Photo: Robert Mayer - USA TODAY Sports

Sabres lay one final egg

A no effort first period did them in

Paul Hamilton
April 07, 2018 - 9:08 pm
Categories: 

Sunrise, FL (WGR 550) - It was the last game of the season, so why should anything be different? The first period effort was disgusting throughout the lineup. It took about 16 minutes for them to have their first decent shift and get any time in the offensive zone.

Florida made it look like pond hockey out back with your friends with time to make fancy, cute plays that should’ve landed them on their backside.

About the only thing they did right was to start Josh Gorges who could be playing his final game in the NHL. Gorges was very emotional on the postgame show, says it hit him in the third period that this may be his last game. The man is a great leader and solid man. He stood up each and every time he was asked, it didn't matter how the game went. This season, he accepted his role and never complained.

Getting back to the first period, tripping penalties to Gorges and Brendan Guhle produced a 5-on-3 for Florida and a tip-in goal.

Casey Mittelstadt got one of their few chances when he picked off a pass in the slot, but was stopped by James Reimer.

The second goal came when Guhle tried to clear the puck straight up the slot and Colton Sceviour fired it home.

Guhle did nothing to close in on Evgenii Dadonov, who made a cute back pass to Nick Bjugstad who scored from a bad angle.

Johnson’s night would be done after 20 minutes. He gave up three goals and made nine saves.

The same recipe we’ve seen all season took hold in the second period. Play better and start making an offensive push after you get down by two or three, and the other team is just trying to protect the two points.

You could see the Sabres moving their feet and getting in on the attack with a little speed.

Alex Nylander had one good chance in close, but couldn’t tap it in.

They didn’t score, but at least there was some effort in the second period.

Adam Wilcox made his NHL debut and made 11 saves in the period. He had just one that you’d call difficult, Frank Vatrano from the slot. Wilcox looks like Jonathan Quick in his style, he gets down on one knee and swims the crease like a crab.

There wasn't a lot of early action in the third. Bjugstad came in and beat Wilcox, but hit the post. After that the Sabres started flying. With 14:21 gone, the Sabres held an 11-3 shots advantage. They really weren't dangerous until Jason Pominville snuck one through Reimer. Mittelstadt assisted giving him five points in his six NHL games.

It took 21 seconds to make it 3-2 when Sam Reinhart netted his 25th from the slot. The Sabres kept pressing as the Panthers just sat back and hoped they could hold off the rally.

An empty net goal made it 4-2, but Ryan O'Reilly scored a 6-on-4 power play goal with 17-seconds left. They got the puck to the net twice, but the horn went.

Buffalo out shot Florida 21-4 in the third as they dominated scoring three goals.

Wilcox didn't give up a goal in 38:39 of work making 14 saves. In a scoring quirk, he takes the loss despite not giving up a goal because the empty netter was the game winning goal.

With time winding down, Ryan O'Reilly won his 14th faceoff of the game the breaking Rob Brind'Amour's NHL record of 1,268 faceoffs won in a season.

So it's off to locker clean out day on Monday after one of the worst seasons in Sabres history. The players and Phil Housley will speak on Monday, while Jason Botterill is slated to talk on Wednesday.

04-07 Ryan O'Reilly Post-Game

Comments ()
READ MORE READ LESS