The overall consensus is that the Buffalo Sabres are trying to do too much when they play at home.
Lately at HSBC Arena, it just hasn’t been enough.
The Sabres dropped to 8-8-1 at home Wednesday night after a 5-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils. It is their second consecutive loss at home and seventh defeat in the last 10 games when playing in Buffalo.
“When we come home we try to do a little bit too much and that’s when you turn the puck over,” Jason Pominville
said. “When we’re on the road we keep it simple, we get pucks deep… tonight we slipped away from that.”
The Sabres are 9-5-1 this season when playing on the road. They’ve also outscored opponents 41-36 on the year. At home, however, the Sabres have scored 43 goals while allowing 52 scores through 17 games.
"We dug ourselves a hole early and when you get behind on that team it makes it even tougher," Head Coach Lindy Ruff said. "We made some bad mistakes that typically we haven't been making on the road. We overplayed some situations."
The Sabres were responsible for 13 giveaways on the night, while the Devils committed only six turnovers. Derek Roy
cited miscommunication in Buffalo's own zone. Paul Gaustad believes it is the entertainment factor that is holding them back.
“We’ll find our game. I think sometimes we try to please the crowd too much,” Gaustad said. “If we stick to our game… our hockey, we are a tough team to beat.”
The Sabres continue at home Friday night when they take on the Los Angeles Kings.
continued his hot streak, adding a point for the seventh consecutive game. The centerman has tallied 13 points (5+8) in his last 11 games and has been held scoreless only twice in the last 16 contests. Roy ranks second on the team with 26 points.
Zach Parise’s power play goal 8:16 into the game marked the first time the Sabres have failed to kill a 5-on-3 this season. Buffalo had previously been perfect in all six opportunities with two players in the box. They entered tonight’s game ranked second in the League, killing 88.8 percent of penalties.
After missing seven games with a head/neck injury, Pat Kaleta was back in the lineup, displaying a different dynamic. Typically drawing attention for his physical presence, the grinder was instead noted for his offense - netting his second goal of the season. Kaleta has tallied four goals in 68 career NHL games.
"It was based on turnovers, it was based on trying to find some guys that were going [well]. You've got to put the work on. Other guys were working harder... the Hecht line didn't see it."
~Lindy Ruff on limiting ice time for the team's top line of Thomas Vanek, Jochen Hecht and Jason Pominville