Last night, we talked extensively about how poorly the Buffalo Sabres played on special teams. And as bad as they have been all season, the power play and the penalty kill hit their respective seasonal lows with the Blue and Gold finishing 1 for 4 on the penalty kill (0 for 3 really), and 0 for 6 on the man advantage.
But it was more than just bad special teams play that have led the Sabres to losing big last night. Here are three other major issues plaguing the Blue and Gold.
3 issues the Buffalo Sabres must resolve before it’s too late
1 - They need more than just 20 solid minutes of hockey
For the first 40 minutes of last night’s game, the Sabres put on a snooze fest. Yeah, they generated some opportunities here and there, but what team doesn’t over the game’s first two stanzas?
Following Erik Johnson’s goal, the Blue and Gold got some spring in their step, but by that point, it was a three-goal deficit, and too late for any comeback. If the Sabres want to win consistently, playing well in the third frame won’t cut it.
2 - Long-past overdue in surrounding the net
Last night, one team did an outstanding job surrounding the net and creating traffic around the goaltender and the other team did not. Based on the final score, you could probably guess which team enjoyed the better outing in that regard, and it’s why the Sabres managed just one goal.
I recently wrote a piece outlining the fact that the Sabres have been willing to do this, especially guys like Zach Benson. But since it wasn’t there last night, we can conclude it’s still an issue the Blue and Gold boast zero consistency in.
3 - Playing north-south hockey is the way to roll
Something else the Bruins did last night that the Sabres did not? They played solid north-south hockey while Buffalo appeared to be flat-footed, and it resulted in the former rolling with a much faster game.
When the Buffalo Sabres are moving their feet and by extension, the puck, they have shown us quite a few times they can hang with the league’s best. In instances when it doesn’t happen, an opponent will have no problem building and maintaining a three-goal lead.