The Buffalo Sabres are coming off the wrong end of a game where they allowed another six goals, making it 12 in two contests.
Where do even start following a loss like what the Buffalo Sabres just went through tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes? This one was bad in every phase of the game, sans the first 15 minutes of the first period when the Sabres at least looked like they were going to make a game out of this.
But just 70 seconds following Sebastian Aho’s goal, Jack Drury scored to put Carolina up 2-0, and you had an inkling that the game was already over. Carolina looked like a team in sync, passing the puck around without any player keeping it on their respective sticks long.
As for the Sabres, they barely established anything following Carolina’s initial goal, and it remained that way until the third period when Casey Mittelstadt at least prevented a shutout. It resulted in 35 shots on goal for the Hurricanes, and just 22 for the Sabres. Through the first 17 minutes of the second frame, they had just five shots on goal in the entire period before they added two more toward the end.
The Buffalo Sabres must be more like the Hurricanes moving forward
There are a lot of cues the Sabres can take in this game following their latest blowout loss. For one, the Hurricanes always seemed to position themselves well in front of the net, trying for deflections or scores off of rebounds when the shot got there.
They also took what the Sabres were giving them, which was often in the middle of the ice and down the slot. By contrast, the Blue and Gold did none of this and never established a rhythm even following goals from Mittelstadt and Tyson Jost.
Finally, special teams were awful, and when officials awarded the Buffalo Sabres a 5-on-3 advantage at one point, Carolina relentlessly found ways to disrupt the power play and clear the puck. So what can the Sabres learn to avoid repeat performances?
Take what the opposing team gives them, get skaters near and in front of the net, keep the puck moving, and take shots when they think they have an open look. It’s also become obvious that they need more work on special teams, but if they can learn a few things from the Hurricanes, it will help them for the rest of December and into the new year.
(Statistics provided by NHL.com)