When did the NHL say the draft lottery and draft are this year? Less than 5 weeks away? Okay good. As this season starts to wind down things have not gotten any easier for the Buffalo Sabres or their fans. Tonight they failed to play spoiler against the Montreal Canadiens on route to dropping their 6th straight game. The draft can’t come quick enough for the Sabres or their fans, one can only hope we’re on the fast track of rebuilding.
Although the Sabres were shutout and dominated for the majority of the game, there were some bright spots and players. Those players will be highlighted in tonight’s Buffalo Sabres 3 stars.
Third Star: Nathan Lieuwen
There was a lot of talk before the game whether Lieuwen would get the nod tonight or not. He didn’t end up starting but he did end up between the pipes for the Buffalo Sabres for the first time in his career before the end of the second period. He became the 42nd different player to play for the Sabres this season when he came in after Jhonas Enroth got run over. With his appearance from the second period on, Lieuwen played in his 3rd straight night tonight and will likely need to accompany the team on their upcoming road trip.
Lieuwen looked solid between the pipes, most notably on a poke-check on a partial breakaway late in the third. He played big occupying the net and just looked like a natural out there. He’s come along way since the Sabres drafted him and tonight made a lot of people excited for his future with the club.
Second Star: Drew Stafford
It’s hard to name three stars in a game when the Buffalo Sabres get shutout as there are no goal scorers. However, Drew Stafford was buzzing all over the ice again tonight as he continues to take a leadership role in the rebuilding Sabres.
Stafford had 5 shots and one crossbar in tonight’s effort while finishing with a +1. Whether it’s Stafford’s annual hot streak once the season is lost, or an actual step in progression, Stafford has been one of the best Sabres forwards as of late.
First Star: Cory Conacher
While I’m not a Canadiens fan I love the play of Brendan Gallagher- on most nights. He’s a little guy who is not afraid to get his nose dirty and tick off his opponents. The Sabres may have finally found their own little Gallagher in Cory Conacher. Conacher took an absolute beating tonight all night from the Habs and he kept coming back for more and he stood up for himself which is nice to see. He only had one penalty tonight, but he was all over the Canadiens providing them a little taste of their own medicine.