Buffalo's playoff hopes take a crushing blow in lackluster loss to Edmonton

Mar 21, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Buffalo Sabres forward Alex Tuch (89) tries to get to a loose
Mar 21, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Buffalo Sabres forward Alex Tuch (89) tries to get to a loose / Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a frustrating loss against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night, the Buffalo Sabres played their fourth game of a five-game road trip. Their opponent, the Edmonton Oilers. It was the second and final meeting of the season as Buffalo beat Edmonton just a couple of weeks ago in a shootout.

This was a MUST-WIN for the Sabres. With the out-of-town scoreboard not going their way, they needed two points if they wanted to give themselves a shot at the postseason. While this wasn't an elimination game, Buffalo needed to get the victory.

It was a good first period for the Sabres as JJ Peterka gave them a 1-0 lead early. After a disallowed Rasmus Dahlin goal because of a couple of players going offsides, Victor Olofsson made it 2-0 as his goal was not going to come back.

Unfortunately for Buffalo, the very talented Oilers power play unit had a chance to cut the lead in half. Leon Draisaitl made the Sabres pay and it was 2-1. While Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen would want the goal back, he made some huge saves as Buffalo had the lead going into the second period.

There is no easy win in the NHL. But when you're facing a good team like Edmonton, nothing comes easy and the Sabres found that out in the second period. The Oilers evened things up thanks to Mattias Ekholm scoring just a few minutes into the period.

Peterka scored his second of the night after a great pass by Connor Clifton to give Buffalo a 3-2 lead. However, it wouldn't last long. With 18 seconds remaining, Zach Hyman scored on a deflection and the score was 3-3 heading into the final 20 minutes of play.

I don't know what happened to the Sabres but they looked so uninspired and left Luukkonen out to dry. As a result, Edmonton scored two straight goals to make it 5-3 as they had Buffalo on the ropes. After having a chance to get back within one on the power play, the Sabres let Hyman score one more time, extending the lead to 6-3.

The torture would not stop as Edmonton added two more as they blew out the Sabres 8-3.

Postgame thoughts

Buffalo played pretty well for the first half of the game. They showed some resiliency but after Peterka's second goal, they disappeared. Luukkonen received no help and Buffalo was a no-show in the third.

While they have not been eliminated from playoff contention, tonight's loss was a huge blow. The Sabres will conclude their five-game road trip in Calgary on Sunday night.