The story of the preseason continued into the regular season opener, as the Buffalo Sabres appeared to be struggling with chemistry all night.
A chemistry issue is expected though when a franchise-record 9 new Buffalo Sabres made their franchise debut on Opening Night.
The first and second period were very uneventful for the Sabres, as head coach Dan Bylsma shifted through different lines and tried to hit gold with one of them.
Thankfully, the Buffalo Sabres were able to finally find a good line get on the board, on the power play. More about that in a little bit.
Tonight, it appeared as if Kyle Turris had the Sabres number. Turris would score two of the three Senators’ goals, making it look relatively easy on both occasions.
While the Sabres fell 3-1 to the Ottawa Senators, there were some storylines (positive and negative) to scoop out of this one.
- Lehner Injured
One of the biggest storylines heading into the season is whether or not goaltender Robin Lehner could remain healthy throughout the course of a season.
Unfortunately, Lehner’s lower-body gave out. Whether it was a knee or a groin, we will find out but it clearly did not look very good on the ice. Lehner’s Buffalo Sabres debut lasted 27:30
If Lehner is to miss significant time, the Buffalo Sabres could be in a world of trouble because of the lack of NHL-ready goaltending at the American Hockey League level.
Although, if there is any consolation at a time like this, goaltender Chad Johnson (also making his franchise debut) played well in relief. Johnson is set to take the reigns until further notice.
UPDATE: Our pal Joe Yerdon passes along this update. Not good looks at all.
— Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdon) October 9, 2015
- Eichel Worth The Wait
What a long, strange trip it has been this past calendar year.
The Buffalo Sabres field one of the worst lineups in franchise history and end up with forward Jack Eichel.
For the first time, we were able to see Eichel take the ice in a regular season National Hockey League game, and he did not disappoint.
Eichel would total 21:58 time on ice, tied for highest TOI for a forward (Evander Kane also 21:58 TOI). Eichel also tallied his first career NHL goal.
Left alone on the left side of the ice, Eichel was ready when he got the puck from defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. Eichel’s patience was evident on this goal, as he waited for Craig Anderson adjusted to Eichel.
A nice wrister went top shelf and went around the cage. If you don’t believe me, just check the highlight below.
Jack Eichel is on-pace to score 82 goals this season. You should’ve expected me to say that at this point. Eichelmania is running wild on this blog.
One regular season game into his young career, and I am already excited for what Eichel will bring to this team in the future.
- Mike Weber Still Not Good
The title should tell you everything you need to know. The first Ottawa Senators goal, Mike Weber decided to take the man instead of playing the puck.
Yes, it is understood that Turris was left alone in the slot and that is a death sentence for any National Hockey League goaltender.
Maybe I am biased, but Mike Weber is going to be seeing a lot less ice time when Zach Bogosian heals from his mystery lower-body injury.
- Evander Kane Scores, Or Doesnt
Ahhh, the new coaches challenge rears its head in Buffalo this evening.
Evander Kane scored a beauty of a goal, but it was found to be a no goal after video review.
Following the game, Dan Bylsma confirmed that it was indeed the right choice to challenge the play because he was aware that a Sabres forward had indeed been offsides.
The new rules hurt the Sabres now, but there is no doubt that the tables will be turned some point in the next 81 games.
- Hockey Back
We can all exhale now.The National Hockey League, for better or worse, is back in our lives. Turn to the person closest to you and give them a high five.We made it.
For the first time in a few years, it feels like progress has been made with this Buffalo Sabres franchise.
Tonight during the on-ice introductions, I had to pinch myself a few times. I know we’ve had all offseason and preseason to adjust to these new names but there is something about “YOUR 2015-16 BUFFALO SABRES” and “Evander Kane, Jack Eichel, Ryan O’Reilly” that really just had me in a different universe for a few minutes.
Things may not be the greatest this year, as Brayton and I have highlighted throughout the past few months, but this season is progress.
The Buffalo Sabres call it “#NextChapter”, we at BLTD Sports will call it positive progress.
Every hockey season is a long, winding road full of twists and turns (take Lehner’s opening night injury for example). Take it for what it is worth, and enjoy it as much as you can.
The Buffalo Sabres next play this Saturday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the First Niagara Center.
Stay tuned to BLTD Sports for the latest Buffalo Sabres news and more!