After their last game, the Sabres are in the need of a rebound

Nov 18, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres goaltender Dustin Tokarski (31) tries to cover up the puck as Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm (28) looks for the rebound during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 18, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres goaltender Dustin Tokarski (31) tries to cover up the puck as Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm (28) looks for the rebound during the first period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Buffalo Sabres are embarking on a daunting schedule that will see them take the ice six times over the course of nine days. The good news is that four of those games are at home, but six games in nine days is going to take some courage. Given the last four periods of hockey that we have suffered through, it is going to take some courage for the fans, too.

The Sabres hung on for dear life and managed to escape Pittsburgh with a one-goal victory on Tuesday night despite getting shelled in the third period. Goaltender Dustin Tokarski was the hero as he faced about a million shots on goal and held on for the well-earned win.

On Thursday night, however, things took a nosedive. The Sabres players left their hero completely hung out to dry for the two periods he was in there. Tokarski gave up 5 goals and not one of them was his fault. Head coach Don Granato took pity on Tokarski and allowed him to sit on the bench in the third period and he threw Aaron Dell to the wolves instead.

Most of the goals Thursday night were tap-ins scored by guys that were wide open without a Sabre in sight to guard them. There have been countless nights in the past 10+ seasons in which the Sabres have left their goaltender completely abandoned, alone, and frustrated. Opposing forwards time and time again have scored the easiest goals of their careers against a defensive system with more holes in it than a colander. On Thursday night it was Johnny Gaudreau, Andrew Mangiapane (twice each), and Matthew Tkachuk that were the beneficiaries of the defensive lapses by the Sabres.

The Sabres players that were interviewed after the game all said the right things. They all said they were embarrassed, and they all acknowledged that they played far under their potential. That’s good. At least we weren’t hearing about bad puck luck and unfortunate bounces or any of the other nonsense we heard last season on nights when the Sabres played like this.

I have hope that these past four periods of getting outworked and outplayed will end and the Sabres can tilt the ice back in their favor. These six games coming up include a few that should be winnable, especially on home ice. If they continue to look like the Washington Generals against the Harlem Globetrotters and lose most or all of the next six games, then we could be looking at another complete tire fire. But if they can get more effort and hustle and better defensive zone awareness then maybe they can stay competitive and give us something to hang our collective hat on as we approach the end of the calendar year.

Next. New look Sabres bringing a fresh approach this season. dark

We’ll see. I have my fingers and toes crossed for Sunday night.