The Sabres played the Islanders tough and even, but lost in overtime

Jack Eichel extended his league-high point streak to 16 games

Paul Hamilton
December 14, 2019 - 7:34 pm
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Photo: Andy Marlin - USA TODAY Sports

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(WGR 550) - The Sabres have nothing to be down about after losing to the Islanders on Saturday in overtime. Buffalo played a good, hard game against a very good team that’s tough to play against.

The Sabres weren’t afraid to hit, they were on their toes getting to battles and competing from start to finish. Now, of course, it wasn’t perfect and there were some mistakes, but getting the overtime point gives the Sabres points in 10-of-12 games, picking up 16-of-24 points.

Their record is 6-2-4, and there are some that would insist on saying that’s 6-6 which is true, but this is a league where points percentage is king and 16 out of 24 is a healthy points percentage of .667

The Sabres also have points in nine out of 10 games, going 5-1-4. Yes, that’s 5-5, but it’s also a points percentage of .700.

Buffalo did try to sabotage themselves in the second period when they took three penalties in 6:13, but they killed all three off beautifully. New York hardly even had a scoring chance. The Sabres have been perfect on the PK for the last three games.

The power play also came through, going 2-for-3. Rasmus Dahlin has really helped the power play move the puck better since he’s been back from a concussion. On Victor Olofsson’s goal, he put a pass right in the winger’s wheelhouse and Olofsson just unloaded his 14th goal. That gives the rookie points in 16-of-19 games, scoring eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points.

Jack Eichel got the other assist on the goal, extending his NHL season long point streak to 16 games.

For some reason, Mat Barzal had a problem with Dahlin and with a one-goal lead and just 3:33 left in the game, he lined up Dahlin, jumped off his skates and hit his head right into the glass. It was a total cheap shot and put his team down.

Near the end of the power play, Ralph Krueger pulled Linus Ullmark to make it a 6-on-4 power play, and had Rasmus Ristolainen go straight from the bench to the goal crease. Marcus Johansson’s shot was stopped by Semyon Varlamov, but the Islanders couldn't move the big and strong Ristolainen, who poked the puck to Eichel. The captain then backhanded home his 23rd goal of the season and fifth goal in three games.

Unfortunately for Eichel, his day got a little dimmer as in overtime, he led a 3-on-2 rush up the right side. He tried a pass that was a little behind him and was cross-ice. Brock Nelson tipped the puck before it got to Sam Reinhart. The Sabres had a 3-on-2 because Anthony Beauvillier had fallen. The Islanders forward got back up and was ready to pick up the tipped puck and walk in alone on Linus Ullmark. Beauvillier had a goal and two assists on the afternoon.

I thought there were many parts of this game where the Sabres were outstanding. The style Barry Trotz plays can be very frustrating because his team plays it well and they never let up. He makes teams fight for every inch, and it was a hard fought and well earned point.

Zach Bogosian was a healthy scratch for the second straight game and asking to be traded shows head coach Ralph Krueger that he doesn’t have a complete buy-in from Bogosian. Krueger doesn’t seem to have any time for players that don’t buy into to concept of anything for the team, and Bogosian may sit until he can prove to the head coach that he has bought in.

Bogosian said on Friday that he’s happy where his game is at, but he’s in a minority there, and Krueger certainly isn’t happy where Bogosian's game is at.

Bogosian never bought into what Dan Bylsma or Phil Housley were selling either, but the difference is, neither coach made him a healthy scratch.

Buffalo’s off until Tuesday in Toronto.

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