Game 28: The Uphill Climb
Bad news, frustration, a valiant effort, but another loss to Pittsburgh, this time on the road
PITTSBURGH — Picking the proper word to apply to the Sabres 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday night at PPG Paints Arena requires including everything that encompassed the day.
The drive to Pittsburgh was a gloomy, overcast one and the wait to hear what the decision on Jeff Skinner’s punishment for blasting Jake Guentzel in the face with a cross-check loomed through the afternoon. When the Department of Player Safety’s decision came through the decision was a three-game suspension.
What was unknown to the public until about 5:30 p.m. was there was more bad news awaiting. The Sabres announced defenseman Henri Jokiharju will be out week-to-week with a lower-body injury he sustained in the first period of Friday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Penguins in Buffalo. A week-to-week diagnosis means it’ll be a while before he’s back.
To add to the foreboding feeling of the day, Penguins star defenseman Kris Letang returned to action 12 days after he suffered a stroke. A grim day with bad news headed into a raucous arena on the road with a superstar player returning after another horrible health scare.
Even with all that lined up against Buffalo…they didn’t fare so badly. It’s the sort of game in past years they’d get run off the ice in a 6-1 blowout while the home fans celebrated away. But there is no solace in losing even in the kind of season the Sabres are having in which they’re spending as much time learning as playing and usually simultaneously.
There are some takeaways from this game…
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