The game was deadlocked at 2-2 after a power play goal by Jason Pominville early in the second period. But a turnover at the Chicago blueline by Ville Leino two minutes later led to a goal by Marian Hossa, and the Sabres were never able to regain their footing.
“We did a pretty good job battling back; we felt pretty good with our game. We made it 2-2, but it was kind of a tough turnover they ended up capitalizing on,” said Pominville. “After that, it seemed like it took a lot of energy out of us. They were playing better, playing with confidence. It was kind of the other way for us.”
Leino said it was a reactionary play, but one that he’d like to have back.
“Obviously I would try to shoot it if I knew that was going to happen. But at the same time, sometimes you’ve gotta try to play on your instincts. You’ve gotta try to make plays out there. But it was a 6-2 game, so obviously it was a crucial moment to do that. And I wouldn’t do that again. But at the same time, I think we’ve gotta make plays too.”
The Sabres are now 2-6-2 in their last 10 games, making them 19-22-5 on the season. The loss was also Buffalo’s third in row, and their 10th straight on the road. The Sabres haven’t won away from the First Niagara Center since December 3 in Nashville.
There’s no rest for the wicked though, as Buffalo’s seven-game road journey continues Thursday in Winnipeg. Game time is 8 p.m. They wrap up the first leg of this trip Saturday night in St. Louis.
Both teams traded chances after playing more than six minutes without a whistle. The line of Gaustad-Ellis-Kaleta had some great sustained pressure that almost resulted in a goal. Patrick Kaleta had the best opportunity but was turned away by Corey Crawford in tight. Jason Pominville opened the scoring at 9:30 when he uncorked a laser from the slot that beat Crawford on the far side. Jochen Hecht nearly put the Sabres up by a pair but his shorthanded breakaway attempt glanced off the post. Andrew Shaw tied it up at 12:58 with the three-foot tap in from the edge of the crease after Jhonas Enroth stopped Duncan Keith's point shot. Then at 15:41 with Mike Weber off for delay of game, Brent Seabrook's point shot hit the post and bounced right to Jonathan Toews standing all alone at right side of net.
The ice was tilted towards the Chicago zone at the start of the second as Buffalo was able to generate several good several chances. Pominville evened the score at 2-2 with his second of the night - and 17th of season - on a sneaky feed from Boyes in the slot at 3:38 on the power play. A giveaway by Ville Leino led to Marian Hossa’s goal that made it 3-2 at 5:36. And a bad line change cost the Sabres on Chicago’s fourth goal by Jimmy Hayes at 13:25. The Hawks appeared to make it 5-2 with 18.3 seconds left, but Marcus Kruger’s goal was waved off because of a hand pass.
The Blackhawks piled on with two more goals to finish up the scoring. Dave Bolland made it 5-2 when he took a drop pass from Hayes and beats Enroth with a blast from the right faceoff dot at 4:11. Then with the Sabres down two men, Toews capped off the scoring with his second of the night at 6:48 when he fired a quick wrist shot from just inside the slot. Buffalo’s best scoring chance of the period came off the stick of Luke Adam, but he was denied by Crawford’s catching glove.
SABRES NOTES:Paul Gaustad left the game with an upper body injury in the second period and did not return. He was drilled from behind by Jamal Mayers, who was given a boarding call on the play. No update was given on Gaustad’s condition after the game … Robyn Regehr (upper body), Cody McCormick (healthy) and Joe Finley (healthy) were Buffalo’s scratches.
1 - 0 BUF
1 - 1 Tie