BUFFALO – It lingered. This morning, less than a day after the Sabres imploded again, blowing an early three-goal lead, the 4-3 loss in Pittsburgh still stung.
“This game should be painful, one we got to learn and get better from as a result,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said this afternoon following a team meeting inside KeyBank Center.
Remember, the Sabres, whose playoff hopes are hanging by a thread, have frittered away third-period leads and lost three times in the last five games.
“It’s really tough,” Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen said. “We have a lot of young guys who need to learn. I guess we haven’t learned right now because it’s happened so many times already.”
A win against the Penguins – the Sabres led 3-0 by the 18:07 mark – would’ve been huge.
“It (stinks) when you lose that way,” Ristolainen said.
Right now, the Sabres are five points out of the final wild card spot, although four teams are ahead of them, including Tuesday’s opponent, Philadelphia.
“We could be right there,” Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe said. “We could be knocking on the door with our positioning, where we’re at. We’re still not out of it. If we can string some more together here – and we very well should have – then we’d be right there, and that’s what the really frustrating part is.”
After inching close to a spot two weeks ago, the Sabres are enduring perhaps their worst stretch this season. They’re 1-4-2 in the last seven outings and 1-3-2 since their bye week ended.
Instead of going on a run – they earned only two of a possible six points against Arizona and Colorado, the NHL’s worst teams – they quickly fell apart.
“We could easily be 6-0, if you look at the scenarios we’ve been in,” Sabres winger Evander Kane said. “Disappointing.”
Check back later for more on the Sabres’ recent woes. They stayed off the ice today.
Bylsma said defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, who’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury, won’t play Tuesday.