The Buffalo Sabres entered this season with reason for cautious optimism and that only swelled during their 10-game winning streak from Nov. 8-27, bringing them up to a 17-6-2 record. The problem is that hot streak has ended up bring their only bright spot this season. The Sabres have been in a downward spiral since and they seem to just keep finding new lows.
Their 5-0 loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday was the third straight game that they were shutout. Buffalo is also on a seven-game losing streak and has gone 10 games without winning a contest in regulation time. You’d also have to go back to Dec. 11-13 to find the last time Buffalo has won back-to-back contests.
It’s a shame because there really was a lot of potential here. Jack Eichel is an already established star, Jeff Skinner has fit in nicely, Sam Reinhart has taken a step forward in his development, and defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is having a great rookie season. Their goaltending leaves something to be desired and their depth is questionable, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see head coach Phil Housley take the fall for this season even if this is only his second season as the Sabres’ bench boss. After all, this will be the Sabres’ eighth straight season without making the playoffs and they should be making the transition from rebuilding squad to competitor at this point.
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PITTSBURGH 5 BUFFALO 0
Casey DeSmith stopped 26 shots to earn his third shutout of the season. He has a 15-11-5 record, 2.77 GAA, and .916 save percentage in 35 contests.
Conor Sheary had a team-high six shots on DeSmith. This was his third game against his former team and he had four points in his previous two contests against them.
Phil Kessel scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist. He has 24 goals and 72 points in 71 contests in 2018-19.
Nick Bjugstad found the back of the net and recorded an assist. That gives him 11 goals and 22 points in 53 games.
Carter Hutton turned aside 23 of 28 Penguins shots. His last win was back on Feb. 23.
NY ISLANDERS 2 MONTREAL 1
Jordie Benn scored the Canadiens’ lone goal. It was his fifth marker and 19th point in 70 games.
Anders Lee netted the game-winning goal. He has 25 goals and 45 points in 70 contests.
Adam Pelech accounted for the Islanders’ other marker. That gives him five goals and 17 points in 66 games.
Thomas Greiss kicked out 33 of 34 shots Thursday night. He improved to 21-11-2 with a 2.22 GAA and .928 save percentage in 38 games.
At the other end of the ice, Carey Price stopped 36 of 38 shots. He’s allowed just four goals over three of his last four starts, but that other game in that span was a defeat where he surrendered eight goals to Anaheim.
WASHINGTON 5 PHILADELPHIA 2
Brett Connolly scored two goals, including the game-winner, and registered an assist. He has 19 goals and 39 points in 71 contests.
Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and an assist for the Capitals. He’s up to 18 goals and 62 points in 65 games.
Braden Holtby stopped 22 of 24 Flyers shots. He’s won six of his last seven starts.
James van Riemsdyk scored a goal for Philadelphia. It was his 21st goal and 38th point in 54 games.
Carter Hart saved 27 of 31 shots Thursday night. It was his first start since Feb. 21 due to an ankle injury.
OTTAWA 2 ST. LOUIS 0
Anders Nilsson saved 35 shots to earn his second shutout of 2018-19 and sixth of his career. He has a 12-17-1 record, 2.98 GAA, and .908 save percentage in 31 games.
Alex Pietrangelo shot a team-high five shots on Nilsson. He’s fired five or more shots on six occasions this season and has found the back of the net in three of those games.
Jake Allen stopped 19 of 20 Senators shots. He has an 18-17-6 record, 2.85 GAA, and .904 save percentage in 43 games.
Christian Wolanin scored the game-winning goal. It was his fourth goal and eighth point in 20 games.
Chris Tierney also found the back of the net for the Senators. He has nine goals and 44 points in 71 contests.
TAMPA BAY 5 DETROIT 4
Nikita Kucherov scored two goals and registered two assists. The Lightning forward has 35 goals and a league-leading 115 points in 71 contests.
