Buffalo Sabres Close Another Dismal Season With A Loss
After going thru the motions in an embarrassing and uninspired effort the night before against the Florida Panthers, the Buffalo Sabres showed slightly more spirit Sunday in Tampa, but lost anyway 4-2. The Lightning scored the winning goal with just 1:24 left to play, then scored into an empty net to clinch it.
Making his first start of the season goaltender Linus Ullmark was easily the best player on the ice and he deserved a better result. He stopped 26 of 28 Tampa shots, many of them spectacular. The game winner deflected off the skate of defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and Ullmark didn't have a chance.
William Carrier opened the scoring for the Sabres, but the Lightning tied it in the second period and then took the lead on a shorthanded goal.
Evander Kane scored his 28th goal of the season in the third period to tie the game at 2-2. The Sabres had some good chances to score after than and nearly tied it again after Tampa went ahead 3-2, but just not enough to get it done.
The Sabres close the season with losses in five of their last six games and the franchise faces its sixth consecutive season out of the playoffs. Lots of improvement needs to be made in all areas especially on defense. And so many questions need to be answered in the offseason especially on whether coach Dan Balsyma will return for a third year.
The Sabres clean out their lockers on Monday.