In the four games prior to their current Western Canadian road swing, the Sabres went 3-0-1 and appeared to be on a high.
Bit of a low.
Buffalo has opened with back-to-back losses in Edmonton and Vancouver, surrendering nine goals in the process. That’s put extra significance on Thursday’s trip finale in Calgary — if the Sabres want to avoid getting swept, they’ll need to produce a result.
“That’s why it’s so disappointing.”
It’s easy to see why Gionta and company are frustrated.
The Edmonton loss came against one of the Western Conference’s worst teams — granted, the Oilers are now on a three-game winning streak — and one playing without its entire second line of Connor McDavid, Nail Yakupov and Benoit Pouliot.
The loss to Vancouver wasn’t much better.
The Canucks limped in on a five-game losing streak, which included one of their most disappointing defeats of the year — Saturday’s 4-0 stinker at home against Boston, one head coach Willie Desjardins called a “must” game.
Like they did in Edmonton, the Sabres scored first against the Canucks. Then they struggled.
The Canucks scored four unanswered goals after Gionta opened, and went long stretches of dominating puck possession and offensive zone time.
While it’s too early to call this make-or-break time for Buffalo’s season, this is certainly a tenuous moment.
Back on Nov. 12, the team had just scored impressive back-to-back victories in Tampa Bay and Florida to move to 8-8-0 on the year, and felt like a team on the rise.
Buffalo’s gone 3-6-2.