Even when things go pretty much according to plan, they still don’t always work out.
After finishing their last game by tying a franchise low for shots in a game with 10, the Buffalo Sabres wanted to put more pucks on net Tuesday night against the Ottawa Senators. But even with a bombardment of shots in the second period, the Buffalo Sabres still came up short Tuesday night.
Buffalo had 21 shots in the second period, the most the team has had in one period since they had 22 shots in a period back on March 10, 2011.
At First Niagara Center on Tuesday, the Sabres ended up outshooting the Ottawa Senators 36-26, marking their highest shot total of the season. However, when it came to goals, they were bested 2-1.
Tyler Myers scored for Buffalo while Erik Karlsson and Milan Michalek tallied for the Senators. Michalek’s goal broke a 1-1 tie with 7:45 remaining in the third period.
Jhonas Enroth stopped 24 Senators shots while Ottawa goaltender Robin Lehner made 35 saves.
The Sabres thought they had tied the game with 3:52 left in the second period when a one-timer from Mike Weber went through a screen set up by Marcus Foligno and past Lehner. However, Foligno, who was stationed right at the top of the crease, was whistled for goaltender interference and the goal was disallowed.
“I thought it was just a battle in front. I thought it was off to the side and I thought it was a just a good shot that went in,” Foligno said. “I don’t think I interrupted much. If there is a bump, it wasn’t anything that could’ve stopped that shot from going in.
“It went right through my legs and it found a hole through him. He got good at complaining and the ref probably saw it right away and probably thought something was wrong with it and made a quick judgment call.”
From the bench, it looked like a good goal as well.
“I didn’t like it. I thought it was a goal,” Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. “It didn’t look like he was in the crease. He was on the side of the net but he didn’t look like he was in the crease to me. The way the year’s going, those are the types of calls that you’re going to get.”
PUTTING ON PRESSURE
The play helped cap off an eventful second period in the Senators zone. In addition to the disallowed goal, Buffalo generated several great chances, including a shot by Torrey Mitchell midway through the period that rang off the goal post and then sat on the goal like before being cleared out.
Nolan thought that if the disallowed goal hadn’t been waved off, the game may have had a different outcome.
“If Webey’s goal counts, it’s a whole different game,” he said. “I thought the momentum was really starting to switch and it felt like this was the first time we rally outplayed a team and didn’t get a win.”
Buffalo outshot the Senators 21-4 in the second, which was in sharp contrast to their play in the first period. Ottawa dominated the opening 20 minutes and ended up outshooting Buffalo 14-8.
Karlsson’s power play goal with 7:42 remaining in the first came on the power play. His slap shot from the point made its way through traffic and off the stick of Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons.
“All of us, including myself, we were just lackadaisical,” Myers said of the first period. “We didn’t really look like we wanted to be out there. But the first intermission kind of woke us up and we realized we needed to get going.
“I felt the second and the third we played pretty well, especially in the second and for the most part in the third. They got a pretty goal driving to the net. We just weren’t able to come back.”
Although the end result was not the desired one, the Sabres feel like they can learn a lot from the way they bounced back in the second period.
“We all just have to remember it’s more fun to play like that,” Girgensons said. “There was more energy on the bench after the second in the locker room. It was just more fun to be on the ice.”
TYLER TIES IT UP
The Sabres tied the game early in the third period when a slap shot from Myers on the power play beat Lehner. A great screen by Girgensons blocked Lehner’s view, allowing the shot to go in.
With his goal, Myers now has five points (3+2) in his last eight games. Chris Stewart, who recorded the secondary assist, now has 10 points (4+6) in his last 10 games.
Buffalo will wrap up its five-game homestand on Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers at 7:30 p.m.
In the meantime, the team is hosting the second-annual “Sabres UnPucked” event Thursday evening at First Niagara Center. The night will feature musical performances by Sabres players, coaches and alumni as well as Black River Entertainment recording artists John King and Kelsea Ballerini.