Sabres return home with a 7-4 loss to the Jets

January 9, 2018

The Buffalo Sabres lost to the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 7-4 at KeyBank Center.

This was the first home game for Buffalo since December 22nd, and the team’s play picked up where it left off.

Robin Lehner

Phil Housley said after the game that the team played with some good energy to start and needed saves early on. They didn’t get that from Robin Lehner, who only lasted 21:07 and allowed three goals on 17 shots.

“I’ve got be better. It wasn’t a great game for me,” Lehner said. After what was mostly a strong month of December for Lehner, the struggles are creeping up.

Playing defense

Let’s just say Housley was not happy with the way his team played defense tonight.

“It’s a lack of respect and urgency in the defensive zone, not having that urgency to kill a play,” Housley said. “I think there is a lot of cheat in our game. They think that points are more important than playing solid D.” That last comment is pretty telling.

Brendan Guhle

Guhle had a good performance for it only being his 4th career NHL game. He took a penalty early, but then settled down after that. Sabres fans have good reason to be excited about him. His speed up the ice while joining the rush is eye-opening. He also displays the ability to keep pucks in and chase them deep in the offensive zone. He got beat a few times, but overall it was a good stepping stone for him.

Jack Eichel

This is the best stretch of hockey Eichel has played this season, and maybe his career. He’s the main source of offense for this team right now. In the last 17 games he has 20 points, including three tonight for his eighth three-point game of his career. But he also believes his team needs to be better defensively.

“As a group, we need to work on our play in our zone and we need to help out our goalie, myself included,” Eichel said. “I think I need to get better in the D-zone.”

Kyle Okposo

His best game of the season was tonight, and it wasn’t just because he had three points. It was getting to the net and being a physical force around it, much like last year’s Kyle Okposo. Better tape-to-tape passing. This is the Okposo everyone expected from the start of the season.

Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers

Connor and Ehlers did the Sabres in tonight. They combined for four goals and five points, and they were flying everywhere on the ice. Both players found themselves wide open a few times, and they took advantage of their chances. They even chipped in defensively when the game was getting a little close.

All in all, it was just business as usual at KeyBank Center. It was another bad start and overall poor performance by the NHL’s 30th-place team.

Will anything change in the final 39 games?

Based on what we’ve seen lately, just the roster.

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