Game 50: Sabres Get Goalie'd at the Worst Time
Almost everything about the Sabres' 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars was exactly what they want to do in every game, but Jake Oettinger got in the way.
BUFFALO — A loss like the one the Buffalo Sabres had on Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars is one most teams could swallow a little easier earlier on in a season.
Unfortunately for the Sabres, who are desperate to hang onto the hope of the postseason as games count down, a 2-1 loss in which Stars goalie Jake Oettinger made 47 saves and looked every bit of being one of the NHL’s top goaltenders does not get taken easily.
Getting stoned by Oettinger all game long apart from Tage Thompson’s trademarked rocket from the circle on a first-period power play was frustrating. Rasmus Dahlin on multiple occasions showed his frustration as chances were turned away or missed. He even grabbed a puck that went off the netting after Oettinger deflected his shot away with the shaft of his goal stick and spiked it onto the ice. Casey Mittelstadt screamed late in the third period when Oettinger came up big on one of his scoring chances.
Games like this happen throughout the year and when a great goaltender has an elite performance against your team, sometimes you have to tip your cap. And the Sabres did…but they weren’t happy about having to do so.
“We’ve had lots of frustration this year,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “I think about frustration through other games and it’s completely different. We weren’t at the place we’re at now. We have much greater conviction, much greater confidence. I don’t worry about guys being frustrated right now. I think pissed off is probably a much more appropriate term than frustrated.”
On a night where the Sabres showed all the signs of being the dangerous team they can be but had to eat another loss, there are a lot of positive things to examine despite yet another difficult—and ultimately ill-timed—loss.