaltending put the Blue & Gold in a 3-0 hole they wouldn’t climb out of.
Robin Lehner, who played well in the win over the Coyotes, was pulled in favor of Chad Johnson after giving up three goals. Johnson would give up two more goals to the Stars.
Buffalo returns home on Tuesday to play the Washington Capitals.
The Blame Game
Three goals on seven shots will get any goaltender a quick hook, especially when those goals happen in the span of six minutes.
Robin Lehner gave up some bad rebounds, the defense (not just the blueliners) didn’t do much to help him out. Lehner didn’t play the puck behind the next exceptionally well, allowing a rebound off a shot from the blueline. There wasn’t a white jersey around Remi Elie who had a free whack and the rebound and scored with ease.
Radek Faksa’s goal, which made it 2-0, was the result of a soft play by Benoit Pouliot to allow Gemel Smith through the neutral zone and get a shot on net. Lehner had a chance to get his glove on the puck and prevent a rebound…instead it squirted to the front of the net to a waiting Faksa — who buried it.
After a dominant three minutes to open the game, Buffalo never regained their dominance in the offensive zone. Dallas, which was playing their first home game in 11 days, did. If you like defenseman joining in — Stephen Johns was the guy to do it, ripping home a one-timer to make it 3-0.
5 is the Magic Number
For the fifth time this season, the Sabres have allowed five or more goals. Buffalo has only played 14 games. Think about that: In nearly a third of the Sabres games they’ve allowed five or more goals, which is nearly mind-boggling bad.
Granted Phil Housley hasn’t played a single game with his top four defenseman on the ice together — the Sabres have to play better — not just on the blueline but with all five players on the ice more consistently.
With the speed and skill the Sabres boast, it’d be easy to assume they’d be able to put the pressure on opposing teams and cycle the puck for 90 seconds and ultimately score a goal.
It was Dallas putting on an offensive zone clinic, changing lines and moving the puck in the offensive zone for 1:23 in the third period before Antoine Roussel scored the fifth goal of the game for the Stars.
Where is Nick Baptiste?
The winger was called up from Rochester on Nov. 1, but hasn’t seen the ice for the Blue and Gold in either of the games against Arizona or Dallas.
Yes, they scored five goals in the win over the Coyotes but for a team that lacks a psychical presence, speed in the bottom six and plays inconsistent, it’s a bit odd for the winger — who brings speed and physicality to the ice — to not see the any ice time since joining the big club.
In Rochester, Baptiste has five points in eight games.
Man on Fire
Ryan O’Reilly scored on a heady play in the second period to pull Buffalo within 4-1. After winning the draw in the offensive zone, as the puck remained in the circle, O’Reilly fired home his fifth goal in eight games.