Here’s a formula for making a bad situation worse: play two road games in a row against the Central Division’s most explosive teams.
The Buffalo Sabres are finding that out this week as the Chicago Blackhawks picked up where the Detroit Red Wings left off, extending the struggling Sabres’ road losing streak to 10 games with a 6-2 beating. The bigger story should be that the Blackhawks took a temporary division/conference lead and tied the New York Rangers atop the NHL with 62 points, but there’s no denying that it’s tough to look away from the Sabres’ train wreck.
Brutal Buffalo stretches
The Sabres were 10-6-0 when they lost to the Boston Bruins when that notorious Milan Lucic-Ryan Miller collision happened on Nov. 12. Since then, their record dropped to 19-22-5 (which means they went 9-16-5) in about two months.
That big picture stretch is bad enough, but things have been even worse since mid-December, as they went 3-9-2 in a disconcerting 14-game span. It’s not as if every loss has been a meltdown, but their offense has been sputtering the entire time. They’ve peaked at three goals – a mark they’ve hit three times – and have been shut out twice in those 14 contests.
Moving the increasingly reasonable trade/firing talk aside for a moment, the Sabres’ more immediate outlook is worrisome in its own right. They’re currently eight points out of eighth place, but that could jump to nine if the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals swap the Southeast Division lead. Either way, their postseason hopes are evaporating almost as quickly as their confidence.
The good-but-mostly-bad news is that Buffalo will have plenty of opportunities to break their away game issues going forward. The last four games of December are all on the road, starting with what could be a very challenging game against a Jets team that is far more formidable in hockey-mad Winnipeg.
Going into the season, tonight’s game probably looked like a clash between two Cup contenders from opposite conferences. With the wildly different paths both teams are taking, it instead ended up being a stark contrast between haves and have-nots.
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Sam Reinhart has two assists through four games this season, and Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has made a move with the hope of getting the 20-year-old forward going offensively.
As per John Vogl of the Buffalo News on Sunday, Reinhart has been moved to the middle between Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons, while Matt Moulson was moved to the top line with Ryan O'Reilly and Kyle Okposo.
Reinhart, a 23-goal scorer from last season, had two assists through the first two games, but has been kept off the score sheet in Buffalo’s last two contests.
Outside of that six-goal outburst versus Edmonton last weekend, scoring has been an issue for the Sabres early in the season. So adjustments to the forward combinations is to be expected.
“Sam needs to get a little bit more feet moving, a little bit more speed to his game,” said Bylsma, as per the Buffalo News.
“He’s made some great plays for us early on – power play and five-on-five for the Okposo goal – but we need to get more out of Sam, moving his feet more, playing a little bit faster, a little bit quicker and providing a little bit more offense for our team.”
The Sabres, without two key forwards in Jack Eichel and Evander Kane with long-term injuries, which would help explain the team’s early offensive issues, conclude a four-game road trip Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Sabres also called up forward Hudson Fasching and defenseman Casey Nelson from Rochester in the AHL.
When P.K. Subban shows up at your event, you expect to be entertained. And he basically always delivers.
His trend of delighting Nashville Predators fans continued on Sunday, as he made a glorious appearance as the Tennessee Titans’ “12th Man.”
If you close your eyes and picture a scene, you probably wouldn’t be that far off; it still doesn’t make this any less fantastic. (Even if the Titans eventually dropped a 34-26 loss to the Colts.)
The photo he posted on his personal Twitter account was great:
This GIF of him using a sword feels like it will get some mileage on Twitter. After totally convincing other people about your sports/political/hot-dog-being-a-sandwich opinion, and then drop the P.K. dagger:
Was the Titans jersey not lasting for long predictable or unexpected?
Opinion: this was the Titans game to attend since they fell a yard short of beating the Rams.
Update: Puck drop is now scheduled for 4:53 p.m. ET.
It’s not a familiar situation for the NHL, but it has happened before: a weather delay for a hockey game.
The Winnipeg Jets confirmed that the start time for their Heritage Classic game against the Edmonton Oilers has been delayed. The glare of the sun appears to be too much.
At the moment, it is not yet known how severe the delay will be. Puck drop was originally scheduled for just after 3 p.m. ET.
That’s a bummer, but at least it inspired a joke that would probably make Ilya Bryzgalov smile:
Warm-ups were moved to 4 p.m. ET. PHT will keep you posted if there are any other changes.
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Former Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers is back at home after going to a hospital Saturday.
Demers’ Senate office would only confirm that the 72-year-old Demers, a Canadian senator, was at home Sunday, but didn’t provide any details about the reason he went to the hospital.
Demers had suffered a stroke in April, but he was at the Canadiens’ home opener Tuesday night, smiling in a wheelchair while handing a torch to captain Max Pacioretty to close out a pregame ceremony.
Demers led the Canadiens to their most recent Stanley Cup in 1993. He also coached the Quebec Nordiques, the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues.
Demers was appointed to the Senate in 2009 by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but later left the Conservative caucus in December to sit as an Independent.
At the time, he said he was uncomfortable with some of the fallout from the Senate expenses scandal and didn’t like to have to vote the Conservative party line all the time.