Buffalo shockingly struggled offensively again this evening, against another talented opponent. A 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning pushed Buffalo’s winless streak to 6 straight games.
Things did not start off so hot for Buffalo.
Jonathan Drouin entered the Sabres offensive zone, looking to just drive the puck deep. What would transpire led to Tampa’s first goal.
Drouin started things off with a nice back-pass from the corner to Valtteri Flippula, who in turn found a trailing Nikita Nesterov.
Nesterov’s 2nd goal of the season, at 8:15 of the first period, opened up scoring and gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead.
It would take into the second period for Tampa Bay to strike again, and their tally was an impressive one.
Valtteri Flippula handled a 5-on-2 perfectly and also handled both Jake McCabe and Cody Franson perfectly. Flippula dished the puck to Alex Killorn at the absolute last second and Killorn did not hesitate.
Killorn’s 7th goal of the season, at 7:39 of the second period, pushed Tampa Bay’s lead to 2-0.
Buffalo would finally get on the board minutes later.
An Evander Kane point shot deflected off the back wall, directly onto the stick of Cody Franson. Without hesitation, Franson took a snap shot from the half wall. The puck found a hole near Ben Bishop’s glove hand.
Franson’s 1st goal of the season, at 12:50 of the second period, not only cracked a personal 30-game goalless streak but it went in the books as the Sabres’ first goal of the season for a defenseman.
Kane's shot gets deflected, and Franson takes advantage. 💰 pic.twitter.com/iRv5iCQO0L
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) November 18, 2016
Also on the Franson goal, Taylor Fedun recorded his first point as a Buffalo Sabre.
Buffalo’s one goal deficit would not last for too long.
At 19:42 of the second period, a pinball shot from Nikita Kucherov somehow found its way through Robin Lehner’s five hole and into the net.
Kucherov’s 9th goal of the season pushed Tampa Bay’s lead to 3-1.
In the third period, Tampa Bay would push the pressure on Buffalo, rendering their already punchless offense useless.
Tampa Bay would tack on a late power-play goal, at 18:00 of the third, off the stick of Brayden Point.
Point’s 2nd goal of the season pushed Tampa Bay’s lead to 4-1, and that would end up being the final score.
With this loss, Buffalo stays in 15th place with 14 points (5-8-4 record) in 17 games.
The Buffalo Sabres take the ice next this Saturday night, when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Key Bank Center. Puck drops shortly after 7 PM and the game will be broadcast locally on MSG.
- Taylor Fedun debuts.
After an atrocious performance by Casey Nelson on Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues, a roster spot opened up. Nelson was sent down to Rochester and Taylor Fedun was recalled, providing him with the opportunity to prove his worth to the franchise while their defense ails from a mixture of injuries and ineffectiveness.
Fun fact: Taylor Fedun becomes the first Sabre to wear #38 since Nathan Paetsch last wore the number in the 2009-10 NHL season.
Fedun was indeed called up to play, and we found out before the game that Fedun would pair up with Justin Falk.
Fedun spoke to the media following practice and spoke highly of his new defensive partner. “I think he (Falk) brings a lot of experience to the table and even for someone like myself (Fedun) who’s had a lot of years down there it’s nice to know the guy to your left, he really calms things down back there. He’s been solid and nice to play with. It allows me to try and do a little bit more offensively knowing he’s a rock back there.”
In his first game as a Buffalo Sabre, Fedun logged 14:02 time-on-ice and 1 assist. Not bad.
Tonight marked the 13th NHL game of Taylor Fedun’s career, and his first since January 15, 2016 against the Carolina Hurricanes.
- The Stamkos Factor
We usually don’t talk about the other team too much in the Quick Hits, but this news was too big to pass up.
The Tampa Bay Lightning often play like a well-oiled machine. As one piece gets swapped out, the team adjusts as a whole and things still work perfectly. That thought process will again be put to the test.
It was announced on Wednesday afternoon that Steven Stamkos tore a lateral meniscus in his right knee on Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings. This is the same leg that Stamkos broke in 2013.
Injuries have crept up on Stamkos in the past few seasons, all of which just seem like bad luck. Stamkos has missed extended time due to the aforementioned broken leg, blood clots and now a ligament tear. The game of hockey is a better place with Stamkos in the Lightning lineup, so many are hoping Stamkos is returns on the earlier side of the reported 4 month absence.
- The Offense Still Sucks.
Evander Kane: "It must be a joke right now. Score two goals against the Buffalo Sabres, you'll win the game."
— Tom Martin (@4TomMartin) November 18, 2016
- Tweet of Game
First goal by a #Sabres defenseman this year. Achievement Unlocked.
— Tom Martin (@4TomMartin) November 18, 2016