Dan Bylsma’s Sabres have been starting game slowly. ©2016, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres must start ’emotionally attached’ against Hurricanes tonight

BUFFALO – For the past few weeks, the Sabres have rarely broken a disturbing trend of starting slowly and falling behind.

Some nights, they’ve roared back to win. Other nights, however, their penchant for stumbling out of the gate bites them.

In Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout loss in Florida, the Sabres trailed 2-0 before zooming back to take a late 3-2 lead.

What must the Sabres change early tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes?

“We need to get more emotionally attached to the game right from the start,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said this morning inside KeyBank Center. “We’ve responded in virtually every one of our games in the last 10, some point in the game we go down or something happens in the game where we responded.”

The Sabres respond by getting desperate.

“We get emotionally attached to the game in the second period, come with a lot after that point,” Bylsma said. “Our challenge is we got to get emotionally attached to the game right from the drop of the puck.”

He added: “You have to have an understanding of how we’re going to win the game right from the start of the game, not wait for it to react.”

The 12th-place Sabres, who trail the Hurricanes by one point, need to run off some regulation wins. They’ve lost two straight shootouts, including a 2-1 setback Saturday in Carolina, and have eight overtime or shootout losses this season.

“We’re all bunched together, and right now is the time to make a push,” Sabres captain Brian Gionta said.

The Sabres trail Boston by five points for the final Atlantic Division playoff spot.

Some other notes on tonight’s game, the final home contest before Christmas break:

Sabres goalie Robin Lehner make his 23rd start tonight. The Swede is 7-9-5 with a 2.47 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage.

– The rest of the lineup will be announced at game time, Bylsma said. Winger Nick Deslauriers, a healthy scratch last game, left the ice before rookie William Carrier this morning, a sign he could return.

Update: Carrier is out tonight.

– Based on work this morning, winger Marcus Foligno should play in front of the net on the power play tonight.

“Something I think he earned with last game’s performance,” Bylsma said.

One thought on “Sabres must start ’emotionally attached’ against Hurricanes tonight”

  1. This coaching staff and leadership is a joke. They never seem fired up. The one game we heard about the coaching staff firing up the players (vs Kings) was their best game. The players also look lost on special teams a lot of the time. They keep changing lines so nobody gets time to build chemistry. They stop attacking when they have a lead and play it safe, just to blow the lead. They don’t play to win overtime. They put Girgensons and Larsson out for overtime. They rarely use Eichel in shootouts. Nobody can score in shootouts, but everyone blames Lehner. I cant can’t imagine being a goalie knowing no matter what I do, we won’t score in a shootout.

    And they have Moulson and Foligno in the top-6, which is a massive joke. Moulson can’t do anything at even strength, he only produces on the power-play. Foligno is a bottom-6 player on a good team, probably even a 4th liner. Nic Deslauriers does absolutely nothing at all, he’s a waste of space.

    And our best, most consistent, player the last 10 games, Evander Kane, is playing in the bottom-6…that’s the biggest joke of all.

    I’m ready for a new coach, and new captains…ans for them to replace Moulson, Gorges, Franson and Deslauriers. I like Gionta, but not as a captain and on a much cheaper contract. This team is further away than I had thought.

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