The Buffalo Sabres hit the road for the first time in the 2015-16 National Hockey League season, and headed to Sunrise, Florida to take on the Florida Panthers.
A neat side note, the MSG broadcast noted this was the first time in franchise history that the Sabres began their season road schedule against the Panthers.
Now, onto the game.
The first period was a bit of back and forth action, until defensemen Mike Weber and Josh Gorges found themselves in the penalty box with separate infractions.
While attempting to kill off the penalty, the Sabres made a simple mistake that has bitten many teams over the years. They left Jaromir Jagr wide open just feet from the goalmouth, which Aleksander Barkov did not miss.
First period was rolled over into the second because of an Evander Kane check that broke the glass and board at the BB&T Center.
Evander Kane hit that broke the boards pic.twitter.com/jY8PVcqIof
— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 16, 2015
When the first period resumed, Jagr found himself getting on the board again. This man can’t be stopped.
Buffalo would get one back on Jake McCabe’s first National Hockey League goal (WATCH HERE). McCabe trailed the play and found himself in the right place at the right time. An nifty tap-in for his first goal.
The Florida Panthers came out in the third with a strong response, after the Sabres controlled the 2nd. Just 4:24 into the period, Aleksander Barkov scored his 2nd of the year. This put Florida up 3-1, and would go in the books as the game-winning goal (spoiler alert).
Buffalo would finally take advantage one of the the many man advantages they had, but it was too little too late.
Tyler Ennis’ first goal of the season would pull the Sabres to a 3-2 deficit. That would be how the game ended.
A disappointing ending to a somewhat entertaining game, but we’ve all grown used to that as fans of the Buffalo Sabres.
Time to take a look at what things popped out throughout the game tonight.
- Death, taxes and Jaromir Jagr
What can I say that hasn’t already been said throughout the rungs of NHL media?
Jaromir Jagr is such a treat to watch.
According to NHL Public Relations, Jagr’s power play goal in the first period moves him within 2 points of tying Red Wings great Nick Lidstrom (588 points) for 3rd all-time in power play points.
Not to be stopped there, Jagr would score again (even-strength) before the first period ended. As you watched the game, it felt like the second because the first rolled over due to a glass/board issue (the issue is highlighted above in a fancy GIF).
Jagr would later add an assist on the power play, so he finishes tonight’s game with 587 career points on the power play.
At the conclusion of his 84th career game against the Buffalo Sabres, we update you with Jagr v. Sabres: 84 games, 44 goals, 57 assists, 101 points.
Hockey is going to be less exciting without Jagr on the ice, if he ever does end up hanging up his skates. #JagrForever
A year ago, this word did not exist in any Buffalo Sabres fans’ dictionary. What does it mean to be resilient?
Re-watch after Jagr’s second goal through the remainder of 1st and 2nd period. The Buffalo Sabres did not put their tail between their legs and mail it in.
This talented squad found a way to take a dent out of the lead that Florida had manufactured.
Buffalo would not only out shoot Florida 14-6 in the second, but Jake McCabe’s heads up crashing of the net (and credit where it is due, a good pass from Marcus Foligno) cut the lead in half.
Forget that the start of the third period happened though, because it thoroughly ruins the point I just tried to make.
- Lack of Special Teams
Before you complain, yes I understand..we are 4 games into an 82 game season, things will become much clearer as the Sabres play more games.
Heading into tonight’s matchup with the Panthers, Buffalo sat at 33.3% on the power play (tied for 3rd in the NHL). After tonight’s game, it is clear that the power play needs some work.
Tonight’s game provided 6 power play opportunities for the Buffalo Sabres. They scored on one. Yuck, I need some Pepto after that one.
Players are still figuring out their roles, but you can’t expect to win a ton of hockey games when you score 1 of 6 times when given a man-advantage.
Also, the penalty kill was less then stellar, which continues a season-long (cut me some slack and allow me to be overdramatic) trend.
Buffalo entered tonight’s matchup with the 6th-worst penalty killing percentage (66.7%) in the league. Buffalo put Florida on the man-advantage 5 times and allowed them to score twice.
If you can’t stop a power play goal from happening, things need to be tightened up so your team stops taking so many penalties.