Brayden Point found the back of the net and recorded two helpers for Tampa Bay. That gives him 38 goals and 86 points in 69 games.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 23 of 27 Red Wings shots. He’s up to a 33-8-4 record with a 2.27 GAA and .929 save percentage in 45 starts.
Michael Rasmussen netted a goal and registered an assist for Detroit. He has eight goals and 17 points in 59 games.
Jimmy Howard stopped 34 of 39 shots Thursday night. He’s surrendered 11 goals over his last two starts.
DALLAS 4 MINNESOTA 1
Jason Zucker netted the Wild’s lone goal. It was his 21st goal and 38th point in 70 games.
Devan Dubnyk turned aside 27 of 30 shots last night. He has a 27-24-6 record, 2.61 GAA, and .911 save percentage in 59 games.
Ben Bishop entered this game on a three-game shutout streak and kept it going through 26:33 minutes with seven saves. However, he had to leave the contest due to a lower-body injury. There wasn’t an update after the contest, so we don’t know how serious it is yet. Anton Khudobin stepped in and stopped 14 of 15 shots.
Roope Hintz scored the game-winning goal. It was his eighth goal and 14th point in 46 games.
Alexander Radulov also found the back of the net for Dallas. That gives him 22 goals and 56 points in 58 contests.
WINNIPEG 4 BOSTON 3
Mark Scheifele scored a goal and registered two assists for the Jets. He has 33 goals and 78 points in 70 contests.
Patrik Laine assisted on two of Winnipeg’s four goals. That gives him 29 goals and 48 points in 70 games.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 36 of 39 shots on Thursday. He has a 29-20-2 record with a 3.01 GAA and .909 save percentage in 53 starts.
Charlie McAvoy netted a goal for the Bruins. It was his sixth goal and 24th point in 44 games.
Tuukka Rask saved 20 of 24 shots in his second straight loss. He’s 24-10-5 with a 2.45 GAA and .916 save percentage in 40 games.
ARIZONA 6 ANAHEIM 1
Vinnie Hinostroza led the charge for Arizona with a hat trick. That gives him 15 goals and 34 points in 61 games.
Jason Demers found the back of the net and registered an assist. The Coyotes defenseman has two goals and five points in 24 contests.
Darcy Kuemper kicked out 36 of 37 Ducks shots. He’s won four of his last five starts and has allowed just eight goals over that span.
At the other end of the ice, Ryan Miller stopped just 18 of 24 shots. He’s 7-6-1 with a 2.66 GAA and .915 save percentage in 17 games.
Anaheim’s goal was scored by Jakob Silfverberg. It was his 21st goal and 33rd point in 63 games.
NASHVILLE 3 LOS ANGELES 1
Craig Smith contributed the game-winning goal. He has 19 goals and 32 points in 66 contests this season.
Colton Sissons scored a goal and registered an assist. The Predators forward has 12 goals and 27 points in 65 games.
Pekka Rinne stopped 25 of 26 Los Angeles shots. He’s 25-18-3 with a 2.51 GAA and .913 save percentage in 49 contests.
The Kings’ lone goal was scored by Austin Wagner. It was his 10th goal and 17th point in 50 games.
Jonathan Quick saved 31 of 34 shots last night. He surrendered two goals on 15 shots in the second period, which proved decisive.
FLORIDA 4 SAN JOSE 2
Mike Hoffman scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist. He’s up to 32 goals and 63 points in 70 games.
Dryden Hunt contributed a goal for the Panthers. It was his second goal and sixth point in 23 contests.
Kevin Labanc found the back of the net for San Jose. That gives him 13 goals and 48 points in 71 games.
Martin Jones saved 23 of 27 shots to end his five-game winning streak. He has a 34-14-5 record with a 2.86 GAA and .899 save percentage in 54 games.
Sam Montembeault saved 26 of 28 Panthers shots. The 22-year-old rookie has a 3-0-1 record, 2.24 GAA, and .911 save percentage in four starts.