Sabres Lose Pre-Season Opener

Fall to Carolina 3-2, but that's okay

Richard Root
September 19, 2017 - 4:46 am
Sabres Head Coach Phil Housley

© Kevin Hoffman

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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - Phil Housley enjoyed his first NHL game as a head coach, albeit a pre-season game, and a lot of youngsters got a shot in the bigs.

That's the take-away from the Sabres' first pre-season game this year, if you ignore the 3-2 overtime loss against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The fans at KeyBank Center also got a preview of what Housley has been talking about since he got here, that is allowing, no, encouraging, the defense to join the rush. Jake McCabe's goal in the second was a good example of that.

We got to see forward Evan Rodrigues play well and get two assists. Rodrigues signed a 2-year contract with Sabres over the summer worth $1.3 million.

Robin Lehner started the night as goaltender, saw 16 shots and let in two.  He was replaced by Linus Ullmark in the third who stopped all 10 shots he saw in regulation, stopping one of two in overtime.  Final shots on goal including OT:  Buffalo 35, Carolina 28.

The penalties were somewhat interesting, with four slashing penalties and two interference penalties called during the game.  The officiating in pre-season doesn't necessarily reflect what we'll see the during regular season, however those calls reflect what is being reported in pre-season games league-wide.

If this the NHL finally cracking down on slashing after Sydney Crosby's well-publicized attempt at chopping off Marc Methot's finger last season?  Or, probably more likely, their reaction to a growing issue where star players are injured from slashes?

There isn't enough reportage on the interference penalties, so that will be something to watch.  The NHL needs to speed up the game and that would be one easy way to do it: enforce already written rules.

Of course, that didn't help the Sabres last night, when during overtime Derek Ryan knocked out the feet of Casey Nelson and scored the game-winning goal on the subsequent break-away.

The Sabres play against tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Pegula Ice Arena at Pennsylvania State University. This is one of two "neutral site' games this pre-season.

Check out the highlights below:

 

 

 

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