Another game, another loss for the Buffalo Sabres. After jumping out to a 2-0 on Thursday night in Carolina, the Sabres surrendered three consecutive goals and dropped their sixth straight game, 4-3 in overtime.
Things looked like they had finally turned around for Buffalo after goals from Derek Roy and Jochen Hecht put the Sabres up 2-0.
But things quickly went south after a bad cross checking penalty by the captain, Craig Rivet, allowed the Hurricanes to cut the deficit in half.
After two consecutive penalties following Rivet’s cross check and several scoring chances, Carolina finally tied the game up with just two seconds left in the first period.
A poor line change in the second period led to a four-on-zero rush for the Hurricanes, which Ryan Miller stopped.
However, after the Sabres charged back up ice and turned the puck over, Carolina countered with a two-on-one and they were not stopped this time. Stephane Yelle ripped a wrist shot past Miller to give the Hurricanes the lead.
Buffalo tied the game up midway through the third when Roy banked a shot off of a defender for his second goal of the game.
The game ended in overtime when Steve Montador fell after he opted to skate the puck behind the Buffalo net. The puck landed on the stick of Brandon Sutter, who found a wide open Sergei Samsonov to ice it for the Canes.
While Buffalo looked great for the first 15 minutes of the game, it quickly turned into the same story it has been over the past six games for the struggling Sabres—poor coaching decisions, bad defense, blown covers, undisciplined penalties, and questionable pinches were all prevalent in the loss.
The newly assembled line of Roy, Drew Stafford, and Clarke MacArthur only played one period together. The tandem combined for one goal and six shots in the first.
Regardless of the success of the line, head coach Lindy Ruff dropped MacArthur off of the line and re-added Thomas Vanek in what seemed to be a “panic” move.
Buffalo was once again plagued by another weak defensive effort from Montador, Rivet, and Toni Lydman. Montador was a minus-2 in his first game back from a small injury.
Rivet seemed to be the cause of the Sabres’ problems after taking a poorly timed cross checking penalty late in the first period.
Lydman blew his coverage on the first Carolina goal and was in the penalty box for the second one.
It was Ruff, however, who began to lose faith in his new defensive pairings and switched them in the beginning of the second period.
The constant switching of lines seems to be hurting the team more than helping it.
Before the losing streak, the Sabres had not lost a game all season when leading by at least two goals. Thursday’s loss marks the second time the Sabres have blown a two-goal lead in the last 11 days.
Miller, who has looked uncharacteristically shaky as of late, stopped 31 shots in the loss. He stopped several odd-man rushes and kept Buffalo in the game when Carolina could have ran away with it.
The Sabres have not won in February, and Saturday night’s game against the Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks is not going to make things easier.