Buffalo Sabres: Lehner left frustrated in Chicago loss

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 08: Robin Lehner
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 08: Robin Lehner /

Fresh off beating the Colorado Avalanche, the Buffalo Sabres failed in their attempt to win two straight, as they lost to the Blackhawks in Chicago.

The Buffalo Sabres looked to extend their winning streak to two games but came up short. Despite goals from Jason Pominville and Kyle Okposo, they lost 3-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime. Alex Debrincat and Gustav Forsling in particular, stood out for the home team.

The game started off really well for Buffalo. The first line involving Jack Eichel and Evander Kane caused all sorts of problems for the best of Chicago.

Right before the period ended, that first line took the ice again as Eichel set up a pass to Pominville, who deflected past Corey Crawford for the lead. That’s eight goals on the season for Pominville, while Eichel has a team-leading 15 assists.

The Hawks did come back with some pressure of their own, but Buffalo has been doing a nice job lately when sticking to their game. Phil Housley seems to have installed confidence in his men, which kept them very competitive tonight.

Chicago has weapons all over their lineup however. The steal of the 2016 Entry Draft in Debrincat circled on the wing on the man advantage and rocketed a shot past Robin Lehner, to make the game even.

The Buffalo Sabres would answer back yet again. Scott Wilson sent a crisp pass towards Okposo in the slot, which the former Islander sent top-shelf over Crawford to regain the advantage.

Lehner did his fair share in this contest. The Swede absolutely robbed Richard Panik as he took a one-time shot off Patrick Sharp. Sharp would then take another shot that was rebounded off Lehner by Forsling.

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Buffalo started to play more defensively in the third. They earned a power play late on, but it was the opposition that would prevail, for the 12th time this season. Forsling took a slap shot from the point, which was deflected home by Tommy Wingels.

With 18.7 seconds left on the clock, Duncan Keith took a shot that rolled around in the blue paint. Sharp had a sure goal until he tapped it off the post and out. The game then proceeded into overtime.

Lehner made a prodigious save on Brandon Saad with his left pad. Eichel then earned a penalty shot moments later after going towards goal. The 21-year-old tried to go in between Crawford’s legs, but was quickly denied by the three-time Stanley Cup winner.

With around eight seconds left, none other than Forsling would take a shot from the point that went in for Chicago’s 13th win of the campaign. Lehner skated off in frustration, after keeping the Buffalo Sabres in the game with 51 saves.

Key Stats:

Chicago Blackhawks

  • 51 shots, 82 attempted
  • 1/4 on the man advantage
  • Key Player: Forsling with 1 goal and 2 assists

Buffalo Sabres

  • 28 shots
  • 31 blocks
  • Key Player: Lehner deserved more with 51 saves and a .941 save percentage

The Sabres managed to collect a point in this one, but it comes with some annoyance as Buffalo were so close to victory at a certain point.

On a more positive note, the blue and gold haven’t been playing that bad recently. The home-and-home with the Pittsburgh Penguins must’ve waken some players up, because their game has look simplified as of late.

If Buffalo isn’t playing a team like Chicago in this one, the scoreline could have been a totally different story. Joel Quenneville‘s side just kept coming at the Sabres in waves, proving too much for them tonight.

Next: Time to give Linus Ullmark his chance?

Not a bad performance from the Buffalo Sabres, or did they let Lehner down? Will they bottle this momentum into their next contest? Let us know in the comments below.