New York State In-depth

Sabers relinquishes lead twice in second straight loss

BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – After an emotional disappointment in their first shutout loss of the season, the Sabers had more spirit for the second night of a consecutive set.

The Sabers generated more shots and scoring chances in a duel between two of the NHL’s top scoring teams. But they failed to capitalize on a 4-3 loss to rising Seattle Kraken, who picked up six straight wins.

“It was a little better than last night but we need to take a bigger step to beat a team that’s been playing really well lately,” said Alex Tuch, who scored twice to take his season total to 20. “We had some momentum for most of the game and when we sat back a bit we got a little frustrated, left some spots open in the D-Zone and that was the point where they capitalized.”

Rasmus Dahlin added a goal and an assist for the Sabers (20-16-2). Dahlin’s 13th goal equaled San Jose’s Erik Karlsson as the NHL’s leading defensive tackle, a career-high less than halfway through the season.

Rasmus Dahlin’s 5-point game equals Sabers’ D-Man record

Dahlin’s 46 points is tied for second at his position, and he’s one of four Sabers to score more than a point per game. Jeff Skinner’s two assists bring his season record to 41 points. Tage Thompson recorded his 57th when he threaded a pass over the kink to set up Tuch, who has 45, for the first goal. Dylan Cozens had the secondary assist in Tuch’s second goal to give him 37 points in 38 games.

Buffalo went 1-0 up when Thompson’s backdoor feed to Tuch came on for the Sabers’ first shot on target almost 10 minutes into the third period. Dahlin’s strike on a power play early in the second made it 2-1. But the Kraken reacted in the first two halves and pulled away by two goals early in the third, 4-11.

“Usually we score with the chances we generate and it shouldn’t be tonight. We couldn’t get a breakup score that I thought we had a chance at. It has caught up with us.”

The Sabers beat the Kraken 35-22 and had a 29-24 advantage in scoring chances, according to NaturalStatTrick.com. Buffalo had 18 shots on goal in the third period and several good chances for a late power play. After Seattle’s backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer stopped a slapshot from Victor Olofsson for one of his 32 saves, Thompson rang one from the corner post.

“You know what, I thought we played hard,” said Tuch, who buttoned in a rebound for his second goal with 20.8 seconds remaining. “It’s better to have chances because we didn’t have many chances to score last night. Like I said, going in the right direction tonight, but not good enough.”

Sabers shuffles 3 keeper and parks UPL at Rochester with Comrie healthy

Eric Comrie made 18 saves in his first start since suffering a lower-body injury on November 16. The Sabers planned to start Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen a day after the rookie goalie was loaned to Rochester when Comrie was activated from injured reserve. But Luukkonen, who has the NHL’s longest active winning streak at six games, developed an illness.

Jack Quinn and JJ Peterka were both healthy scratches as Granato hoped a night off would reignite play for the rookie wingers. Quinn has gone nine games without a point, having recorded 16 in the previous 20. Peterka went five games without a point after counting 17 over the first 32.

Rasmus Asplund and Vinnie Hinostroza joined the von Cozens centered line. According to NaturalStatTrick.com, they created three chances to score in 5-on-5 while conceding six chances and one goal.

Buffalo host Comrie’s former team Winnipeg Thursday night to end a four-game home stand.

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Jonah Bronstein joined News 4’s roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more about his work here.

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