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Sabres shut out by Senators in Borgen's NHL debut

by Jourdon LaBarber @jourdonlabarber / Sabres.com

OTTAWA - With only six games remaining and a fourth straight loss in the books, Jack Eichel and Kyle Okposo called for more accountability in the Sabres' dressing room following their game against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night. 

The Sabres outshot the Senators, 35-31, but felt they deviated from the things they had done well in New Jersey on Monday. The result was a 4-0 loss. 

"We've got to all be accountable," Eichel said. "We've got to hold each other accountable. It's critical mistakes that we make every night. That's it. … This is the National Hockey League. You've got to be better. Everyone. Myself, everybody. Everybody has to be better.

"We can't go out there and play like that and expect to win. We've got six games left. I've said this before, everyone has something to play for. And at this point, really, everyone has something to play for. I mean, I think just the way that the last little bit's gone, it's been embarrassing for us. 

"If you can't play for self-pride, find something. Find some motivation to play for. Everything has to get better."

Video: BUF Recap: Sabres blanked by Anderson, Senators

The Senators took a 2-0 lead in the final three minutes of the first period on the strength of goals from Anthony Duclair and Brian Gibbons. Duclair opened the scoring at 17:07, when he slipped away from the defense as Thomas Chabot drove from the point and scored alone at the side of the net. 

Gibbons scored with 11 seconds left on the clock, the product of a give-and-go play with Christian Jaros. 

"It's just a lack of respect for our own net," Okposo said. "I didn't think we were ready to play tonight. That's pretty inexcusable. We had a decent start. I think our first five minutes were pretty good, and then all of a sudden that just went into the tank. I'm running out of things to say."

Ottawa added to its lead in the third period, netting a power-play goal from Rudolfs Balcers at 5:54 and a fourth goal from Magnus Paajarvi at 7:24. Paajarvi scored as the fourth man in on the rush, the product of Buffalo's forwards getting caught deep in the offensive zone. 

"We stunk up the building tonight," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "We have a game plan in place. We didn't execute it. It just goes back to our checking detail. I mean, we're leaving guys on the side of the net open, tap-in goals. You could say we had a push, it didn't really amount to [much]. 

"We had zone time, we weren't really a threat. They get that power-play goal in the third and then we left our goaltender out hanging to dry on the fourth goal, cheating the game. It's not winning hockey."

The Sabres' best chances came late in the second period, when Craig Anderson robbed Sam Reinhart on a 2-on-1 rush with Jack Eichel. On the very next shift, Tage Thompson put his slick hands on display in front of the net but saw an attempt go wide.

Anderson made 35 saves in the shutout effort, his second win in a row. Carter Hutton made 27 stops for the Sabres. 

Video: BUF@OTT: Hutton fends off scramble in front

Okposo, an alternate captain, echoed Eichel in saying the Sabres need to play with more pride and seek to establish consistency over their final six games. Although they lost in New Jersey, they had liked most facets of their game on Monday. Namely, they took care of the puck, extended possession in the offensive zone and got traffic to the front of the net. 

The consistency to carry that type of performance through multiple games has been lacking in the second half of the season, with little time left to find it. 

"This is the best league in the world," Okposo said. "Every time you get on the ice, whether you're a first-line guy, a fourth-line guy, a third-line D, a backup goalie, you've got to respect the fact that you're in the National Hockey League. You're fighting for your jobs, you're fighting for your family, a lot of different things. 

"I just don't think we have that sense of urgency every time we step onto the ice. We've got to get it. We've got six games left. We've got to show some emotion. We've got to play. That, tonight, was not good enough."

 

Borgen's debut

Video: POSTGAME: Borgen

The game marked the NHL debut for defenseman William Borgen, who was recalled Sunday morning to fill in for an ill Rasmus Ristolainen. Borgen took a solo lap without his helmet to start warmups, then dished a hard hit along the boards a few seconds into his first shift of the night. 

Tweet from @JourdonLaBarber: Took about 10 seconds into Will Borgen's NHL career for him to showcase that physicality we've been hearing about. #Sabres pic.twitter.com/X9Gasx3q44

Borgen, a fourth-round pick in 2015, finished the night with three hits in 14:54. Scoring chances were in Buffalo's favor by a count of 11-4 when he was on the ice at 5-on-5, according to Natural Stat Trick.

"I'm not trying to be a player that I'm not," he said. "I'm coming out here to be simple. First game, I don't want to do anything out of the ordinary, so I've just got to dish it out to the forwards and let them do the work."

 

Up next

The Sabres return home to host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. Coverage on MSG-B begins at 6:30 p.m. with the GMC Game Night pregame show, or you can listen live on WGR 550. The puck drops at 7. 
 

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