The Buffalo Sabres play their 41st and final home game of the season tonight, and they’re embarrassed that for a sixth straight year there won’t be any playoff dates.
“More than anything, it’s a bit disappointing, a bit embarrassing for us as players that we can’t be better for [the fans],” said Jack Eichel, per The Buffalo News. “You want to please the fans because of all they’ve been through and all they continue to put up with. You just want to be better.”
Ryan O'Reilly went even further, calling it “pathetic” that the Sabres didn’t “get any better” this year.
“I’m sick of losing, and it’s getting exhausting and it’s not fun,” O’Reilly said, per NHL.com’s Joe Yerdon. “It sucks the fun out of the game.”
On Monday, Buffalo lost, 4-2, to the visiting Maple Leafs — and the final score actually flattered the Sabres, who were outshot, 18-2, and outscored, 3-0, in the first period.
It was perhaps the worst loss of the year, especially given the opponent. The Leafs, the NHL’s worst team last season, are likely headed to the playoffs. The Leafs, unlike the Sabres, have improved dramatically.
“They were hungrier,” Eichel told reporters after the game. “They wanted it more than us.”
And that’s not acceptable, even if the Sabres only had pride to play for.
Related: Major roster holes remain in Buffalo