DENVER – After stringing together two good periods in their last game to earn a win, the Buffalo Sabres were unable to really generate anything Saturday afternoon against the Colorado Avalanche.
Colorado jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and never looked back, skating off to a 7-1 victory at the Pepsi Center.
Gabriel Landeskog and Jamie McGinn each scored twice for Colorado while Tyson Barrie, Marc-Andre Cliche and Nathan MacKinnon tallied for the Avalanche as well.
Colorado had goals by McGinn – on the power play – and Landeskog come 58 seconds apart midway through the first period.
Cliche made it 4-0 at the 6:05 mark of the second period with his first career NHL goal.
“That was the difference tonight, I didn’t like our mindset from the get-go, let alone warmups all the way through,” Sabres captain Steve Ott said. “You can’t explain that one when it’s a game like that.”
Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan was also disappointed that his team was not able to build off its 3-2 win Thursday night in Phoenix.
“We just weren’t ready to go from the get-go. I’m not too sure why. We didn’t practice yesterday. We should’ve had some energy at least. But we didn’t have energy,” Nolan said. “We didn’t have concentration. We skated by. We didn’t lay a body hit on anybody. So it’s just one of those very, very ugly games you don’t want to see too often. ”
Matt D’Agostini, playing in his second game after missing the previous six with an upper-body injury, scored his third goal of the season for Buffalo.
D’Agostini’s goal came on the power play with 8:15 to play in the second period. After giving the puck to Tyler Ennis on the halfwall, D’Agostini skated to the front of the net. A slap pass in front by Ennis was deflected down and ended up flat on the ice in front of D’Agostini, who punched it in.
Buffalo has scored a power-play goal in three consecutive games.
However, the goal, which made it 4-1, came too late.
“We got outplayed in every facet of the game from start to finish. Not much to build off tonight, We have to be a lot better if we want to be some point,” D’Agostini said. “We just have to have some pride. We have to work harder, we have to be accountable for our actions. It starts with every player in here.”
MacKinnon, who had a goal and two assists, scored Colorado’s second power-play goal of the game to put the Avalanche up 5-1 with 3:31 remaining in the second. Erik Johnson cruised into the Buffalo zone and made a drop pass to MacKinnon. The one-timer beat Miller five-hole.
MacKinnon, the top pick in the 2013 NHL Draft leads all rookies with 40 points (20+20).
Semyon Varlamov recorded the secondary assist on the MacKinnon goal and finished the day with 27 saves.
Ryan Miller faced 27 shots through two periods before being replaced by Jhonas Enroth at the start of the third period. Enroth allowed two goals on 12 shots.
Coming into the game, Miller was 0-1-3 in four career games against Colorado. The Avalanche are the only team Miller does not have a win against.
“They don’t deserve that,” Sabres forward Marcus Foligno said of Miller and Enroth. “They’re unbelievable goaltenders and highly skilled. They needed a team behind them and they don’t have one right now.”
Buffalo’s last win against the Avalanche came on Dec. 4, 2005 in Colorado. The Sabres won 6-5 with six different Sabres scoring.
In his only other appearance in relief, Enroth stopped all 12 shots he faced in Anaheim on Nov. 8.
Landeskog scored his second of the game 7:36 into the third. McGinn added his second minutes later at the 10:07 mark to make it 7-1.
The Sabres will look to move on from this game and focus on their next one. They host the Edmonton Oilers at 7 p.m. at First Niagara Center on Monday.
“It’s definitely not a good feeling. It’s really at the bottom right now I think.” Foligno said. “You get beat 7-1, there’s nothing good to come about those games. You really have to look past it now and get ready for the next. You learn from the mistakes and get ready for the next game.”