Were the two losses to Anaheim costly to the Sabres season?

Feb 19, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Anaheim Ducks right wing Troy Terry (19) celebrates his goal
Feb 19, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA; Anaheim Ducks right wing Troy Terry (19) celebrates his goal / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

While they have not been officially eliminated from playoff contention, it seems like the Buffalo Sabres will miss the postseason for a 13th consecutive season. After what we saw last year and the team missing the playoffs by one point, everyone had high hopes for the Sabres.

As every team has when they miss the postseason, there are some "what if" games they had during the year. For Buffalo, two games that stand out to me. There were awful losses such as the Columbus game in Buffalo back in December.

Obviously, the losses against bad teams or teams you should be able to beat hurt even more. Two of those losses were against the Anaheim Ducks. The first time Buffalo and Anaheim saw each other was back in January before the All-Star break. It was a 4-2 loss for the Sabres and they were down 3-0 heading into the third.

Even though Buffalo scored two goals to get themselves back in the game, it was too little too late as they lost. They would see each other one more time less than a month later in Buffalo for a Monday matinee. It was a very strange game and it resulted in another defeat for the Sabres.

After both teams scored once in the first period, they went back and forth in the second. Tage Thompson gave Buffalo their second lead of the game but Frank Vatrano scored two straight to give the Ducks their first lead. Zach Benson tied things up less than a minute later but Troy Terry would end up scoring the game-winning goal in the dying minutes of the second period.

There is still time left in the season but two losses to the Ducks is inexcusable. Anaheim's record will change but at the moment, they are 24-43-3 with 51 points and second last in the Pacific Division. Overall, they were the third-worst team in the league.

Yes, I realize there are other games the Sabres lost, but who knows where they would be if they beat the Ducks. It just goes to show you there is no easy game in the NHL. But if you're a team like Buffalo who wants to end the longest playoff drought in the NHL, you cannot lose those games.