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Sabres unable to generate enough offense in loss to Predators

Hutton makes 23 saves, Reinhart extends point streak to 4 games

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

NASHVILLE - The Buffalo Sabres had some chances late, but it wasn't enough against the Nashville Predators on Monday.

With goaltender Carter Hutton on the bench in favor of the extra attacker with 90 seconds left, the Sabres were able to come up with at least three prime opportunites to tie the game. However, the Predators held on for a 2-1 victory at Bridgestone Arena.

Patrik Berglund won three offensive-zone draws in the final 1:11 to give Buffalo a chance, but also missed on an open net as part of Buffalo's last-ditch effort. 

Sam Reinhart, who scored for Buffalo, didn't think they were able to generate enough offensive chances throughout the game.

Video: BUF Recap: Reinhart scores in 2-1 loss to Predators

"I think it's something we need to be better at," he said. "It's seem like it's something we've been having troubles with for a little bit here so we've got to figure out, get back to what gave us success earlier in that part of it. We just need more from that in-zone. I don't think we generated enough."

Buffalo's power play went 0-for-4 on the night. Offensively, they were without Conor Sheary and Jason Pominville due to injuries. It's possible they both could return to the lineup Tuesday night, but coach Phil Housley would like to see more from his group of forwards. Monday's lone goal was the result of a five-man attack consisting of Reinhart, Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner, and defensemen Lawrence Pilut and Rasmus Ristolainen.

"We had some opportunities, we just didn't cash in," Housley said. "I just thought overall, I think we're going to need more help from our other lines to create some more offense, to generate some more offense to take some heat off of Jack's line."

Scoring plays

Nashville opened the scoring a power-play goal from Ryan Ellis off a slap shot with 4:56 remaining in the first period.

Reinhart was then credited with his seventh goal of the year when Roman Josi inadvertently knocked the puck into his own net 5:20 into the second period. Reinhart is on a four-game point streak with four goals and two assists in that span.  

Reinhart is on a four-game point streak with four goals and two assists in that span.

Video: BUF@NSH: Reinhart credited with goal in front

The Predators recaptured the lead on Kevin Fiala's shot with 3:26 left in the middle frame that bounced off defenseman Casey Nelson, hit the ice and found its way past Hutton.  

Hutton finished the game was 23 saves to Pekka Rinne's 21. 

The Predators didn't give the Sabres much of anything, especially when they attempted to go on the attack through the neutral zone.

"You saw their experience and how they just kind of shut everything down, make it hard for us to get pucks behind them, and ultimately get speed and get on it," Reinhart said. "I think we need to find a way to generate more speed through the neutral zone and simplify it a little more against a team that shuts it down like that."

Video: Buf@NSH: Hutton uses his pads to turn away Josi

Housley, who spent four seasons on Nashville's coaching staff knows how well the Predators can smother an opponent.

"Once they got the one-goal lead and from about the 15-minute mark of the third period, they just built that wall up," he said. "We had opportunities to get by it and chip it by them, but we tried to stick handle and that's one of the reasons they're tough to play against. We had some plans and plays in place, we just didn't execute them." 

Tight games and another tough opponent coming up

The Sabres are now 10-2-3 in one-goal games this season. 

They wrap up the three-game road trip - all of which were one-goal contests - with an 0-2-1 record. They're coming off a franchise-record tying 10-game winning streak in which nine of those 10 wins were by a single goal.

They'll host the Toronto Maple Leafs at KeyBank Center at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

"Just keep playing. It's just tight games, it's a good league, you know? I don't think there's anything to panic about," Hutton said. "Obviously, we just played one of the best teams in the league. We just came from playing Tampa, one of the best teams in our conference.

"We've got a tough challenge tomorrow with the Leafs and it's not really an easy schedule right now by any means. The schedule wasn't easy when we picked up those 10 wins. It is what it is. We've just got to move on. It's obviously frustrating standing here with a 2-1 loss. I thought we could've done more."

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