The Buffalo Sabres came up short last night, so what can they take into their final two games of the week, and what do they need to improve?
The Buffalo Sabres may have come up short last night against the Carolina Hurricanes, but there was no shortage in finding some positive takeaways in this game. For one, Ryan Johnson and Rasmus Dahlin made a tremendous duo, and for another goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen enjoyed yet another strong outing.
The Sabres paid some close attention to detail on both of their goals last night, so that’s another plus. And yes, a few things went wrong, particularly the power play despite Dahlin converting one, and once again, inconsistencies overall with the puck. Let’s discuss them all in-depth, starting with that dynamic first pairing.
What went right, and what went wrong, in Buffalo Sabres overtime loss?
Right – Top defensive pairing
Ryan Johnson has shown us through two games that he deserved a spot in the Buffalo Sabres lineup. In two games, Johnson has a point, a plus-2, five blocked shots, and logged two takeaways. Last night, his ice time increased to 19:26 and he played like he belonged so much, that we saw him out there late in the game.
Rasmus Dahlin continues to do Rasmus Dahlin things, scoring on a heads-up power play goal and giving the Buffalo Sabres a chance to win it in overtime. Per Hockey Stat Cards, Dahlin had the best game score of 2.98 while Johnson took third place at 1.82. The duo also graded with the highest defensive impact, with Dahlin snagging a 1.49 and Johnson, a 1.63.
Wrong – Power play
It was great to see the Blue and Gold convert one on the power play, but it was more of a heads-up pass from Casey Mittelstadt to Dahlin, who just caught the Hurricanes playing a bad defensive sequence. Overall, the power play was awful, and Carolina goaltender Antti Raanta faced just three shots on goal when the Sabres had the man advantage.
So despite the conversion, the simple eye test shows us that Buffalo has a lot of work to do on the man advantage. Before Dahlin’s goal, it was the worst I had ever seen it this year.