There would have been something poetic about Jeff Skinner, once the prime resident of Ralph Krueger’s doghouse, powering the Sabres to a losing-streak-breaking surge. When it comes to this sad Sabres season, you don’t exactly expect beautiful, flowing poetry.
Instead, the Sabres’ sad song continued against the Rangers on Monday. Despite Skinner’s goal tying things at 3-3 in the third period, Chris Kreider and the Rangers extended the Sabres’ losing streak to 14 games by winning 5-3.
The Sabres are now 0-12-2 in their last 14 games.
[The Sabres were already in rare company with their losing streak before Monday]
Perspective on Sabres’ losing streak going to 14 games
With their 14th loss in a row, the Sabres are setting lows that would be new to … just about every team other than the Buffalo Sabres.
- The Sabres are now responsible for the two most recent 14-game losing streaks in the NHL. Back in 2014-15, the Sabres went 0-14-0.
- This also ties the longest winless streaks of the NHL’s shootout era. The 2009-10 Carolina Hurricanes and 2010-11 Islanders rank alongside these Sabres and the 2014-15 Sabres as the four teams that went 14 consecutive games without wins.
Zooming in, maybe there are some things to build on. But you do need to squint your eyes.
For one thing, Jeff Skinner is showing signs of life post-Krueger. As John Vogl notes, Skinner’s scored two goals in his past three games after only scoring one in his previous 24.
Now, some of that is obviously on Skinner. But Krueger either healthy-scratched Skinner or saddled him with inferior linemates lately, only making that $9M price tag look worse. Ideally, Skinner can regain his confidence — even if justifying that $9M AAV is pretty unthinkable.
Unfortunately for the Sabres, there are plenty of unthinkable numbers to consider — most of them are just negative.
In his sixth game, Rasmus Asplund scores his second goal of the season.
He's now tied with Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall and Jeff Skinner.
— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) March 23, 2021
Beyond facing a Rangers team that recently went on a tear, the Sabres faced other hurdles in trying to break their losing streak at 14. Carter Hutton suffered an injury during this game, setting the stage for Dustin Tokarski to take over.
Tokarski last played a bit less than 10 minutes for the Ducks back in 2016, so the hits keep coming for the Sabres.
Carter Hutton leaves with an apparent left leg injury – a bad one.
Starter Linus Ullmark is already sidelined.
Dustin Tokarski is in an NHL net for first time since October 2016. pic.twitter.com/iV0zamGBVu
— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) March 22, 2021
Tokarski made 33 out of 37 saves as the Rangers largely carried the play in extending the Sabres’ losing streak to 14 games.
The Sabres’ next two chances come against the Penguins on Wednesday and Thursday.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.