And the home woes continue for the Buffalo Sabres (13-10-1). You can blame the injuries. You can really blame whoever you want. But if the Sabres want to compete for the Stanley Cup, they need to take care of business at home against the New York Islanders (7-11-4). That’s not a shot against the Islanders. If you want to be an elite team, you need to win your home games against teams with below .500 records. End of story.
The game itself wasn’t terrible. But it played out just like most recent Sabres games have. The Sabres exited the first period down 1-0. Then the Sabres finally got on the board early in the third period on a Jochen Hecht goal from Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek. But the Sabres gave up a Brian Rolston goal midway through the third and that proved to be the difference.
Both Islanders goalie Al Montoya (30 saves on 31 shots) and Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth (28 saves on 30 shots) were excellent. The difference in the game was the power play goal scored by Matt Moulson early in the first period. The Sabres some of the best special teams units in the NHL. But not on Tuesday night. The Sabres failed to score on four power play opportunities while the Islanders converted one of their three power plays.
And to add injury to insult, the Sabres lost defenseman Jordan Leopold to an undisclosed injury in the first period. He did not return. The injury has been reported as an “upper-body injury” and it’s unknown if Leopold will miss more time. The Sabres are already stretched extremely thin by injuries and their toll has become obvious at this point.
Thankfully, the Sabres are off until Friday. They need the rest to heal, both physically and mentally. They’re back in action on Friday night, staying home in Buffalo to face the Detroit Red Wings. The Sabres have tended to play to the level of their competition this season, so let’s hope that holds true on Friday night.