The Sabres had the Vegas flu to start the game

After a horrendous first period, the Sabres slowly got into the game

Paul Hamilton
October 17, 2018 - 2:00 am

Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie - USA TODAY Sports


(WGR 550) - The Sabres have played two games in Las Vegas and haven’t even been near ready to play in either one. Last season, Buffalo got behind 4-1 before scoring three goals in the last 10 minutes of the third period to get one point out of the game.

In Tuesday’s game, Vegas just ran over the Sabres in the first 20 minutes, but only led 1-0. Shea Theodore busted in down the left wing side and undressed Rasmus Dahlin and beat Carter Hutton short side. Video coach Mat Myers did a great job of getting word down to Phil Housley that the play was offside and the goal was disallowed. It was just one of those nights for the youngster Dahlin who had his worst game as a Sabre.

After a lot of running around, the Golden Knights went on the power play and it was a veteran that killed them. Patrik Berglund got caught standing in the middle and watching. There was no awareness and no reaction when Jonathan Marchessault went right by him and William Karlsson found him for the power play goal. I like that Phil Housley took Berglund off the penalty kill and basically benched him after that. Berglund played 9:37 for the game. The veteran had three shifts in the second period and three shifts in the third.

All six defensemen were horrendous in the first, especially Jake McCabe and Nate Beaulieu. Hutton made 11 first period saves and Buffalo was lucky they weren’t down by three or four. On the plus side, Zach Bogosian showed he's feeling good as he had three solid hits in the first 20 minutes.

The second period was much better as Buffalo started moving its feet and getting some offensive zone possession. Early in the period, Buffalo went on the power play with a chance to forget about the first period. Their smartest player made a dumb play trying to enter the zone through three players. Cody Eakin took the puck away from Sam Reinhart and took off on a 2-on-1. Rasmus Ristolainen played it perfectly and took the passing lane away. Hutton has to play the shooter, but Eakin somehow got it by him for a shorthanded goal. Hutton has got to make that save.

Fleury took over the second half of the period making back-to-back saves on Jeff Skinner and Kyle Okposo and 11 saves on the period.

Vegas started a parade to the penalty box, but the Sabres couldn’t break through in six power play opportunities. That’s six opportunities for Jack Eichel, Reinhart, Okposo, Skinner, Ristolainen, Conor Sheary, Dahlin, Casey Mittelstadt, Tage Thompson and Evan Rodrigues to come through when their team needed them the most amd none of them did.

The Sabres had 22 shots in the final 40 minutes, but you can’t sleepwalk through the first 20 minutes and expect to beat a team as good as Vegas.    

The Sabres ran into a Vegas team that played their best hockey except for the penalties. Buffalo played somewhat better as the game went on, but were at their worst for the first 20 minutes. That marks three games where they were bad coming out for the first period. That is a big thing that needs to change fast.

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