Overreactions with 48 to go: Sabres can’t hold on to late lead, fall to Bruins in OT

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After the previous night’s debacle, heading into Boston against a rested Bruins team, one would’ve reasonably expected a decisive result against the favor of the Sabres. Buffalo didn’t go down easy. In fact, they almost had a heck of a win.

Despite tired legs, and losing both their captain Brian Gionta and dreamboat winger Marcus Foligno in the first period, the increasingly depleted Sabres surrendered a late lead before allowing the extra-time winner in a 4-3 overtime defeat in Boston.

Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton’s second of the game with 1:31 remaining forced the extra session, and it was Loui Eriksson who netted the winner at 2:14 of overtime to hand Buffalo the loss.

Hamilton opened the scoring in the first period, but second period markers by Sabres defensemen Andrej Meszaros and Rasmus Ristolainen would give Buffalo a brief lead. “Brief” would be exactly one minute, as Boston’s Chris Kelly answered Ristolainen’s goal exactly a minute later, tipping in a Zdeno Chara point shot.

460762632_slideThe Sabres would take the lead in the third on New Hampshire native Tim Schaller’s first National Hockey League goal. Schaller, recalled from Rochester last night, beat Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask on a wraparound early in the period. Hamilton would tie it later on in the period.

Jhonas Enroth stopped 33 shots in the overtime loss, as he filled in for an ill Michal Neuvirth, who was expected to start.

  • Sabres coach Ted Nolan said after the game that Marcus Foligno would be out for a while. It’s assumed he hurt himself in the fight with Boston’s Matt Bartkowski. Sort of a shame he’ll be out, as he’d been on a pretty solid run of good play of late.
  • The Bartkowski hit on Gionta is one of those predatory hits that show a lack of respect between players. You don’t line a guy up like that to get control of the puck. You line him up to take advantage of his prone position. There may not be any supplemental discipline, as he already was assessed a major and game misconduct. Just a scummy hit.
  • Good for Tim Schaller, scoring his first NHL goal in front of his family and close to home. He said on the postgame that he went to Bruins games all the time growing up. Dream come true for the kid, who has earned his looks for the Sabres this season.
  • At what point should an adult ask people to stop calling him “Dougie?”
  • With Foligno and possibly Gionta out for Tuesday in Detroit, we may finally see Joel Armia’s NHL debut. Remains to be seen if some of the ill players are healthy enough to go (see: Moulson, Matt; Kaleta, Patrick) but with the holiday break awaiting, it might be a good idea to let the sick rest and give as many kids their shot as possible.
  • Brian Flynn played a season-high 19:08, assisted on Schaller’s goal and was on the ice for Ristolainen’s goal as well. Reminder: Ted Nolan scratched him for the entire month of October.
  • Sort of scary that Mark Pysyk was, outside of Rasmus Ristolainen, the Sabres’ best defenseman on the night. Making his season debut, he finished third among blueliners with 19:58 TOI, and looked like the calm veteran paired with Nikita Zadorov. There’s a reason he’s been in Rochester all year. It’s because he’s too good to be on this team right now.
  • Andrej Mezaros has as many goals as Tyler Myers this season.
  • Chris Stewart’s been quietly racking up some points. Three assists in the last four games. Hopefully he keeps it up. You’d like to see him in the 20-point range at minimum once the deadline rolls around. Gotta maximize that return.

3MI Three Star Selections
1. Dougie Hamilton, Boston
2. Loui Eriksson, Boston
3. Tim Schaller, Buffalo

Official Three Stars of the Game
1. Loui Eriksson, Boston (GW Goal (7), assist)
2. Dougie Hamilton, Boston (2 goals (7), assist)
3. Tim Schaller, Buffalo (1st NHL Goal (1))

Quote of the night:

“The way the game ended, you’re disappointed, but the effort, we couldn’t ask for more.”

— Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan

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Posted on December 22, 2014, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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