Complacency has crushed the Buffalo Sabres all season in 2022-23

The Buffalo Sabres blew a 4-2 lead in last night’s pivotal game against the Washington Capitals, and this issue is nothing new to the Blue and Gold.

If there is one major common denominator in the four North American professional sports leagues, it’s that the youngest teams are routinely the most frustrating. Sometimes, they’re so bad that they make you wonder whether a top-end college or in some cases, a minor league team, can beat them.

Or in the Buffalo Sabres case, they are a better than advertised team, but have such a knack for doing the most reckless things, you shake your head in frustration and lose a half-night’s sleep thanks to the good old, “how did they let that one get away from them,” performances. Last night, Buffalo’s loss to the Washington Capitals was one of those games.

Head coach Don Granato said it the best following Buffalo’s frustrating performance:

“We played way too relaxed after that. It was as if we felt it was going to be an easier night than what it was. We generated scoring chances, but we didn’t score. We thought that would just keep happening and we would be fine. So, we just dropped the level of focus and intensity, and it added up. It bit us.” – via Buffalo News. 

Buffalo Sabres need to play like it’s 0-0 for 60 minutes

You can break down Don Granato’s quote in one sentence: The Buffalo Sabres got complacent. They thought the scoring chances would keep coming because they were, for the most part, in control of the contest.

It seemed no matter what the Sabres did in the offensive zone last night, it worked. Problem was, that physical edge and intensity they brought at times over the past couple of weeks was nonexistent, and they were unwilling to use it to battle for and keep the puck and keep it away from the Caps.

The result? Buffalo stopped playing their game, and started playing the Caps game.

And far too often, the Sabres lacked the urgency to score that final goal. It was almost like they were thinking, “Well, if we don’t get it here, we’ll come back down, generate another chance because they’ve been giving them to us all game, and sneak one into the net. No big deal, right?”

That overconfident, complacent, and lack of urgent play cost them a point. And as the article’s title suggests, it’s not the first time this has happened. Against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Buffalo blew a lead in three different games and ended up losing two of those contests.

They nearly lost to the Detroit Red Wings after holding a 4-1 lead, but ended up taking it in shootouts. In January, the same thing happened against the Chicago Blackhawks, when they led 3-1 in the third period.

All season, Granato has used the “win of learn” mentality. Well, after 67 games, you’d have thought the Sabres would have learned how to hold onto leads. Guess the message hasn’t sunken through yet, because if it had, they would have snagged that second point.

Source: Observations: Sabres’ playoff chances take another hit with shootout loss to Capitals by Lance Lysowski,