The first 12 minutes of the game belonged completely to the Minnesota Wild. Of the first 8 shifts, the Sabres had possession in their offensive zone for one of them. Joel Eriksson Ek found the back of the net on a wrist shot from the wall, a shot that has to be stopped by Nilsson. Eriksson Ek was the 20th overall pick of the Wild in 2015. He has had an impressive start to his season with 2 goals and 3 assists in 5 games.
The Sabres bounced back, pouring on pressure for the next few minutes, but a Ristolainen penalty killed their momentum. The Sabres killed it off, but were unable to build on the shifts from before.
With 5 minutes remaining in the 1st, Jason Zucker blew by Cody Franson on a breakaway to, and beat Nilsson to make it 2-0. On the play both Franson and McCabe got caught outside the faceoff dots, and Zucker, who is very fast, split them with ease and beat Nilsson with a forehand-backhand move.
The Sabres were flat for the rest of the period. They were outshot 13-8 in the first.
The second started off completely different. The Sabres came out flying, outshooting the Wild 16-1 in the first 7 minutes! Seven of those came on the power-play. Tyler Ennis came close on several occasions to getting his second of the year. He could have had two or three goals given his chances on the first power-play.
The rest of the period was mostly even. The Sabres received loud boos later in the period after a horrible power-play.
The boos continued at the end of the period. The Sabres failed to score a goal after finishing the period outshooting Minnesota 19-4.
Just three minutes in the Wild were back at it, as Ryan Suter picked the top corner with a wrist shot to make it 3-0.
The Sabres finally started to get some chances late in the third, but by that time there was maybe a third of the fans left to see it. Despite again outshooting the Wild 10-5 in the third, the Sabres failed to score a goal.
- Scratch Cody Franson
Franson was a train-wreck against the Wild. He consistently gets beat by faster players. If he was making a difference on the power-play than there would be reason to keep him in. However, he has made no contributions with the man advantage. I think it’s about time we see Casey Nelson in the lineup in his place.
- Anders Nilsson is just not good
I thought that acquiring Nilsson in the offseason was a mistake. He has a career save percentage lower than most backup goalies in the NHL. The first goal against him was a soft one on a wrist shot from the wall, and he arguably should have made saves on the second and third as well. If he doesn’t improve than a strong case could be made the Sabres need a goalie, or they should call up Linus Ullmark.
- Tyler Ennis is back?
Ennis was the Sabres best player against the Wild. Seemingly every shift he was on the ice involved a scoring chance created by him. Problem is he didn’t get a puck into the net. While it is encouraging to see Ennis looking dynamic again, it’s worrysome that after all those chances he had nothing to show for it. With Eichel and Kane out that will have to change.
- Nolan Patrick?
Too soon? For those that do not know, Nolan Patrick is the projected 1st overall pick in the upcoming NHL draft. The Sabres currently sit dead last in the Eastern Conference. They have to get this train back on the rails soon, because if it gets away from them, we could be having the Nolan Patrick discussion by Christmas.
- One Team. One Goal.
— Erin Vukelic⚓ (@ErinVukelic) October 28, 2016