Sun, 05 Dec 2021

Slumping Sabres will attempt to foil Blue Jackets

Field Level Media
22 Nov 2021, 17:55 GMT+10

The slumping Buffalo Sabres get a chance to quickly put their latest disappointment behind them when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.

Visiting Buffalo battled the New York Rangers to a draw into the final minute Sunday, but Ryan Lindgren put a shot past Aaron Dell with one second left and the Sabres lost 5-4.

The Sabres have lost two in a row -- including a 5-0 shutout by Calgary -- and eight of their last 10 (2-7-1) since a 5-1-1 start.

"We need to be assertive. When we struggled in the third, we hesitated, maybe took a step back," Buffalo coach Don Granato said. "These situations that's happened to us in the last few days, when you're not getting what you want, you tend to be more hesitant -- and we can't have that happen."

Rasmus Dahlin and Tage Thompson each had a goal and an assist, and Dell made 31 saves for the Sabres. Rasmus Asplund and Vinnie Hinostroza also scored.

Sabres forward Victor Olofsson had one assist and one shot on goal in his return after missing the previous eight games with an undisclosed injury.

Asplund's first-period power-play goal gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead and ended an 0-for-16 drought with the man-advantage.

"I think we bounced back good from last game (a 5-0 loss to the Calgary Flames on Thursday)," Asplund said. "We showed up to play today. Of course it stings, what happened at the end there. But we've just got to keep learning and keep earning it."

The Blue Jackets are also coming off a frustrating one-goal loss. They led 2-0 after one period in Las Vegas on Saturday but were blanked the rest of the way in a 3-2 loss.

After outshooting the Golden Knights 13-7 in the first period, Columbus was outshot 28-16 over the final 40 minutes.

"Solid first and then we were forcing things, turning pucks over, and then yeah, it unraveled," coach Brad Larsen said. "It was hard to watch us play like that for two periods. That's not us. We haven't done that much lately, so to watch us play like that, it was really frustrating."

Gustav Nyquist and Alexandre Texier scored, and Jake Bean and Zach Werenski each had two assists for the Blue Jackets, who had won their two previous games. Elvis Merzlikins made 32 saves. He has allowed three or more goals in each of his past four starts.

Werenski has six points (two goals and four assists) in his past four games, and Texier has four goals in his past six games. Oliver Bjorkstrand leads the team with 17 points (five goals and 12 assists) but has gone five games without a goal.

Columbus entered Saturday with the 10th-ranked power play in the NHL, converting at 22.5 percent, but went 0-for-4 against Vegas. In addition, the unit gave a game-tying short-handed goal in the third period.

"Obviously they scored a short-handed goal, which is never good," Werenski said. "Just trying to force some plays. We didn't really take what was given to us. You learn from it and we watch some video. We have a big game Monday, just try to get back to how we have success."

--Field Level Media

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