Tough Season Gets Even Tougher for the Buffalo Sabres
Can things get any worse for the Buffalo Sabres. As if a miserable season wasn't bad enough, they may play the rest of the season without their best player. Jack Eichel was injured in the first period against Boston Saturday and on Sunday the Sabres announced that Eichel has a high ankle sprain, similar to one he had at the beginning of last season that forced him to miss 21 games.
So the Sabres have a tough job ahead of them if they want to finish the season with even a small slice of success. Sunday night's 5-4 loss to the Colorado Avalanche is not what they had in mind. And it started in the first minute of the first period. Poor defensive coverage allowed a breakaway goal and the Avalanche never trailed the rest of the game.
Coach Phil Housley said after the game the team had too many passengers and one of them was defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen who was on the ice for all five Colorado goals. Housley benched him for long stretches of 5 on 5 play and played him only on special teams. There were others too and it came just one night after they had played so well against the Boston Bruins.
Benoit Pouliot and Casey Nelson scored shorthanded goals for Buffalo. Ryan O'Reilly scored on the power play to go along with a pair of assists. Evander Kane got credit for a late third period goal that actually went into the net off a Colorado stick to close within one, but the Sabres couldn't get the tying goal.
Robin Lehner stopped 22 shots, but it wasn't one of his better games. Neither was it a very good game for the Buffalo defenders.
It gets only tougher from here. The Sabres host the Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.