The Buffalo Sabres lost in painful fashion Sunday, blowing a 3-0 lead to the Penguins and falling 4-3 in regulation.
It was Sabres’ fifth defeat in their last six outings, and their head coach, Dan Byslma, is hopeful that “we’ve had enough pain and enough anguish to maybe turn a corner in learning how to play and win these hockey games.”
Buffalo hosts Philadelphia tonight (on NBCSN).
The Sabres are still mathematically alive in the playoff race, but they’ll need a spectacular finish to give themselves a chance at qualifying. If only they’d been able to close out games like Sunday’s … or that 2-0 lead they blew in Arizona … or that 4-2 lead they blew against Nashville, they’d be right in the thick of it.
The Sabres, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2011, had much higher hopes for this season. But it’s looking like another challenging offseason for GM Tim Murray, who above all needs to fix his defense.
Unfortunately for Murray, fixing a defense isn’t something that can be done easily, or quickly.
“I have to improve the team. We have to get better on the blue line, there’s no question about it. That’s on me. That’s not on the coaches. That’s not on the players,” Murray told WGR 550 in a recent interview. “We have what we have right now. I think we go into the offseason our number-one goal is to, and I hate saying this because it becomes the theme…The theme within the offseason will be to do the best we can to get a defenseman. I think one defenseman, and I’m not saying a number one, getting a number one is extremely difficult. But to get a real good, young defenseman that can play in our top four, and help us on special teams.”