A weekend worth forgetting

Between the Sabres losing twice and the Patriots winning, nothing went right

Howard Simon
January 14, 2019 - 10:57 am

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

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This past sports weekend stunk.

The Buffalo Sabres lost to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday thanks to a slew of fluky goals. Then the Sabres lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday after they were unable to hold on to a third period lead. Thanks to the out of town scoreboard, they also dropped out of a playoff spot for the first time since before Halloween.

To top off the three days of sports misery, the New England Patriots pulled a Monty Python (they're not dead yet).

I guess the Sabres loss to Carolina should come as no surprise since Buffalo has now dropped the last seven meetings with the Hurricanes, but the breaks were definitely going the way of the team from the south. Three of the Hurricanes' four goals went in off of Sabres players. At least Jeff Skinner scored in his return to Raleigh, netting his 30th goal of the season. Skinner is the first Sabre to reach the 30-goal mark since Jason Pominville in 2012.

I was pinning my weekend hopes on that game because I wasn't expecting much the next night against Tampa Bay, the best team in the league. As it turns out, the loss to the Lightning bothered me more because the Sabres played well and took a 3-2 lead in the third period on a rare Marco Scandella drives to the net for a goal. The good feeling lasted just 23-seconds thanks to a Lawrence Pilut turnover in the Sabres end, which was cashed in by the Lightning.

A questionable penalty on Jack Eichel negated a Sabres power play and Tampa scored the go-ahead goal during four-on-four play. After watching the replay numerous times, I don't think Eichel should have received the elbowing penalty, but watching it live I can understand why a referee would make the call. 

Unfortunately, the Sabres don't get any points for a valiant effort. They desperately need points, but came away from the weekend with none. They really need to get four of the six points available on this three-game swing through Western Canada that begins on Monday in Edmonton.

The Sabres have cooled off since the 10-game win streak with just six wins (6-10-4) in the 20 games played since the streak ended in Tampa. In the meantime, the teams ahead/around them are playing their best hockey of the season. The Boston Bruins has won 9-of-12, and now hold down third place in the Atlantic Division. The New York Islanders are in the first wild card spot thanks to 11 wins in their last 13 games. The Montreal Canadiens are the exception, sitting in the second wild card spot. They've lost three of five, but while the Sabres have picked up just 16 points over the last 20 games, Montreal has gotten 24 points in the same stretch. If the Sabres look over their shoulders, they will find Carolina hot on their tail. The Hurricanes are just three points in back of Buffalo and have won seven of their last eight.

I really needed the Los Angeles Chargers to pick my spirits up, and they just made matters worse. The Chargers were dominated by the Patriots, who have advanced to the AFC Championship for the eighth straight year. Tom Brady dinked and dunked the Chargers to death, completing 34-of-44 passes for 343 yards. The Patriots scored a touchdown on each of their first four drives, quickly putting any thoughts of an upset to bed. 

I think it's safe to say the Kansas City Chiefs have never had as many NFL fans rooting for them as they will Sunday night.

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