Game 64: Yikes
There's not much else to glean from a 10-4 loss other than figuring out what exactly the problem is and what can be done about it
BUFFALO — “Something good has to come of this,” Buffalo Sabres coach Don Granato said after his team took a 10-4 loss at home on the chin against the Dallas Stars.
Finding positives in a game like that is nearly as tall of a task as it is having the youngest team in the NHL try to lock down a playoff spot in their first experience tracking one down. This brutal loss came exactly a week after a 7-1 loss on the road against the Boston Bruins that played out in somewhat similar fashion.
Mental and game mistakes turned into goals against and even though efforts were made to try to get back into it, late third period goals turned what was a close game into an embarrassing laugher for their foes. That they came against top teams like Boston and Dallas offered little consolation because those teams are looking at finishing at the top of their conferences, it’s about how the Sabres handled (or didn’t) their own end of things.
In each of those games, would be/could be/need-to-be starting goalies Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Eric Comrie bore the brunt of the full 60 minutes. Luukkonen was at least spared with his goals-against average because of a pair of empty-net goals, but Comrie had to eat all 10 against Dallas. In both games, however, no one was blameless although Granato and the players made sure to say it wasn’t the goalies’ fault for getting run out of the barn.
“We absolutely hung him out to dry and that can’t happen,” Sabres captain Kyle Okposo said. “Those turnovers in our zone, the carelessness when the game got out of hand there. That’s something you learn when you’re eight years old – you don’t hang your goalie out to dry and we did that tonight. Like I said, uncharacteristic of our group but something that’s going to be discussed.”
Having that discussion twice in a week doesn’t inspire confidence during what’s the most pressure-packed point of the season. But there’s a snowball effect of how little things can make big implosions occur.
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