Game 46: Ah well, what're you gonna do
A regular old 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay came down to a couple of turnovers and it's only infuriating if you allow it to be.
The Sabres matinee with Tampa Bay was a bit of a measuring stick of sorts. The Lightning are classically very good and they came into the game on a winning streak. It was the right time to find out if the Sabres were up to snuff against a team that always brings out the best (and sometimes the worst) of Buffalo.
A pair of first period turnovers, one from Casey Mittelstadt in the defensive zone and another from Alex Tuch on the power play, turned into Lightning goals from Nick Paul and Tyler Motte and that was enough to ultimately put the Sabres down in a 3-1 loss.
The collective angst is understandable. It was a winnable game against a good team that ultimately fell short because of errors. It’s happened more than a few times this season and it gets tiresome to see games go that way. Add in a late power play being nullified by an awful slashing call to Zach Benson and it had all the marks of a game being “taken away” from a young team that’s been going through it all year.
It’s frustrating, it’s annoying, it’s repeated and for a lot of you it’s probably enough to last you the rest of the season. With the California trip coming up before the All-Star Break next week, it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of everyone.
“I mentioned even yesterday this is a team, this is a league, it’s puck management,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “I think Jon Cooper had a press conference yesterday and said the same thing about his team, puck management, where they don’t manage the puck well, it’s cost them, and it cost us (today) in that regard the first two goals. So it’s a big, big part of the National Hockey League is managing the puck well. When you don’t, they got guys that can convert, and that’s usually what they do before you defend. Teams are pretty good once they get in their defensive structure in this league. We were when we got in our structure and limited it. But it’s tough to get in your structure when you turn the puck over the couple times we did.”
Level-headed analysis time here…