Buffalo Sabres Long, Miserable Season Ends With A …..
You have to admit it was an exciting end of the game when the Buffalo Sabres almost tied it, but Saturday night's season finale against the Florida Panthers was lost during a lackadaisical first period where the Sabres gave up three goals and ended up chasing the Panthers for the rest of the game.
It looked like the Sabres were intent on just mailing it in and calling it a season, but when back-up goaltender Adam Wilcox was called on to the replace Chad Johnson at the start of the second period it seemed to inspire the Sabres. It was the first NHL game for the 25-year old Wilcox and he ended up stopping all 14 shots he faced for the rest of the game to keep the Sabres in it.
The Sabres were still trailing 3-0 late in the third period when Jason Pominville and Sam Reinhart scored 21 seconds apart to bring the Sabres within a goal. But the Panthers appeared to have clinched it when they scored into an empty net for a 4-2 lead only to have Ryan O'Reilly score a power play goal with 16 seconds left to give the Sabres a chance. And as time was winding down the Sabres came close to scoring another one to extend the game.
Not to be. The Sabres finish the season on a four-game losing streak and a total of 57 losses. A lot of changes will need to be made on this team just to get them competitive and other than Jack Eichel I don't think there should be any untouchables on this team. Any player on the roster should be available for a trade if another team is willing to take him.
A strange quirk in the rules made Wilcox the losing goaltender of record even though he didn't allow any goals and stopped every shot he faced. He was on the bench when the winning goal was scored into an empty net, so he gets the loss.
Ryan O'Reilly set an NHL season record with 1270 faceoff wins. He's consistently led or been near the top of the league in faceoff winning percentage for his entire career.