The Buffalo Sabres poured on 48 shots but came up short 2-1 to the Dallas Stars Tuesday night. The loss is a frustrating one for the Sabres, as they dominated possession and controlled even-strength play but could only slip one goal past Jake Oettinger.
The Stars led off the scoring on the powerplay nearly four minutes into the first period, as Matt Duchene was able to beat Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen from the left flank. The Sabres responded with a powerplay goal of their own, as Tage Thompson ripped a bomb of a slapshot past Oettinger in the second period.
— Buffalo Hockey Moments (@SabresPlays) February 7, 2024
About three minutes later, an awkward save by Luukkonen slipped out of his grasp. Radek Faksa found the loose puck and batted it into the net off of Sam Steel. The odd goal proved to be the difference-maker, as the Stars held off the Sabres throughout the third.
To say it was a goaltender’s duel is an understatement. Oettinger’s 47 save-night was spectacular, and Luukkonen was incredible as the Sabres fought through a parade to the penalty box.
Oettinger was the game’s top player, continually foiling the Sabres at even-strength and on the powerplay.
From a skater’s side, Rasmus Dahlin had a game-high and career-high 15 shot attempts. He was visibly frustrated as none of his eight shots on goal found the back of the net.
As the Sabres continued to pour on the shot attempts in the third period, they hit a couple of huge speed bumps. Not one but two 5-on-3 shorthanded situations in the third had the Sabres pinned to their own zone instead of pushing for the equalizer as they hoped.
“Ridiculously tough situations,” head coach Don Granato stated postgame. “Some of the calls were just…interesting to say the least.”
The calls on their own may have been justified. However, it’s just rare to see a team down a goal have to battle through four consecutive penalties in the final frame.
The Sabres have three practice days ahead of them before hosting the St. Louis Blues in a 1 pm Saturday matinee. The Blues are coming off a loss, but are 6-3-1 in their last 10. The game will be nationally televised on ABC.