The Buffalo Sabres lost a close one to the Winnipeg Jets to open their road trip, but they generated a lot of chances in the loss.
These are the worst games a team can lose, even worse than the pedestrian effort the Buffalo Sabres put up against the Pittsburgh Penguins and vs. the Boston Bruins. Why? Because these are the games when you know your team outplayed their opponent, and still lost.
Sure, Buffalo had a bad second period in which they fell behind 3-1, but wow, way to claw back in that third period and turn this game into a thriller literally until the final second. If you were watching or listening to this game and heard Dan Dunleavy’s voice, you were convinced they were scoring in those final seconds, but they just ran out of time.
If there is one major takeaway here that the Blue and Gold have got to get better at, it’s putting pucks into the net off of rebounds. Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck gave them more than enough chances to convert, and they couldn’t find the net just one more time to force overtime.
Buffalo Sabres still in a slump, but showed some life against Winnipeg in loss
Rasmus Dahlin was the most impressive player in that third period overall, playing with an edge that the entire team needs to adopt when they go into Chicago. Dahlin looked as though he were trying to do too much at times, but regardless, you can’t question his effort, and it’s why he’s making eight-figures until the 2030s.
Ryan Johnson has more than come into his own, and of the three players I listed earlier regarding the futures this road trip would decide, he moved another step closer to sticking around. Ditto for Zach Benson, who had an assist and once again showed off his defensive capabilities. Benson had an awful penalty late you may have rightfully questioned, but other than that it was a good game for the 18-year-old.
Overall, the Buffalo Sabres showed off the ability to battle back, but they need to learn how to capitalize on those rebounds. Had they done that just two more times, and again, Hellebuyck gave them a ransom of rebounds, then they would have skated away with the W.