The Buffalo Sabres now fall to 14-18-4 as they lose 4-1 at home to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night. After surrending an even-strength goal a little over four minutes into the game, three straight powerplay tallies by the Bruins – including two from Charlie Coyle – put them down and out by the latter half of the second period.
Erik Johnson recorded the Sabres lone marker early into the third, proving to be meaningless to the outcome of the game.
Charlie Coyle was the clear beneficiary of a promotion to the top powerplay unit, cashing in on two opportunities with the help of Boston’s top offensive talent. His even-strength line, which included Danton Heinen and Trent Frederic, also carried play and were the team’s most effective forwards along with James van Riemsdyk.
Boston’s powerplay (or perhaps the Sabres penalty kill) were hands-down the difference on the scoreboard. Devon Levi made some key saves on rush chances, but with a man-down there were too many juicy rebounds.
Losing Tage Thompson for personal reasons also played a huge role in the outcome of this game, as Buffalo whiffed on all six of its powerplay opportunities. The Sabres were forced to start an ineffective Tyson Jost between Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch on its top line.
The JJ Peterka – Dylan Cozens – Jack Quinn line was far and away Buffalo’s best in this one. Since being reunited, the chemistry and creativity in the offensive zone and on the rush have been very apparent. It’s like they picked up where they left off last season, which is an encouraging sign for Sabres fans.
The Sabres next game is at home Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, who embarrassed them at KeyBank Center a couple weeks ago. Buffalo will look to avenge the 9-4 defeat as well as bounce back from tonight’s blunder. We’ll keep an eye on the status of Thompson and potential length of his absence.