The Buffalo Sabres won their first game in 2023-24, but not before some old issues crept up that need to be addressed ASAP.
When Dylan Cozens found twine in overtime to give the Buffalo Sabres their first win of 2023-24, I muttered a half-hearted, “woo.” Why? Because tonight’s game never should have gone into overtime. The truth is, the Sabres never should have put themselves in such a position, especially after Jordan Greenway helped force an icing with about 54 seconds remaining.
The truth is, the Sabres still have some major issues to work out, especially when it comes to protecting leads. They’re once again getting “too cute” in the offensive zone, passing the puck around instead of taking shots at the net and looking to score a “dirty goal” near the crease, which they should have done tonight against Jonas Johansson.
They were way too conservative defensively down the stretch, and overall, they put it in cruise control with a narrow lead. And what’s truly alarming is they came out and looked like a different hockey team in the first period, building a two-goal lead before they fizzled out and played a pedestrian game thereafter.
Buffalo Sabres won and learned in tonight’s game vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning
Last season, a win was a win and a loss was a learning experience. Well, tonight, the Sabres won and learned. It’s great to see two points and a W, but when are they going to learn how to protect multiple-goal leads?
Last season was supposed to be the developmental year, one where they enhanced their strengths and at least improved the weak aspects of their game. But clearly, they haven’t done that yet. Sure, we’re only three games into this new season, but sooner than later, the Buffalo Sabres need to hold a lead and rediscover that high-octane game they at least showed flashes of tonight.