Sabres had no chance against the Jets

BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 9: Robin Lehner
BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 9: Robin Lehner /

The Buffalo Sabres headed back home to KeyBank Center following the World Junior Championships, and lost to the soaring Winnipeg Jets.

It wasn’t a warm welcome back for the Buffalo Sabres, as they got thumped by the Jets in a 7-4 thriller.

Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers provided the Jets with two goals a piece, while Patrik Laine continued to add to his impressive second year in the NHL with his 19th goal of the season. Buffalo got some contributions of their own mainly from Jack Eichel, but it wasn’t enough to compete with the firepower of Winnipeg.

Rasmus Ristolainen was completely out to lunch on the first goal, as he totally left Connor unchecked in front of Robin Lehner. A blinded Lehner couldn’t see Laine’s wicked wrist shot that put the Jets up early.

Kyle Okposo then fed Eichel, who gave Steve Mason a wrist shot of his own that went off the post and in to tie the contest up. Eichel got his 16th on the year while Okposo reached his 14th assist on the season.

Winnipeg came back quick as Dustin Byfuglien took a shot from the point that Lehner saw all the way, but the puck still found a way past the Swede. That’s two goals on the year for Byfuglien, both of which came against none other then the Swords.

Chad Johnson eventually had to come on for Lehner, after Ehlers accepted a pass from Mathieu Perreault. The Winnipeg winger sent an easy wrist shot right past a struggling Lehner to double the advantage for the Jets.

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It only got more funny after that. Connor literally skated into the Sabres zone and could’ve crawled to the net as he roofed it past Johnson to make it 4-1. Ehlers took another seemingly simple wrist shot after that to make it five for Winnipeg, and a Ryan O’Reilly goal seemed pretty pointless after that.

Yet again, Connor was totally unmarked in front of the net as the whole Buffalo Sabres squad on the ice was chasing the puck on the far side. That made it 6-2 and it was game over for Buffalo, and it was that way a long time before this point.

Garbage time goals came from Eichel and Jason Pominville, while Joel Armia scored the seventh Winnipeg Jet goal to take them to 6-0-1 in their past seven contests.

Key Stats

Buffalo Sabres

  • 40 per cent face off percentage
  • An alarming 18 PIM
  • 34 shots
  • Key Player: Eichel with 2 goals and a helper

Winnipeg Jets

  • 37 shots
  • two-for-four on the power play
  • Key Players: Conner and Ehlers strolled in an easy victory

Three Stars

  • 3rd – Connor
  • 2nd – Eichel
  • 1st – Ehlers

Make it five-straight losses for the Sabres, who seem to be dropping games for fun at this point. Fans should really watch the post game press conference from Phil Housley. The coach looked really lost, and you can’t blame him.

It’s hard to put words together as to how poor the team is playing as of late. Earlier in the season, whenever they’d win a game, the Sabres would get off to a really strong start and dictate the pace of the game. That obviously hasn’t happened at this point of the campaign.

Here’s what The Buffalo News had to say about the game:

"The Sabres played their first game in Buffalo in almost three weeks, and it was as if Stephen King scripted the homecoming. There were horror stories all over the ice."

Simply put, this whole recap really boils down to that one sentence. Heck, the Sabres’ season even boils down to that one short sentence.

Next: Should the Sabres consider Anthony Duclair?

Will the Buffalo Sabres win a game in 2018? Got any big plans for the summer? Let us know in the comments section below.